Recipe Review- Costa Vida (Cafe Rio) Sweet Pork Salad

I am so in love with Costa Vida (in some places Cafe Rio), seriously I could eat there ALL DAY!  Their Sweet Pork Salad is awesome, like seriously unforgettable!  And their Cilantro Ranch Dressing? I could eat it with a spoon (without the salad).  So when we moved all the way across the country from my favorite restaurant I was really disappointed to find no restaurants in the entire state…LAME. So for 6 months I have been craving this deliciousness.  Finally I took matters into my own hands.  Well mostly…  Actually I searched the internet for a recipe and came up with the following!

Family Favorite Recipes- Costa Vida Sweet Pork Salad

Honestly, they nailed it!

Most of the time, I play around with recipes and just take the basics and then do my own thing, but I wanted this to be “the real thing” so I tried not to mess with it too much.  And it was AWESOME-NESS.  Really, whether you have ever had the “real” deal or not, you will love this recipe.

Here are the modifications I had to make- because of time/supplies on hand.

It calls for 2 lbs of pork rib meat– Well Pork Loin was on sale for 1.99/lb this week (cheaper than HAMBURGER) and it only comes in large chunks- so I bought a 5 1/2 lb piece of meat, and used that.  Therefore I doubled almost everything in the recipe to compensate.

I did not marinate the meat first, I was too impatient.  I DID put 3 cans of coke and 1 cup of brown sugar and a sprinkle of garlic into the pot and leave it cooking on low for 8 hours.  Then I only had 1 can of enchilada sauce for the sauce, so I added some tomato sauce in to compensate.  It worked fine obviously.

For the dressing I doubled the recipe, but I only had 2 tomatillos (although one was large) and I found with even 1/2 an jalapeño that the dressing was still a little spicy (my kids still ate it though)- the recipe would have called for 2 when doubling it. (and I didn’t put the seeds in either)

We did not put cheese on top, it didn’t need it- since I was smothering it with that delicious dressing anyway…

I DID make the corn tortilla chips like they suggest, and it was worth the time- SO YUMMY!!!

I didn’t take a picture of the final product, because I was too busy eating, but here’s a picture of the dressing and the crock pot full of delicious sweet pork.caferio


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Aleesha Bake - You are entirely correct. They are two different franchise chains, with different names for the items on their menu. Their Sweet Pork Salad (which this is the recipe for) however, is almost impossible to tell apart. In fact another blog did a completely unscientific study on it a few years ago- but it is interesting to note 🙂
You can read that here

I am sure I would love EITHER salad equally. Unfortunately for me, there aren’t any of either restaurant in my entire state!March 18, 2015 – 11:11 am

Amber - Costa Vida and Cafe Rio are two different stores entirely. We have both in my cityMarch 16, 2015 – 4:39 pm

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