The Burrito Blog

April 2006

Snack Time

After a solid showing at the keyboard, John and I decided to take advantage of the lovely weather and take our time getting lunch. He grabbed his bicicleta and I my boardo.

The specimen at right is a carne asada burrito, doused in hot sauce.

Back to work.

This Benitos Taco Shop meal was rated: 6.1.

Sunday, April 30, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for Snack Time

Buche: Yummy Pig Tummy

The language barrier and authenticity at Pili's creates a de facto adventure with every meal.

After a brief conversation / round of charades with the lovely chef / owner at Pili's about what exactly buche is, I ordered a taco.

I wrongfully concluded it was the chin of a pig. It's not. According to many internet sources, buche is pork stomach cooked in lard. Update: according to an email correction, buche is a pig's esophagus.

Picture: al pastor on the left, buche on the right. You can see how the al pastor is a little more chunky, and the buche is flaky.

As far as food that qualifies as daring for gringos like me, pig stomach was pretty easy to take. Like everything else at Pili’s I thought it was great.

See also: goat stew, chicken piping, and cow cheek.
Coming soon: brains.

This Pili's Tacos meal was rated: 6.8.

Saturday, April 29, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for Buche: Yummy Pig Tummy

Flatulence Free Frijoles

Many burrito lovers share common spaces (car, cubicle, bed, elevator) with others, and claim that gaseous emissions following burrito consumption creates unpleasant social circumstances.

Science to the rescue.

Writing in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, Granito and colleagues found that adding these two gut bacteria [Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus plantarum] to beans before cooking them made them even less likely to cause flatulence.
Source: CNN.

How soon this breakthrough will find application at your local taqueria, and its impact on taste remains unknown.

Learn more about flatulence here.

This entry is filed in {News}.

Thursday, April 27, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for Flatulence Free Frijoles

New Scooters, Faster Delivery

Tacos Pepito's Bakery has a new fleet (at least 2) of scooters at its Adams Morgan location.

According to Junior Burrito Analyst Dave Stuart, former resident of the other side of the bridge, the new scooters reduce delivery time by a substantial margin.

Faster burritos are better burritos.

This entry is filed in Tacos Pepito's Bakery.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for New Scooters, Faster Delivery

Tomatillo Chicken Tamale

I was waiting for Mark, a Boston newcomer, to make his way two stops down the Red Line to meet me at Best Buy. This proved more difficult for Mark than either of us had expected, and gave me enough time to drop in unexpected (cameraphone) at Boca Grande for lunch.

As always, ordering was a last minute decision. I went with the tomatillo chicken tamale, for $4.25. That's pretty pricey for a tamale, which are usually under $2.00.

You get what you pay for - there was such a nice balance of spice, corn, tomatillo, and chicken. I added nothing.

This was a tamale of superlatives:

  • Most expensive
  • Most massive
  • Most delicious
  • Most definitely recommended

This Boca Grande Taqueria meal was rated: 7.9.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for Tomatillo Chicken Tamale

The Sour Cream Tumor

I ordered the carne asada burrito from Tacos Pepitos for the first time without thinking. How foolish.

One bite in, sour cream alarm went into code white. Crema comes standard on the carne asada burrito from Tacos Pepito's Bakery. Boo!

But I was really hungry. Could anything be done? Could the sour cream tumor be removed?

Not only am I Lead Burrito Analyst, I am Lead Burrito Surgeon. Scalpel!

The lengthwise incision revealed the burrito had been poorly rolled. Never has such poor ingredient distribution been so appreciated. The sour cream tumor was removed. Procedure status: success.

This Tacos Pepito's Bakery meal was rated: 5.8.

Friday, April 21, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for The Sour Cream Tumor

Honey Lime Rhymes With Crime

I asked the cashier at California Tortilla which burrito was her favorite. I'm usually not a fan of burritos with strange ingredients, but you can't argue with an expert.
Honey Lime Burrito
Grilled Mesquite Chicken, Mexican Rice, A Zippy Honey Lime Sauce, Fresh Salsa and Romaine.

Small $4.89 | Regular $5.69
I went with the regular.

Fortunately, the burrito was free, because it wasn’t that good. Nicely put, the burrito was of exceptional value. The 'zippy' sauce is kind of thick and too similar to mayonnaise for my liking. Others, who are less mayo-averse, may enjoy this burrito more than I did.

This California Tortilla meal was rated: 3.1.

Thursday, April 20, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for Honey Lime Rhymes With Crime

Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Eat That Burrito

Some burritos are worth fighting for.

Some, perhaps those from El Amigo in Valparaiso, Indiana, are even worth going to jail for.

Burrito Blog speculates (without knowing any facts related to this unfortunate arrest) that alcohol may have been involved, as a high percentage of bar patrons visit all night burrito establishments.

From the Northwest Indiana News:

Battery arrest. Police said a fight over a burrito at 1 a.m. Monday on Wayne Street led to the arrest of 24-year-old Matthew Zikesch on a battery charge.

This entry is filed in {News}.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Eat That Burrito

My Lucky Day

I wandered into California Tortilla in DC's Chinatown, where I was greeted with celebration, balloons, a mariachi band and a piñata. Inside the piñata, were free burritos. I was their millionth customer. Ok, that's a lie.

But California Tortilla was giving scratch tickets to customers. Mine won a 'specialty burrito.'

That's right. I'm a winner.

This entry is filed in California Tortilla.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for My Lucky Day

Welcome To California Tortilla

My first experience with California Tortilla was about four years ago, as Big Mike and I searched the corners of the district looking for better burritos.

While we overlooked the gem of Tacos Pepitos Bakery that was right under our noses, we did happen to make it to Bethesda to try what the locals call, "CalTor." Fast forward three years. Burrito Blog is born. One year later, I return to California Tortilla.

With locations in DC, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, California Tortilla lacks a geographic foothold in said state of California. No matter. I get the point.

Purists may be offended by the creative wraps on the menu, but will be happy to find the plethora of hot sauces (75 of 'em) available for taste testing.

Check out the official site here.

This entry is filed in California Tortilla.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for Welcome To California Tortilla | Comments (4)

Black Bean? Pinto Bean?

According to founder Rodney Anderson, Panchero's has been capturing the hearts and taste buds of college students since 1992, when he opened the first Panchero's near the University of Iowa Campus.

Subsequently, he has capitalized on many other college campuses.

The secret, claims Panchero's are the homemade tortillas. When you order at Panchero's, they stick a ball of tortilla dough on a big flattening machine, and press it out into a tortilla. From there it goes onto a grill and begins to resemble your lunch.

The secret as far as I'm concerned is that Panchero's (in Ann Arbor, MI at least) is open 'till 3:00am, and located next to several bars.

The other secret to the Ann Arbor location is the staff there, whose very thick accents make questions like "Black bean? Pinto bean?" or "Rice, amigo? Cheese, amigo?" music to your ears.

Also, the food is really good.

This Panchero's meal was rated: 8.0.

Monday, April 17, 2006 by Phil. Permalink for Black Bean? Pinto Bean?

Welcome To Panchero's

Let the confusion end now. To the many Burrito Blog faithful who have urged us to try Panchero's, and to those who will in the future, allow us to make it clear that Burrito Blog has indeed experienced Panchero's in all it's tortilla glory.

In fact I, Phil Jonas, Northern California Burrito Analyst, and former University of Michigan Wolverine, have been to Panchero's in Ann Arbor approximately 100 times. Jonah Feld, Lead Burrito Analyst, was fortunate enough to share a few of these trips during a college visit to his good elementary school chum, me.

Why has it taken us this long to present this information? Documentation and record keeping from our earlier burrito eating days are sparse. Pictures and notes of these Panchero's experiences are nowhere to be found. This will constitute a retro review, and one that, for me, invokes significant feelings of nostalgia.

Panchero's was a burrito beacon in my college days, and homage must be paid.

You can find the Panchero's menu here (PDF in new window).

Panchero's was founded in 1992 and currently operates 32 restaurants in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Wisconsin.

This entry is filed in Panchero's.

Monday, April 17, 2006 by Phil. Permalink for Welcome To Panchero's | Comments (10)

The Gauntlet

Phil's response to a challenge:

Lest it be thought that I didn't notice, or chose to ignore, the challenge bestowed upon me by Matthew James (DJ Turbz), let me assure you that neither of these is the case.

Clearly, Mr. James thinks that while he can not best me in feats of quantity burrito eating, he may be able to ingest a burrito more rapidly than I. Well, the gaunlet has been thrown down and I accept the challenge.

When next we meet, Mr. James, you and I shall square off at Anna's Taqueria. Only one of us will emerge the Burrito Speed-eating Champion.

This entry is filed in {News}.

Sunday, April 16, 2006 by Phil. Permalink for The Gauntlet

The Face Of Aggressive Gratification

This (see picture) is what happens when a man who grew up on the addictive taste of Anna's Taqueria goes without for two years. Even though those two years were spent in California, some burritos (quesadillas in this case) cannot be duplicated.

Direct from Logan Airport, Jerry required minimal persuasion to make a stop before seeing his family.

Jonah: Jerry, you wanna go get something to eat?
Jerry: I don't know man, my mom's making Sunday dinner.
Jonah: Zags and I were planning on going to Anna's.
Jerry: Taqueria?! Let's go! Don't tell mom.

The quesadilla was no match for Jerry.

This entry is filed in Anna's Taqueria.

Thursday, April 13, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for The Face Of Aggressive Gratification

Menu Expansion, Boca Grande

It's been about a year since we first covered Boca Grande Taqueria, the bitter rival of Anna's Taqueria. In that time, Boca has released a number of new menu items and changed some things in an effort to differentiate from Anna's. I believe they have succeeded.

Rather than make you look at the old menu, and then the new menu, and then click for the full size, I'll just type out what they've got. Because I love you.

There's the standard Burrito, Burrito Grande, Quesadilla, Taco, and Mexican Plate, all of which are also available at Anna's. Historically, Enchiladas, Tamales, Chicken Colorado, and Chicken Ranchero were the big differentiating menu items. There's a few more Boca only deals that should be brought to your attention.

  • Grilled Lemon Chicken
  • Beef Birria
  • Cochinita Pibil
  • Chorizo
  • California Burrito (sprouts and avocado)
  • Tofu
So, how do they taste? We'll soon find out.

This entry is filed in Boca Grande Taqueria.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for Menu Expansion, Boca Grande

Adjunct Burrito Analyst

For my first La Taqueria experience, I met up with Jessie, who you may remember as one of two Cosmic Cantina experts.

Jessie knows burritos, though she is not a Junior Burrito Analyst. Perhaps she should be. For the purpose of this burrito hunt, we'll call her an Adjunct Burrito Analyst.

La Taqueria was packed. The line loops around from the cashier (located by the front door) to the back wall and then back to the front door. With this many people waiting, there must be pots of gold at the end of the burrito queue, or at least delicious tortilla delights.

There was no gold. From the mid-chew smile on Jessie's face, you can bet we left happy.

This La Taqueria meal was rated: 8.7.

Monday, April 10, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for Adjunct Burrito Analyst

Welcome To La Taqueria

The anticipation. La Taqueria is legendary.

As one of the older Taquerias in San Francisco's Mission district (Map), La Taqueria also has a location in San Jose on S 1st Street (Map).

They claim to have, "The Best Tacos & Burritos In The Whole World." That's quite a statement. Tell me more.

Seating is provided, but often unavailable, which reminds me of Tito's in LA. The Mission Street location is always packed.

The menu is sparse, containing only the essentials: burritos, tacos, and quesadilla. There is no rice in the entire restaurant, and meat is added by hand - bare hand. Don't question it. Just eat.

Check out the menu here (opens in a new window).

This entry is filed in La Taqueria.

Monday, April 10, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for Welcome To La Taqueria

Burritos: The San Francisco Treat

Oh yes. This place is like Disney World for people who love burritos as much as I do.

There's a taqueria on every corner. Visit.

This entry is filed in {News}.

Sunday, April 09, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for Burritos: The San Francisco Treat

Boca Lands In Brighton

Not the first to break the news, it remains the duty of Burrito Blog to alert the residents of Allston / Brighton that a new location of Boca Grande Taqueria has opened in Brighton Center (Map).

Parking is easier than Coolidge Corner and Cambridge, and the hours are 10 am - 11 pm every day. I think this is the biggest Boca location yet.

That leaves you with no excuse to eat bad burritos.

This entry is filed in Boca Grande Taqueria.

Saturday, April 08, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for Boca Lands In Brighton

Just Not These 24 Hours

I went to Roberto's, which claims to serve delicious burritos 24 hours a day. I offer proof that this statement is false - that they do not serve burritos 24 hours a day.

Are they delicious? I can neither confirm nor deny.

See also: trouble with neon signs.

This entry is filed in Roberto's.

Monday, April 03, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for Just Not These 24 Hours

Welcome To Roberto's

After receiving some passionate hate mail for not having been to Roberto's, a special effort was made to clear up the situation.

Roberto's has an interesting history, similar to the familial feud behind Anna's and Boca in Boston. Local San Diegan burrito expert Paco explains:

Since you are sort of a burrito historian, you'll appreciate the Roberto's / Alberto's longstanding blood feud and its subsequent cascading effect on 95% of the burrito purveyors of our fair city as witnessed by the fact that most taco shops in town are named with infinite variations of the suffix "berto" no matter how ridiculous.

The Roberto's / Alberto's rivalry started when two brothers by those names inherited the original "Roberto's" chain, the granddaddy of all taco shops, from their old man. The younger brother, Alberto took his share of Roberto's restaurants and renamed them after himself. As the older brother expanded his number of shops, the younger brother followed suit.

Soon, both shops could be seen all over San Diego County. As the expansion grew to the point of diminishing returns somewhere in the mid eighties, they both began to sell off their less popular shops. Not to lose the drawing power of the Roberto/Alberto name the new owners of these shops began renaming them in a similar fashion to the point of lunacy. It started innocently enough with Gilberto's and progressed to such ridiculous and obviously made up names such as Adalberto's, Filiberto's, Hilberto's, Ediberto's, and my personal favorite Ramberto's...etc, etc, you get the picture.
Obviously, this was a place I had to visit.

This entry is filed in Roberto's.

Monday, April 03, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for Welcome To Roberto's | Comments (7)