what I ordered: el barrio

So apparently, when I gave up bread for lent, I also gave up blogging. Sorry, everybody. I had no idea bread was such an inspiring component in my food appreciation.

One my besties was in town from Indiana last week, so on Thursday I left straight from work to meet up with her and her fiance downtown at the Good People Brewing Company taproom (awesome atmosphere by the way—a great band with a killer fiddle player goes perfectly with a good local brew). We enjoyed a couple of Brown Ales, and then we headed down a few blocks to try the newest addition to Mexican fare in Birmingham — El Barrio.

As soon as I walked in, I was in love. The atmosphere is rustic, colorful, urban, and beautiful.

The food was also just as gorgeous.

My first instinct was to order tacos or perhaps a chorizo quesadilla, but alas—bread! So instead, I ordered the Roasted Chile Relleno. The first bite provided that ever overwhelming sense of “ahh.” The flavors were phenomenal.

What comes in this lovely dish is a rosted poblano pepper stuffed with black beans, cactus, oxaca cheese and their amazing roasted garlic cream and sprinkled with pine nuts.

The pepper was perfectly roasted and tender enough to cut with a fork. The garlic cream sauce had just a little bit of a kick and completed the dish in a decadent way. I couldn’t quite detect the cactus, but it  might be because I have never ordered anything with cactus before. I don’t think it has too powerful of a flavor. The only thing I would have liked would have been just a kick or two more of spice. I do like spice.

The price wasn’t bad—around $10 for my meal. And the food, presentation, and atmosphere make it well worth it. The only thing I’d say is be prepared to wait. We arrived at around 8 pm on a Thursday and had to wait a good 30 minutes to sit down. But regardless, I will certainly be making a trip back soon.
El Barrio on Urbanspoon

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