Dinner Time – Cafe Rio Style!

This past weekend Jim and I flew to Utah to see our two sweet college boys – Logan and Clark.  Of course the best part of a visit to Utah is spending time with my two boys, but the second best part is getting to eat at Cafe Rio!  Cafe Rio is a local mexican chain and no trip to Utah is complete without at least ONE trip to Cafe Rio (many times there is more than one visit!)

One of my favorite things to order at Cafe Rio is the sweet pork burrito, so you can imagine my delight when a friend shared with me a “copycat” recipe for Cafe Rio’s sweet pork, their green chile rice and the yummy cilantro salad dressing!  Now I can get a Cafe Rio fix right at home.  The great thing about the sweet pork recipe is that it is cooked in the crock pot so it makes a quick and easy dinner to prepare!  The other good news is a “knock-off” Cafe Rio has opened in Hillsboro – it is called Costa Vida and it is a close second to Cafe Rio but if you don’t live anywhere near Hillsboro, Oregon  or a Cafe Rio you are going to want to give these recipes a try!

Being the proud mama that I am, I also have to share some pictures with you of our trip to see Logan and Clark.  While we were there we were able to see the opening night of Logan’s Young Ambassador show.  The pictures were taken at the end of the show – the last number in the show is from the musical “Tarzan” and Logan  sings and dances dressed up as a monkey in that number (thus the funny outfit and bad hair!)   One of Logan’s solos is from the show “Newsies” – he sings the song “Seize the Day”.  It is so fun to sit in an audience and hear an auditorium of girls screaming and clapping for your son!

I hope you enjoy dinner Cafe Rio Style as much as I do!

Sweet Pork

Dinner Time – Cafe Rio Style!
  • 1-2 lb. pork tenderloin (I have used inexpensive pork carnitas also - available at Winco)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups fresh salsa
  1. Mix sugar and salsa, pour over pork
  2. Cook in crock pot for 8 hrs. on low
  3. When done shred with two forks and return to juice in crock pot and allow liquid to absorb
  4. Serve with tortillas and all the fixins!

Green Chile Rice (Serves 6)

Dinner Time – Cafe Rio Style!
  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 4 oz. green chiles
  • 1 sm. onion, diced
  • ⅓ cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1-2 tsp. cumin
  • 3 green onions
  1. Mix together and pour into greased 9 x 13 pan.
  2. Bake in the oven for 1 hour or until rice is done at 350.

Cilantro Salad Dressing (This gets rave reviews everytime I serve it)

Dinner Time – Cafe Rio Style!
  • 1 pkg. Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing (dry mix)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½- 1/3 bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • ½ - 1 small jalapeno (remove seed)
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1 tsp. lime juice
  • 1-2 tomatillos (remove outer papery skin)
  • 1 garlic clove
  1. Blend all ingredients in blender!
Leigh Anne
Hi – I’m Leigh Anne! I have been a homebased mom for 30 years since my first baby boy was born! I love working with women and helping to inspire them to achieve their goals and dreams while still maintaining motherhood and family as their number one priority. I blog about everything I enjoy – creating treats and meals in my kitchen, spending time in my garden, entertaining and party planning, reading, self improvement and tips and ideas on style and fashion.
Leigh Anne
Leigh Anne

Latest posts by Leigh Anne (see all)


  1. says

    I am so excited to try these recipes… those pork burritoes are one of our favorites, too! Next time you visit Utah, you will have to try the pork burritoes at the Costa Vida @ the Gateway in downtown SLC… maybe it’s the same as in Oregon; they are sure yummy there, too!

  2. Nora says

    Hi! I love your blog! Thanks for posting such great recipes.

    I am so excited to try this recipe for dinner tonight! The pork smells wonderful!

    I am not sure if you are still reading posts about this, but I would love to know your thoughts on eliminated the cilantro (if you are not a cilantro fan! I am trying the rice without it!) Do you think that would wreck it?

    I am not brave enough to try the dressing.. blender, garlic and jalapeno combined with three kids and the after school hours is not a recipe for success! Crock pot and oven I can handle, blender and rest… no go…

  3. says

    Nora » I am sure the rice would be fine without the cilantro – just a different taste. The lime might be a bit stronger without the cilantro. Give it a try!

  4. says

    I found your blog thru Mom2my9. It’s really great, and thanks for posting recipes. I’m always looking for something good and quick, and these sound great! I enjoyed my stay here and will be back!

  5. says

    Haha! I googled cafe rio recipes and found your site. The first thing I thought was, “Hey! I know that guy!” I went to high school with Logan. We actually were on the seminary counsel together :) Small world! How’s he doing these days?
    I love cafe rio as well, but have food allergies so I can’t eat there anymore. Thanks for sharing your recipe. I will have to try it.
    Stephanie Ray (formerly Cobbley)

  6. Lindsey Shaw says

    I LOVE Cafe Rio!!!! now that I’m back in New York and missing Mexican oh so much this recipe will definitely be on the top of my list!

  7. says

    Lindsey Shaw »
    Hey Lindsey girl – how is life in NYC – we miss you!!! You’ll love the Cafe Rio Pork – you should try the Costa Vida Chicken I have on the blog too – yummy!!! (Costa Vida is a Cafe Rio knock off!)

  8. says

    One of Cafe Rio’s “secret ingredients” is that they slow cook their pork in Coca Cola. I don’t know the exact amount though. I am going to give yours a try as soon as possible because I love Cafe Rio!

  9. Laura says

    This is the Cafe Rio Salad Dressing I use. Very yummy!
    1 1/3 c. sour cream
    3/4 c. mayonnaise
    1 handful of cilantro
    1 package ranch dressing mix(make per package)
    4 T. salsa verde(green salsa)
    2 cloves garlic
    1/8 t. Tabasco
    juice of 1 lime
    mix together in blender… and that’s it

  10. Tammy says

    Mmm! I just made the pork today and my family LOVED it! Thanks! (And I made it w/ the cheap carnitas from WinCo – gotta love WinCo for helping with the budget!)

  11. Wendy says

    So I’ve been using this recipe for years now and actually just moved to Hillsboro, OR…is the Costa Vida still open here???? I’m dieing for the real thing!!

    • says

      I serve it lots of ways – usually with rice on a tortilla rolled up like burrito. It is also awesome as a salad. Sometimes I use a cilantro ranch dressing. Enjoy!

  12. Michelle says

    I’ve seen this recipe before and wondered if it was good (without the coke). I’ll have to try it–it looks super easy. We have a knock-off Cafe Rio here in Indiana, it’s called “Fiesta Mexican Grill”. I think it gets the most business from all the grad students who’ve come from Utah! Yum!

  13. Woodra Bullock says

    When I make the Sweet Pork I also include these ingredients:
    1 tsp cayenne pepper
    2 tsp cumin
    1 can chicken broth
    2 gloves garlice
    1 can mild enchilada sauce
    I cook mine overnight and 1 hour before I serve I add a little more
    brown sugar and 1/2 can of more Coke.

  14. Meagan Fair says

    I moved to Utah in the last 2 years and only recently discovered Cafe Rio. It was love at first bite. I’m looking for the recipe for my favorite dip, the Chili Con Queso Dip. I haven’t found one yet, but in the mean time I tried the one from the Chili’s Restaurant and it was horrific by comparison. I’d be grateful for any helpful comments!

  15. kimlebaron@hotmail.com says

    I was wondering if you need to cover the pan with aluminum foil in the oven to make the rice? Thanks for all the wonderful recipes

  16. kimlebaron@hotmail.com says

    Whoops! I just found my answer about covering the rice in another post.

  17. Katie says

    If you live at a high elevation remember to add a 1/2 cup more liquid. Against my better judgment I didn’t add any extra and only half of the rice cooked.
    Otherwise the flavor was excellent. I made burritos out of the rice and Costa Vita Chicken and even my 2yo loved it…..


  1. […] quick and easy dinner idea is a bit of a cheat as it is a recipe I shared back in November of 2007, just a few months after I started my blog.  Since this recipe is buried deep in the archives of […]

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