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100 Dishes To Eat In Alabama Before You Die-El Rey Burrito Lounge

 

The “BBQ Salad” at El Rey Burrito Lounge in Montgomery is the 83rd dish that I have eaten on my quest to try each of the 100 Dishes To Eat In Alabama Before You Die.(18th, if I am counting down.)

El Rey  salad

El Rey Burrito Lounge Anch BBQ and Jicama Salad

Although not in the pamphlets written by Tourism Alabama, this dish has turned up on the 100 dishes app and I am happy to be able to tell you about my experiences at this creative and forward thinking establishment.

Soon after moving to Alabama, I was thrilled that I found this fun restaurant recommended to me by a friend of a friend. Since my very first visit,  it has been my go to Mexican-esque food place ever since. I love the place and have written about it a few times before. While trying another dish listed on 100 Dishes To Eat In Alabama Before I die, I referenced the salads at the funky El-Rey Burrito in comparison to a ho-hum salad that I ate.  More importantly, the fresh ingredients are local whenever possible, sometimes from their own herb garden, and are carefully sourced from Alabama farms, whenever possible.

THE PLACE- 

El Rey Burrito Lounge a.k.a. El Rey is located in what is called the “Old Cloverdale” neighborhood of Montgomery.  This neighborhood is loaded with unique architecture, shops, art galleries,restaurants, parks, theater, and everything else that makes this type of neighborhood unique. Established in 1999, El Rey lives up to the uniqueness of this area that I like to visit.

elreysign

El Rey has indoor and outdoor seating amongst tall trees

The building has almost a cabin feel with a funky interior that reminds me Southern California. Cool clocks, red leather booths, stickers and graffiti in the bathroom; and yet it sits on a gorgeous wooded lot surrounded by large trees, crepe myrtles, jasmine vines, and I am reminded that I am in Alabama.

elreyout

Entrance to El Rey Burrito Lounge

 

A fun place to visit there is both indoor and outdoor dining.  The staff is accommodating and will often move tables for a group of friends.  And because this is Alabama, the outdoor season is extended.

elreywarm

Keeping you warm at El Rey

 

THE FOOD-

Never disappoints me. With a large menu, choices are numerous and have many ways to personalize your dish.  As the menu nicely summarizes their carefully chosen foods, I will quote them. “All our salsas, dips, and dressings are made using the finest fresh ingredients. Beans are lard-free. Black beans can be ordered vegan. Our kitchen respects vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diets. We use extra virgin olive and grapeseed oils in our food, and we cook our tortilla chips in corn oil. Our tortillas are preservative-free from La Chiquita in Atlanta. We use local farms whenever possible and proudly support COOL (Country of origin laws). Our shrimp and fish are from Alabama. Joyce Farms is in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Our Hereford beef is from Greater Omaha farmer’s collective. Belle Chevre cheese is from Elkmont, AL. AA Farm Creamery is in Millbrook. Oakview Farms is located in Wetumpka. Our milk is from Working Cows Dairy in Slocomb, AL.”

Local…Funky…. Healthy…Supports Local Farms and Farmers…Top-Quality Produce…. A great contrast to the high fat, high sodium, high cholesterol Mexican, Tex-Mex counterparts, this is food that I am comfortable eating. Oh and they create dishes from different regions in Mexico that you will not find anywhere in this vicinity. Trust me.

elreychips

El Rey Trio

One of my favorite items at El Rey is the salsas, chips, and dips.   With seven salsas to choose from, queso and Morrocon dip, I always have a hard time choosing. My one complaint about El Rey.  I do not mind paying for craft salsas but dang it is gone in just a few bites and I ALWAYS have to order more.

Hands down, the people that I dine with tend to order a famous burrito; this is a burrito lounge after all. With With seven types of burritos, three types of 12-inch shells, two types of beans and eight types of protein, you will not go home hungry.

elreyburrito

El Rey Burrito big as your head!

 

elreyburritoin

Big as your head burrito at El Rey

Although I have tried salads, soups, burritos, and enchiladas, I tend to love the street tacos.  Generally, I order a ten-inch fish catfish street taco on the six inch corn shell, this was a 10 inch steak taco with queso.

elreytaco

El Rey Burrito Lounge street tacos

THE DISH- The Rating

Technically called the Ancho BBQ and Jicama Salad, this dish comes with your choice of chicken or tempeh, Yucatan-style ancho bbq sauce, jicama-cabbage slaw, pickled cucumbers, cotija, crisps $8.50 and is suggested with goat cheese and flour or corn tortillas $12.50. *Glossary below.

MEGastars 4 Salad Stars *****

MEGatips – 

  1. 1031 East Fairview Avenue, Montgomery Alabama 36106 | 334-832-9688 El Rey Burrito Lounge Website
  2. Open Monday-Saturday 4pm-10pm, Open until 11pm on Fridays. Closed Sundays.
  3. They do not take reservations. If there is a play at the nearby Old Cloverdale Theater, it will be busy and you will wait, sometimes a good while.
  4. Relax and make it a night out. The staff at El Rey will call your cell phone while you wait at…
  5. ..the also funky  and MEGapick Leroy Lounge. Located down an alley, it feels like a secret bar.  I also heard a rumor that they will be selling more appetizers soon.  I MUST recommend the cheese platter with True Vine Gifts Wine Jelly. This exquisite wine jelly is made in Alabama by a very talented woman. Leroy has something unique going on in the Montgomery bar scene. With creative craft cocktails from an interesting list to an astounding number of craft beers and one cool draft beer selection, your guests will too be impressed. Leroy Lounge
  6. DO eat outside whenever possible, especially near the pond with Koi fish.
  7. El Rey has a killer Margarita, or so I am told.

GLOSSARY

  • Glossary for this dish Cotija’s a Mexican hard cow’s milk type of cheese that is named after the town of Cotija, Michoacán.
  • Jicama– It sounds scary but it is quite tasty. I have eaten this vegetable in many forms and I found it in many Cuban dishes while visiting the delicious Little Havana of Miami. Some call it Mexican Yam or Mexican Water Chestnut. It is likened to a turnip but with a bit of sweetness. In this dish, the jicama is combined with cabbage to make a delicious, tangy, healthy slaw.

_________________________________________________________________

This MEGabites and MEGastars description is found at the bottom of each post. If you are new to my 100 Dishes in Alabama escapade, this may be helpful information.

ABOUT:  *100 Dishes To Eat In Alabama Before You Die,” is a compilation of food to chow down on “Bama style.”  Thanks to Tourism Alabama, www.alabama.travel my Alabama bucket list just became a little easier.  I am going to have some food fun while making my way like Ms. Pacman, in yet another state that I call home.   From the little old diner to the white cloth setting, this journey is an opportunity for me to explore my new state and experience pride in food from restaurateurs who are dedicated to local food, with some Alabama style. From the local BBQ smoker to James Beard recipients, you too will take a culinary trip across scenic and historical Alabama.  From this list, I select stops based upon convenience of location and they are in no particular order (but I already have a few favorites.)  Perhaps when I finish this list, I will rank my favorite dishes. You too may pick up the brochure at Alabama Tourism stops or download the alphabetical brochure that begins in Abbeville and ends in York.

I use a 5 MEGastar system.  For the most part, I am traveling a distance to try these dishes and these places get one shot at how I view the food and experience.   I will not be taking an average of three visit experiences and I factor this in when I give my star rating. That said, I’m very easy to please, I can overlook quite a bit and have worked in the food service industry.  I am not a paid food critic, just Meg, a curious traveler, with an interest in trying different foods and sharing my two cents on the experience.  I try to follow my own star system so that I may be fair to the wonderful dishes on this list.

  • *meh food. Just wasn’t good. Maybe the food came from a can? or,  the place was not one that I would want to send someone to show pride in Alabama.   This has happened to me a few times and is a difficult write.
  • ** passable – the food was “ok” but the place  was not “ok” or vice versa.
  • *** good but not outstanding or unique.
  • **** Very tasty dish AND meets one of the definitions set forth by Alabama Foods/Tourism, of local food and/or truly highlights Alabama Pride.
  • ***** I actually died, went to heaven and came back when I ate the dish. And/Or, something is very unique, something you cannot get anywhere else.This MEGabites and MEGastars description is found at the bottom of each post. If you are new to my 100 Dishes in Alabama escapade, this may be helpful information.

    ABOUT:  *100 Dishes To Eat In Alabama Before You Die,” is a compilation of food to chow down on “Bama style.”  Thanks to Tourism Alabama, www.alabama.travel my Alabama bucket list just became a little easier.  I am going to have some food fun while making my way like Ms. Pacman, in yet another state that I call home.   From the little old diner to the white cloth setting, this journey is an opportunity for me to explore my new state and experience pride in food from restaurateurs who are dedicated to local food, with some Alabama style. From the local BBQ smoker to James Beard recipients, you too will take a culinary trip across scenic and historical Alabama.  From this list, I select stops based upon convenience of location and they are in no particular order (but I already have a few favorites.)  Perhaps when I finish this list, I will rank my favorite dishes. You too may pick up the brochure at Alabama Tourism stops or download the alphabetical brochure that begins in Abbeville and ends in York.

    I use a 5 MEGastar system.  For the most part, I am traveling a distance to try these dishes and these places get one shot at how I view the food and experience.   I will not be taking an average of three visit experiences and I factor this in when I give my star rating. That said, I’m very easy to please, I can overlook quite a bit and have worked in the food service industry.  I am not a paid food critic, just Meg, a curious traveler, with an interest in trying different foods and sharing my two cents on the experience.  I try to follow my own star system so that I may be fair to the wonderful dishes on this list.

    • *meh food. Just wasn’t good. Maybe the food came from a can? or,  the place was not one that I would want to send someone to show pride in Alabama.   This has happened to me a few times and is a difficult write.
    • ** passable – the food was “ok” but the place  was not “ok” or vice versa.
    • *** good but not outstanding or unique.
    • **** Very tasty dish AND meets one of the definitions set forth by Alabama Foods/Tourism, of local food and/or truly highlights Alabama Pride.
    • ***** I actually died, went to heaven and came back when I ate the dish. And/Or, something is very unique, something you cannot get anywhere else.
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