This just in. Bigol, lotta and hotta are the words that come to mind
when I describe my latest venture in Des Moines-area dining. El Rey, a
Mexican restaurant at 1714 Grand Ave. in West Des Moines, serves up some
great chow and some huge burritos!
A family of burritos is featured on the menu: the Regular ($3.25), the
Vegetarian ($3.75), the Super ($4.50), the El Rey ($6.75) and the Rey
Rey ($12). That is one awesome lineup. The Regular is huge, the El Rey
is a monster and the Rey Rey, well, it falls into a category all its
own. We cut it up and fed most of the Sunday-night newsroom shift here
with the Rey Rey. I am sure there is someone out there who could eat an
entire Rey Rey, but whoever that person is, would not fit in the front
seat of my new Suzuki wagon!
In less that 24 hours, I tried El Rey three times. The first visit was
a late-night stop. I mostly observed and ate a bowl of chips and salsa
just for kicks. The salsa was chunky and fresh with plenty of cilantro.
El Rey also had two thinner sauces: mild and hot.
My second outing came Sunday morning. After falling asleep Saturday
night with visions of El Rey burritos dancing in my head, I awakened
Sunday with visions of Country Style Eggs/Huevos Rancheros dancing on my
plate. Soon it was right in front of me -a hot, spicy and
wonderful-looking plate full of goodies. Rice, beans and hot sauce with
eggs for breakfast in the middle of July? A sure-fire way to start any
Toss in four or five tortillas and the side order called Jalapenos
that came with carrots and red peppers in a soup bowl, and the sleep was
suddenly gone from my eyes. The Jalapenos added an extra kick -and a
belch or two. Wow! Someone who made a Huevos as good as mine! All this
goodness for just three bucks and a quarter? Amazing!
Ready for Round 3
Next round, I was ready for the heavy stuff. I wanted to try one of
everything on the menu. I didn't, but I did get a wonderful
cross-section of goodies. First up, I snarfed the Swiss Style Cheese
Enchiladas. They weren't the best enchiladas I've ever eaten but were
still plenty good and came with rice, beans and a salad. The vegetarian
burrito was plenty good, too, but it was dwarfed by the El Rey
sausage-style burrito. El Rey means "The King" in Spanish, I am told,
and this thing was king. But then came the Rey Rey, beef style for us.
Holding this thing up for a photo reminded me of the pictures I've seen
of people holding an anaconda (not that I ever have). All of the
burritos came with lettuce, tomato, onion, bean, cheese and sour cream
and can be ordered with chicken, pork, sausage or beef.
Next up were tostadas: one beef, one chicken and one sausage. These
have been my favorite items. Just the right amount of goodies on each
one, all with lettuce, tomatoes and cheese. I also sampled the Mexican
Sandwich/Tortas, which was Mexican bread served with lettuce, tomato,
onion, sour cream, beans and meat of your choice. We had pork. It seemed
like a pretty solid sandwich and was big enough to feed two kids easily
Super Tacos, at $1.75 each, were a bit of a letdown. They came
flour-style, with cheese, lettuce and tomatoes. Only thing was, these
tacos hadn't seen a deep fryer. Not bad, but I would have preferred mine
fried. Guacamole with chips ($3.50) and a couple of nachos with salsa
($1.10) and round three was in the books. Did I mention that round three
fed nearly two dozen people?
Round three was all ordered take-out, and most meals were in good
shape. We had a little trouble with translation on the phone and didn't
get the Nachos Supreme or the four bottles of orange pop. As it turned
out we didn't need the nachos. But the orange pop would have been a good
way to wash it all down. You don't see those small bottles of pop that
often these days.
All in all, this was a great discovery -thanks to Mary Ramzy for
e-mailing me about this place. And if you check the Details box, you'll
see it's open plenty of hours for anyone looking for some real good,
real big, real fun Mexican food.
I will be sitting out RAGBRAI this year, but for those of you lucky
enough to be hitting the trail this Sunday, don't miss the chance to
stop at Steb's on the Hill in Cedar Falls for ice-cold refreshments.
Dave and Sherm, the owners of this quaint little pub, will most
certainly be doing their best to keep the fluids -which you need plenty
of on RAGBRAI -flowing. Proper replenishment of fluids is another
important part of the EAT RIGHT campaign I mentioned in my last column.
May the god of tailwinds be with you all.
E-mail the Fatboy at firstname.lastname@example.org, or send snail mail to 715
Locust St., Des Moines, IA 50309.
What: El Rey Burritos
Where: 1714 Grand Ave., West Des Moines
Hours: 10 a.m.-midnight Mondays-Thursdays, 10 a.m.-4 a.m. Fridays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Sundays