I was supposed to come here yesterday but work got crazy. Chalupa Fresh Mexican Grill is new (although I’m not sure how new) in this little center at the corner of Zinfandel & White Rock, just a couple doors down from Eat A Pita. As far as I can recall it’s always been a Mexican food place of some sort, a taqueria most recently. This is my first visit here. I decided to come early to beat the overall business that seems to always be the case in this parking lot. I arrived at 10:50 and it was practically deserted.
Chalupa opens a bit earlier than most places at 10AM, so I was able to head in right away and get started. I was the only customer, and only one other came in while I was there over the next 25 minutes or so. The interior is very clean and brightly colored. They were working on some new artwork to go up on the walls at the time, so a couple tables were occupied by stacks of that. I approached the counter and the person that greeted me was there at the same time. They’ve got a few salads to choose from, all which definitely stand out from each other. I went with the Mexican Salad (fresh Romain, lettuce, black beans, tomatoes, onions, spicy pumpkin seeds, red cabbage, Cotija cheese, chips strips, crispy tostada with Mexican vinaigrette) and went with pork for the meat [$8.50]. I added a small soda for $1.89.
I grabbed a table in the corner and got my soda. The Mr Pibb tasted like it was out of syrup so I switched it up with Coke. I mentioned this to an employee who was bringing my salad to my table at the time. She didn’t really respond at all, and I heard nothing more after that. I shrugged it off and dug into my enormous salad.
It was crazy big. So far the most filling salads on this blog have been at Mexican spots, though usually with tostada shells helping quite a bit. This did not have a shell but left me perfectly full. Any more and I might have crossed that line into miserable. The thing was comprised mostly of crisp Romain. Everything else was distributed equally over the top. The pork was flavorful, yet didn’t quite have that melt-in-your-mouth tenderness that a lot of places offer. The Cojita cheese had a nice saltiness to it. I found few of the spicy pumpkin seeds, but those were tasty when I did. They weren’t super spicy but had a little zing to them. The vinaigrette wasn’t too strong, allowing the other flavors to stand on their own. The salad was fairly warm do to the beans and pork, which was kind of an odd sensation. Overall I did enjoy this salad. The service left a little to be desired though.
Side-note – I found out today what is going in next to Green Olives: A Noodles & Co. If they open before I finish my list then I’ll hit them up as well.