Referred to by Allen’s brother-in-law Pete House as the “Walking Taco,” the Frito Pie is made by slicing the top off an individual-sized bag of Fritos corn chips and filling the opened bag with chili, cheese, onions and jalapeno peppers.
The inspiration for the Mexican dish stems from a visit Allen paid to Santa Fe, New Mexico. According to Amy Oatridge, one of Allen’s volunteer serving assistants, Allen imported the red chili powder from New Mexico and called a woman at a five and dime store in Santa Fe to get the recipe.
Pete House and his mom, Arlene Marston, also took turns serving Frito Pie. Many of those who enjoyed Allen’s Frito Pie washed the tasty dish down with one of Marston’s Alive After 5 trademark Cherry Bombs – Maraschino cherries soaked in Everclear grain alcohol.
Standing near Marston, Sanford food and wine critic Jay MacPhee said of the Frito Pie: “This is the best thing I’ve ever eaten out of bag.”
Imitating an old TV commercial, MacPhee then broke into a mock-Italian accent and said, “That’s a some spicy meatball.”
A short time later, Welcome Center Manager Liz Darwick said, “This is such a neat idea.”
After sampling a spoonful of the portable dish, Darwick said, “Oh my God, it’s awesome.”
A walk through the crowded streets of downtown Sanford Thursday night found many other participating businesses and organizations serving margaritas, rum concoctions, Sangria, nachos, chili and other Mexican-themed drinks and dishes.
The monthly street parties take place the second Thursday of each month. Next month’s event, Summer-Q Blues and Bar-Be-Q, will take place on Thursday, June 12.