Barrio Cafe Rocks My World on a Stressful Day
As some of you may know, I have a group called True Mexican that is trying to get the Santa Rita Center in Phoenix renovated. Unfortunately we are running into brick walls all over the place. So, today my partner and I decided to visit all the players who have had some stake in the center. Pastor, Chicanos por la Causa and City hall were all on our lists. Know that City Hall is where we got the most help. Before our visits though, we decided we needed some good soul food to nurture and give us strength for our mission. With Barrio Cafe's Chef Goddess, Silvana, taking a brave stance against SB1070, there was no question on who we would visit.
I could talk a lot about the interior decor of the place, but words cannot describe the down-to-Earth beauty Barrio Cafe radiates. Everything resonates with a pride en la cultura, right down to the gorgeous menus featuring Frida and Tina Modotti, I believe. We started with the complimentary pan with tapenade which was absolutely delicious and sufficed our hunger until our meal came. I must warn you that there will be a tinge of guilt at having to jump in and eat the gorgeous presentation of food placed in front of you.
My partner-in-crime and I split the pozole verde which the staff divided into two bowls for us. It's those little details that raise a restaurant to a whole different level. This picture shows just half of a typical serving. I find some people wonder about Barrio because their food isn't known for being spicy. It was very good though and is known for being very flavorful. This pozole is no exception. The delicious broth has just the right amount of spice and flavor but allows the crisp, fresh cabbage, radish and onions to play nice as well. Barrio does the kind of traditional Mexican food that I was raised on. The crazy wicked spiciness that sends you whimpering to the bathroom has never been a part of my upbringing. However food, like this, bursting with so much colorful flavor that you feel you might hallucinate, is what I'm use to.
Now, I have to admit that I dined with a Mole Queen from Puebla, but even she said this mole was pretty darn good. That is a grand compliment if you know anything about Puebla's moles. We split the torta de mole negra which had a perfectly cooked chicken breast covered with a deep dark blanket of Barrio's rich and decedent mole negra. I have been toying with the idea of making my own mole, from my friend Eduarda's recipes, and today's meal made it a necessity. This would be one of my final meals should I know when I'm about to die. Besides being superb on the palate, the food is just gorgeous to look at. The delicate sprinkling of sesame seeds and beautiful white cheese is enough to make you collapse in culinary anticipation. The french fries were great, but I have to admit I didn't use their yummy spicy ketchup, instead I purposed my papitas to sop up every last bit of that fabulous mole.
So Vivian, how good is the coffee at Cafe Barrio? It's so good I had some as my dessert with a 97-degree sun waiting for me outside. They serve coffee in a French press, so just know you are going to get a deep rich blend of the bean blood.
The coffee was a delicious treat and had we not had a busy day ahead, we probably would have enjoyed a dessert as well. If not for our rushed schedule, I would have finished off that whole carafe.
For us, Barrio Cafe was a once-in-awhile indulgence, but today starts an amazing happy hour that will allow many more future visits. This summer Barrio is offering $1.50 tacos and half price drinks. Now I'm not a huge alcohol drinker, but what makes Barrio rock is that they include all drinks in this happy hour special. So their delicious horchata and aguas frescas are included in the mix. You can enjoy their happy hour from 3:00-5:00 on Tuesdays through Fridays.
Barrio Cafe has a great website to visit and can be found on Facebook as well. They are located at 2814 N. 16th Street in Phoenix. Please let them know Phoenix Neighborhood Blogger sent you.