The fiesta salad with chicken and a side of Mexico City-style corn on the cob from El Rayo Taqueria in Scarborough. Photo by Aimsel Ponti

A few Saturdays ago – or at least I think it was a Saturday – my spouse, our dog Odie and I logged 4 1/2 miles on the Eastern Trail in Scarborough. It was 40-something degrees out, and the wind had a bit of a nip, especially when we were out in the open.

By the time we got back to the car, I was exhausted, chilled and ready to eat the tires off my my car. As luck would have it, we were parked within a stone’s throw of the Scarborough El Rayo Taqueria and decided to zip over for some takeout, our first restaurant meal since being in lockdown for however many days.

Exterior of El Rayo Taqueria in Scarborough Photo by Aimsel Ponti

We pulled into the parking lot, so I called, said I was outside and asked if it was OK to call back with an order and pay over the phone.  I also asked if the entire menu was available. I got affirmative responses to all my questions, and so Tracy and I perused the menu on our phones and figured it out.

She opted for the Yucatan burrito ($10.95) which is grilled achiote seasoned fish fillet, rice, Monterey Jack cheese, crunch veggie slaw, avocado, chipotle mayo and cilantro. I chose the fiesta salad ($9.95) which is romaine lettuce, red onion escabeche, jicama, sweet peppers, corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, cilantro, pepitas and radish, garnished with avocado, chips with melted cheese and agave vinaigrette. I also splurged for a side order of one of my favorite things on the planet: The El Rayo Mexico City-style corn on the cob ($4.95). A grilled ear of corn is basted with chipolte mayo and dusted with cotija. I could eat this every day of my life and not tire of it, such is its flavorful magnificence.

And OK, fine, we also shared a side of chips with salsa and guacamole.

Everything was done over the phone, and about 10 minutes after I hung up, a staff person, wearing gloves, popped out and quickly handed Tracy the paper bag through the window. Easy as pie. Or should I say tortilla chips.

Upon returning home, we set up TV trays and feasted while watching an episode of “Tiger King.” I ate every single scrap of that salad and all but inhaled the corn. Tracy chimed in that her burrito was sheer perfection and included a surprisingly large amount of fish.

About a week later, I was having a rough day and was feeling cold, sad and entirely uninspired. The last thing I felt like doing was figuring out dinner, let alone play a part in preparing it. So I looked a Tracy and said the five magic words that, for the moment at least, made everything OK: “El Rayo again? My treat!” We both ordered the exact same thing with no regrets. P.S. The Portland location at 26 Free St., is also open for takeout.


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