Cuckoo for avocado dip

Photo By David Robert

Rating:Fiendishly green

When my mother was pregnant with me, she would order my dad to pick up gobs of El Borracho’s green avocado dip along with peanut butter and a quart of mint chocolate chip ice cream. So I guess you could say my craving for that green dip dates back to that prenatal time.

Although words cannot describe the texture and taste of El Borracho’s sweet dip, I will humbly try. This dip is creamy and addictive, so good in fact that owners Gerald and Lupe Montoya will never reveal the secret recipe. But what this dip does, along with two types of fresh salsa and lightly salted chips, is set the tone for a delicious meal.

Eating at El Borracho has been one of my family’s traditions for more than 30 years, since my mom celebrated her 10th birthday there. The South Virginia Street restaurant is even more of a tradition for the Montoyas. Gerald Montoya’s father opened the restaurant 41 years ago. Montoya Sr. handed the reigns to Gerald and Lupe more than 32 years ago. According to Gerald, El Borracho is close to being the oldest family-run Mexican restaurant in Reno.

I revisited El Borracho with two of my friends last week. We walked into the dimly lit restaurant at 4 p.m., about two hours before the usual dinner crowd.

The decor of El Borracho’s dining area reminds me of Disneyland’s Tiki Room with a Mexican/Aztec flair. Birds and the occasional piñata dangle from the ceiling. Tapestries, sombreros, various food industry awards and authentic Mexican mosaics circa 1950 hang on the walls. A 300-pound ashtray from Mexico gathers butts in the bar. Large bouquets of fake wildflowers and exotic plants engulf the room, making it look like a South American jungle.

After about two rounds of the chips and dip, I ordered a No. 8: a cheese and onion enchilada with a beef taco, rice, beans and a sopapia ($8.95). The enchilada was covered in a creamy red sauce and diced spicy white onions. The taco shells were freshly fried, but not greasy. And the sopapia was deliciously light and fluffy. As I coated it with a hefty dose of grape jelly, I was sure that nothing could have served as a better end to my meal. Except, maybe, for a tasty alcoholic beverage. Unfortunately, I’m not yet 21 years old.

With a name like El Borracho, which translates to “the drunk,” the restaurant has no problem appealing to the imbibing college crowd. Most of the bartenders are college students, and young crowds gather mid-week for flavored margaritas and specialty drinks like the Texas Milkshake, an icy mix of Irish crème liquor, amaretto, Kahlua, creme de cocoa and milk.

So if you go, please sample a drink for the poor girl who has to wait four long months. And try the green dip while you’re there. It might change your whole view of avocados.