A blog about food
The Road to Carnitas—La Cabanita
I am always searching for good Mexican food. Mexican restaurants are usually affordable, fun places with a nice atmosphere, and when you find one that has amazing food, you hold onto it. I worked at Mama Inez in Ketchum for a few years, formed lasting friendships and enjoyed fantastic Mexican food. (Although my friends will say I only ate beans, lettuce and salsa, but that is another story).
Since working at Mamas in the early-Nineties, wherever my husband Peter and I have moved (six cities and towns) we always find a favorite Mexican restaurant. Upon our return to the Wood River Valley (and not having Mamas around anymore, sniff, sniff), we went on our quest for our Mexican fix and found it at La Cabanita.
La Cabanita (160 W. 5th St, Ketchum) serves authentic, traditional Mexican food and has an excellent staff. Peter and I arrived on a Monday afternoon for a late lunch/early dinner (or “linner” as Seinfeld says). We were greeted like old friends, as we frequent La Cabanita on the weekends as often as we can. We grabbed a seat by the window and ordered white wine, Chardonnay ($4.00 a glass), and were brought some Buffalo wings to try. (I love these guys!) The Buffalo wings were not too spicy, but delicately fried and tasted scrumptious. We added some hot sauce and cooled the heat with sour cream and guacamole.
Clockwise: Buffalo wings, Super Carnitas Burrito, Carnitas Plate Taco, Carnitas Plate.
La Cabanita has an extensive menu. They have a zillion things to order. Large combinations and small combinations, vegetarian meals, a dozen different burritos and house specialties and an extensive seafood selection including: Tacos de Pescado ($10.95) five fish tacos served with rice, beans, pico de gallo and guacamole; Crab Enchiladas ($10.95) two corn tortillas filled with crab meat (or real crab meat for a buck more) and topped with red sauce, jack cheese, garnished with sour cream, avocado and tomatoes, served with rice and beans; and Camarones Mex ($12.95) sautéed prawns and onions covered with jack cheese and bacon, served with rice beans, guacamole and tortillas. The Chicken Mole ($11.25) sounds excellent too, with chunks of chicken sautéed in a spicy and sweet mole sauce served with rice, beans and tortillas.
We are carnitas freaks! Well, I mean, we looooove carnitas—we don’t freak out when we see them. So I order the Super-size Carnitas Burrito ($9.95) which includes pork carnitas, rice, beans and lettuce inside a tortilla and topped with red sauce and cheese. I also order lettuce and tomatoes on top because, as I always say, you can’t have enough lettuce. Peter orders the Carnitas Plate. I wish we had a scale to see how much meat comes with this meal. It’s gotta be over a pound of meat. And tender meat. No fat. It’s friggin amazing. It’s served with rice, beans, guacamole, pico de gallo and tortillas on the side. We are in heaven, it’s snowing outside, but super warm and cozy inside with this wonderful meal served and made by fantastic people.
Top row left to right: La Cabinta front dining room, La Cabanita back dining room. Middle row left to right: Caution! Hot chips. Corona beer is a staple. Outside of La Cabanita. Last row left to right: Today's specials on the board. Dos Equis is also a staple. La Cabanita owner Raul Armenta with blogger/diner Julie Molema.
We chat with the table next to us about how excellent the food is, and they agree, it’s the best in town. Well, it’s official. We’ve found our favorite Mexican spot and we’ll be back week after week to see our friends and have some excellent food.