So on our way to Death Valley, We made a pit stop in mammoth lakes to replenish our water stock before we crossed the valley where it hasn’t rained in 2 million years and is known as the driest place on earth. Since we were in Mammoth lakes we decided to get some lunch before hitting the road and upon some research and looking around we found Roberto’s Cafe. This Mexican place was teeming with customers when we entered. It is one of the most authentic Mexican places I had been to in a while. The nachos were crisp and crunchy and the salsa was the spiciest of the ones I had and that spice was invigorating compared to the dull and numbing heat outside.It wasn’t bland for a change.My Indian genes require me to have my share of spiciness. I ordered the chicken flautas and a mango virgin margarita while my friend ordered a chicken taco plate.
Both the main courses were served with Refried beans and spinach rice along with some salad and sour cream. What stood out of the whole lot was the spinach rice and the refried beans. The combination of these two was like a fusion dish, refreshing the boring idea of rice and beans. The rice was perfectly decocted and was neither overcooked nor undercooked and had a slight crunch to it.The refried beans were antipodal, with some melted cheese which bought the rice and beans combination together adding an extra layer of flavor. The flauta which was a stuffed and deep fried tortilla was loaded with shredded chicken. The outside layer was nicely fried and the batter was sweet and savory at the same time. It wasn’t crunchy unlike the ones I tried from the food trucks in New York but that’s what made it stand out. It’s wasn’t flaking and falling apart when you dig into it. The taco on contrary to the flautas was crunchy and the shell was holding in all the mouth watering fillings. A bite into it and the juices from the sauces and the meat mix and blend in your mouth. This whole experience was elevated by the mango virgin margarita. The mango virgin margarita was made of concentrated mango pulp with ice and icing on top making it the perfect drink to beat back the heat that was draining us dry and it was also perfect for dousing the spice emanating from the salsa.
So was Robertos worth it? Definitely. The taste and flavor were simply what I needed to liven up the drive in that scorching heat. Maybe if I had two stomachs I could have finished the boat load of food I was served. It was the best bang for the buck food you can get in mammoth lakes and I think the best food you can get before entering Death Valley. The quantity and quality of Mexican food were something I was not expecting in the Wild West. They might be a bit clumsy but a pit stop at Roberto’s on the way to Death Valley is well worth the detour.