Toribio’s: a taste of Mexico in the heart of Taos

Shrimp rancheros plateOriginally published in Taos News
The two Toribio’s

Many Taoseños are familiar with the name Toribio’s.

The Paseo del Pueblo Norte restaurant, which has been in business for 18 years, has built a loyal clientele. Its homemade Mexican food, pura comida Mexicana, as the owner calls it, is tasty and reasonably priced.

“We have a great following up there, but also wanted to serve the people who live in the south part of town,” said Jose Real, the owner. “Several patrons approach me about it, saying that they liked the food, but the place was too far away for them to go as often as they wanted to. Then I said, ‘OK, let’s go for another Toribio’s.’ And here we are.”

The new restaurant, located in the former Subway space, opened its doors for the first time in February 2013 and has been busy ever since.

The bright and vibrant colors of the walls enliven the room. The decoration, with Mexican touches, is similar to the first Toribio’s.

“We follow the same model,” said Real. “Everything that people love in the other place they will find it here, too.”

Real is from Mexico City and has been in Taos for over 20 years. His wife, Maria Rodriguez, a native of Chihuahua who came to New Mexico “looking for new horizons,” has been here 13 years.

“Jose and I have been married 8 years,” she said. “We are together in life, love and business.”

La comida

The menu is exactly the same as in Toribio’s I—breakfast burritos made with potatoes, eggs and sausage, or with chorizo and eggs, or simply vegetarian.

“Our patrons like to eat healthy food,” said Real. “We try to accommodate to people’s needs and wants. Now, notice that everything we offer is fresh and made right here in our kitchen. We do not use preservatives at all.”

Almost all dishes are served with lettuce and pico de gallo (onions, tomatoes and peppers), plus red and green salsa.

They also serve omelets, huevos rancheros and, of course, a variety of burritos—adobada beef, chicken, ground beef and chicharron, among others.

Toribio’s burritos de chicharron are one of my guilty pleasures. They are made with deep-fried pork rinds rolled up into a tortilla. The pork, crispy and flavorful, is mixed with bits of bell pepper and chile.

A burrito de chicharron isn’t a South Beach Diet dish, but even the most health-conscious eater will find it difficult not to indulge in it.

Burritos range in price from 6 to 8 dollars. Some are big enough to make two meals out of them.

The plates —steak ranchero, barbacoa, shrimp ranchero and fajitas— are served with rice, beans and tortillas.

“I would say that our enchilada plate is a winner,” said Rodriguez. “The enchiladas come with red or green chile and are prepared with beef, chicken or cheese.”

Torta Cubana is another favorite. Though slightly different from the Miami sandwiches that I am used to, they contain the right ingredients: different kinds of ham, cheese, avocado, tomatoes and jalapeno slices.

Drinks include beer, horchata and aguas frescas— light, refreshing blends of water and fruits like watermelon, pineapple and mango.

As for dessert, if you still have room for it, there are cookies and flan.

“What makes Toribio’s different from other restaurants is that we give an authentic Mexican flavor to all our meals,” said Real. “We use Mexican seasonings and tried and tested family recipes.”

His goal is to keep the taste of Mexico in everything he serves.

The patrons speak

“I have been three times in this new location,” said Hillary McPartlon, “and I am impressed. The sauce is really good, the service is fast, the place is clean and everybody is very friendly. And the mango water is the best! I’m definitely coming back.”

Diana McMains and Eric St. John are here for the first time, but they assure me that it won’t be the last one.

“I had the enchilada plate and it was very tasty,” said McMains. St. John, who had a couple of tacos al pastor, called them “tasty and delicious.”

Bobby Duran had beef enchiladas and said that they were great.

“I wish the two Toribio’s good luck in their business,” Duran said.

The second Toribio’s is located at 1104 Paseo Del Pueblo Sur, Taos, NM 87571

Phone: (575) 758-3060

Toribio's at lunch time

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About dovalpage

Teresa Dovalpage was born in Havana and now lives in Taos, New Mexico. She has a Ph.D. in Spanish literature and teaches at UNM Taos. She also freelances for Taos News, Profile, Hispanic Executive and other publications. A bilingual author, she has published eight novels, six in Spanish and two in English, two collections of short stories in Spanish and one in English. Her English-language novels are A Girl like Che Guevara (Soho Press, 2004) and Habanera, a Portrait of a Cuban Family (Floricanto Press, 2010). Her collection of short stories The Astral Plane, Stories of Cuba, the Southwest and Beyond was published by the University of New Orleans Press in 2012. In her native Spanish she has authored the novels Muerte de un murciano en La Habana (Death of a Murcian in Havana, Anagrama, 2006, a runner-up for the Herralde Award in Spain), El difunto Fidel (The late Fidel, Renacimiento, 2011, that won the Rincon de la Victoria Award in Spain in 2009), Posesas de La Habana (Haunted Ladies of Havana, PurePlay Press, 2004), La Regenta en La Habana (Edebe Group, Spain, 2012,) Orfeo en el Caribe(Atmósfera Literaria, Spain, 2013) and El retorno de la expatriada (The expat’s return, Egales, Spain, 2014). Her short novel Las Muertas de la West Mesa (The West Mesa Murders, based on a real event) is currently being published in serialized format by Taos News.
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