#19: Costa Vida Fresh Mexican Grill

Today the random number generator sent me to Costa Vida.  This is one of my favorite spots for a salad (albeit not the healthiest salad) in Rancho. They are located on Olsen drive near Zinfandel and share a building with Panda Express.  I was hungry early and know this place can get pretty busy, so I headed out at 10:30 when they opened.  Outside they have a few tables though, much like yesterday at Pieology, they are surrounded by a parking lot and not the most inviting on a hot day.  Inside, the space is large and has lots of seating.  It’s very clean, colorful and bright, with many large windows on both walls.  Watch your step here though, I’ve found the fake wood flooring to be insanely slippery when it has the slightest bit of moisture on it.  I nearly wiped out near the soda machine today.  They quickly came out and stuck a wet floor sign out.  I hate coming here if it’s raining because it’s basically a death trap.

I hopped in line behind one other person.  He was clearly a regular as the worker anticipated his order and started working on it immediately.  A minute later I was up. I ordered the small salad with sweet pork (other meats include shredded beef, grilled chicken, raspberry chipotle chicken, grilled steak, mango chicken and sweet baja shrimp).  He asked if I wanted a tortilla under it all but I passed on that.  Choice of beans was black or pinto, I chose black.  After that I stuck with the usual ingredients (lettuce, pico de gallo, guacamole, tortilla strips & cotija cheese).  I picked the tomatillo ranch dressing (others are cilantro lime vinaigrette and sweet mango).  That came to $6.99, and I added a soda for $1.99 more.

Today the salad was delicious as always.  The lettuce was fresh, vibrantly green and crisp, with the tortilla strips cranking the texture up a notch.  Most of the ingredients hide below the good-sized pile of lettuce, but the little scoop of guacamole is simply camouflaged against the lettuce.  There’s not much of it, so if you choose to spread it out across the whole salad you won’t notice it much against the rich, sweet pork or flavorful dressing.  Speaking of the pork, it’s incredible here.  It’s always super tender and practically melts in your mouth.  It’s drenched in the sweet, but not overpowering sauce/marinade.  It still lets the flavor of the pork itself shine, as well as most of the salad.  The beans and rice are a nice warm filler at the bottom to help close that last little gap in your stomach, making this a very satisfying salad, especially considering it’s the small size.

I covered this restaurant on my mission to eat through Roseville as well.  Check it out here if interested.

Website: http://www.costavida.net/

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