Last week my wife met me for lunch at Costa Vida, which is just across the highway from my office. Neither of us had visited this small chain that appears to have originated in Utah, so we had no idea what to expect. Upon arrival I was shocked at how crowded the counter service restaurant was. Taking a quick glance at the menu, I quickly decided on a chicken burrito while my wife chose the sweet pork enchiladas inside of flour tortillas. We each followed along the counter as our selections were prepared and we were able to pick the ingredients that we wanted to go into each.
I opted for rice, black beans, chicken, cheese and what I think was Tomatillo Cilantro Sauce. It was a little hard to understand the offerings so I just went with what looked the best. I also had my burrito smothered, which added more cheese and the selected sauce to the top. From there the burrito is sent through a rolling oven similar to what you’d see at Quiznos. And finally some lettuce and pico de gallo was added to the side of the big burrito. The choices for my wife weren’t as difficult. The enchiladas come with your choice of meat and cheese and then smothered with Red Enchilada Sauce and more cheese. The rice and choice of beans (pinto or black) are served on the side and again this dish is garnished with lettuce and pico de gallo.
My first taste of my burrito was filled with lots of sweetness. This initially threw me off as I had never tasted Mexican food that was so sweet. I soon realized that I may have been given their Raspberry Chipolte Chicken. When I ordered I wasn’t given an option on the type of chicken, and I only saw one offering, so everyone must be getting the raspberry flavored chicken. This isn’t completely strange to me as I often use lemonade when preparing chicken for tacos at home, but the sweetness was very overwhelming in this dish. Once I found a bottle of Cholula I was able to spice the meal more to my liking. I’m also thinking that the sauce I had selected may have been sweet as well, since the sweetness didn’t come out in my wifes enchiladas as much as my burrito, and she even ordered the sweet pork.
We also ordered a side of chips and salsa to go with our meal, and were given an obscene amount of chips (a filled pan the same that our meals came in) and some pretty good tasting salsa. I was afraid that the salsa would be overly sweet as well, but it wasn’t. So perhaps I somehow selected all the sweet ingredients for my burrito, and there are ways to create something that would more suit my taste. I’m not sure, and I’m not sure I will ever find out. I don’t go out for lunch very often at all, and I don’t think the restaurant competes with my favorite Chipotle burrito, even though they are quite different.