STARS (Out of 4) Three stars
FORT COLLINS — My husband is much more tolerant of spicy food than me. So when even he was turning red after sampling the “Stupid Sauce” at Fort Collins’ 2Mayto2Mato, I knew we were in for some serious Caribbean Cuisine.
Based on 2Mayto’s website, their ultimate salsa, “Death by Choka,” is so fiery, they have a Death by Choka Hall of Fame page for those brave enough to try it.
I was wimpy enough to try the mild Tamarind sauce and the deliciously smooth sautéed pumpkin, spiced with garlic, parsley, onion and sugar. I loved them both.
Owner Angela Ramdass, originally from Trinidad and Tobago, cooks up these sauces along with a slew of authentic Caribbean dishes, which she learned how to make while growing up there. She even imports some of her necessary ingredients straight from the West Indies, such as pumpkins and ripened Tamarind.
2Mayto2Mato is the quintessential “hole-in-the-wall.” The small, non-descript storefront boasts little in the way of décor but much in the way of flavorful, authentic food made fresh to order.
There are two tall tables inside for a standing-while-eating experience. Otherwise, you can take your food to go or eat outside at the few tables available near Sunflower Market at Drake and Shields. This is the option my family chose.
While the menu changes (slightly) daily, there are always three “sandwiches” offered – the Trinidad Beef Pie ($3.95), the Doubles ($3.50) and the Aloo Pie ($3.50). We ordered all of them as well as the Roti Sandwich ($5.95) option of the day.
One of the best parts of all these dishes was the thick, soft, chewy bread used in each one. There were variations to each but they all had that texture and taste similar to Indian Naan bread.
The Roti sandwich bread, more like a flour tortilla, is wrapped around a copious amount of delectable ingredients. On this particular day, these included curried chicken, curried chickpeas, sautéed pumpkin and curried potatoes chunks. If you hadn’t guessed, curry was the predominant flavor here.
The sweetness of the pumpkin puree really added a depth of flavor to the other ingredients. And, it kept the sandwich moist, without the addition of sauces or other condiments.
The Trinidad Beef Pie was my kids’ favorite. Here, a “pocket bread” is stuffed with a ground beef mixture which has been sautéed with onion and special Trinidad spices. Because the bread is completely sealed around the meat, this sandwich stays moist right up until the moment you cut into it for your first steaming mouthful.
Aloo Pie also uses pocket bread but fills it with mashed potatoes spiked with garlic and seasonings. This was the blandest of the group to me, but still tasty in its own right.
The Doubles, apparently a famous street vendor food item in Trinidad, consists of sautéed chickpeas between what’s called Curry Barra bread. This especially reminded me of Naan bread with its wonderfully thick texture and stretchy quality. I thought the spices used in the chickpea sauté could have been kicked up a notch but I enjoyed it all the same.
On this note, if any dish ever does seem to be in need of a “kick,” 2Mayto’s certainly has an array of sauces and salsas to do the job. In fact, not taking advantage of the wonderful accoutrements here is like going to Ben & Jerry’s and only ordering vanilla ice cream. You owe it to yourself to at least try the Chunky Monkey, am I right?
You may disagree but hey – you say “2Mayto . . . I say 2Mato.”
Shannon Teslow has lived in Windsor for more than a decade.