Andy Carter and his wife are taking their first shot at a restaurant -- and yes, it's a fast-casual place. Fast-casual New Mexican, actually. Both Carters are natives of New Mexico, and they thought Westminster would be the perfect spot for Ristras Santa Fe Grill, which opened a few weeks ago at 11961 Bradburn Boulevard.
Ristras is like a New Mexican-style Chipotle, Carter explains, where you walk along a counter and pick out what you want. And what you can pick from is very different from what you'd find at Chipotle or any other Mexican knock-off. For example, Ristras offers potatoes on its burritos, and even has something called a 'Mound' -- a bowl of potatoes with your choice of meat and toppings. It also has blue corn tacos, sopapillas -- savory rather than sweet, with a variety of options -- and quesadillas.
Another big difference is the sauce: Green chile is a primary component of New Mexican cooking, compared to the thinner salsa of Mexican cuisine. The chile is made with a roux, a mixture of butter and flour, that creates a fuller, thicker sauce.
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Ristras is open for breakfast on the weekend -- and a mound of hash browns topped with chorizo, eggs and green chile sounds like the most perfect hangover meal ever. To reach Ristras, call 303-465-0541.