Danilo Portillo and his wife, Amanda, of Plaistow are the owners of Rico’s Burritos (ricosburritosfoodtruck.com, and on Facebook and Instagram @ricosburritosfoodtruck), a food truck specializing in street tacos, burritos, burrito bowls and other authentic Mexican options with a Central American twist. The truck launched this past June, but both Danilo and Amanda Portillo have worked in the restaurant industry since they were teenagers. They met at a local Mexican restaurant just over a decade ago and, according to Amanda Portillo, had talked about launching a food truck for a few years before jumping in. Rico’s Burritos gets its name both in inspiration from the couple’s son, Ricardo, and for the Spanish word meaning “tasty” or “delicious.” The truck has a regular presence at venues across northern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire, including at Griffin Park (101 Range Road, Windham) and Peters’ Farm (3 Cross St., Salem). The Portillos will also be at Plaistow’s annual Pumpkin Lighting Festival on Saturday, Oct. 29, from 2 to 6 p.m. on the Town Green.
What is your must-have kitchen item?
Danilo: A knife … because I cut everything — the meat, the parsley, the lettuce, the onions and cilantro.
Amanda: He mostly works on the flat top and I help put together all the burritos and bowls and everything, so I guess a must-have for me would be a pen to take down the orders. If I didn’t have a pen, that would be really bad.
What would you have for your last meal?
Danilo: A sushi boat … loaded with everything, pretty much.
Amanda: I think I would have to go with chicken tikka masala.
What is your favorite local restaurant?
Amanda: I guess I’m just going to roll right with my chicken tikka masala and go with Kashmir [Indian Cuisine in Salem], because that’s where I’d get it.
Danilo: The Common Man. I do love the fresh bread that they have with butter, and the steak is good, with baked potatoes and veggies.
What celebrity would you like to see ordering from your food truck?
Danilo: John Cena.
Amanda: I’m going to go with Adam Sandler, just because he’s a New Hampshire native and he’s always been one of my favorite actors. … I wouldn’t be super intimidated with him because he seems like he’s just so low-key.
What is your favorite thing on your menu?
Amanda: I’m definitely going with the pork carnitas street tacos. … It’s [on] our grilled corn tortillas, with melted cheese, diced onion, fresh cilantro and our house sauce. They’re so good.
Danilo: I like the California burrito that we did as a special [with] mango pico [de gallo], avocado, cheese, rice and beans.
What is the biggest food trend in New Hampshire right now?
Amanda: I feel like food trucks are trending in New Hampshire, more than they were before. When we first started talking about it a couple of years ago, there weren’t even half as many food trucks around, I feel like, as there are now.
What is your favorite thing to cook at home?
Danilo: I like when we do baked haddock with fresh salad, and some veggies and some rice.
Amanda: I’m going to go with a steak dinner with salad and broccoli, and rice pilaf as well.
From the kitchen of Danilo and Amanda Portillo of Rico’s Burritos
1 pound extra-large shrimp
½ of a large red onion
1 bunch of cilantro
1 large tomato
½ cup ketchup
1½ cup Clamato juice
2 teaspoons Tapatio hot sauce
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Boil the shrimp for three minutes and season with salt. Place in an ice bath for about five minutes. Dice up all of the vegetables and place in a large mixing bowl. Squeeze in the juice from all five of the limes. Add the ketchup, Clamato juice, Tapatio hot sauce, garlic powder and onion powder. Cut each shrimp into three pieces and add to the bowl. Mix everything together and chill for 30 minutes or more. Enjoy with fresh tortilla chips.
Featured photo: Danilo Portillo (left) and his wife, Amanda, of Rico’s Burritos.