The Burrito Blog

May 2006

Cochinita Pibil Enchiladas

As mentioned earlier, it wouldn't take long to test out some of Boca Grande's new menu items. After a thrilling experience with the Tomatillo Chicken Tamale, the Cochinita Pibil was up next. Beef Birria is on deck.

Cochinita Pibil is a slow roasted, citrus-ish pork dish, made with Achiote (also known as Annatto seed) that takes a day to prepare.

At the on demand world of Boca Grande, it takes only minutes.

I think it's more traditional to serve Cochinita Pibil as a dish with rice, beans, and tortillas on the side instead of in an enchilada. No matter, the enchiladas were great, and no more fatty than the carnitas. Definitely worth a try.

Boca, after testing out 2 new menu items, you are batting 1000. Good work.

This Boca Grande Taqueria meal was rated: 7.7.

Friday, May 26, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for Cochinita Pibil Enchiladas

Crunch Time

Fellow burrito addicts, this is one of the few times you will see me use the word "crunch" not referring to tortilla chips or the crunchwrap supreme. Instead, I am referring to the mere days I have left to raise enough money to qualify for the AIDS/Lifecycle Event, the 585 mile bicycle ride in which I'm participating to benefit people living with AIDS.

I still have a lot of money I need to raise before the June 2nd deadline. Please help me meet my fundraising goal. Let's bind together as the burrito-loving community and do our part to end the AIDS virus. Details and the donation form are a here.

I would like to give a huge thanks to those burrito fans who have already donated:

"Big" Mike Schwimmer
Cathy Hsu
Nick Lindauer of Hot Sauce Blog
David Szabo
Mary Mazzocco of
Dov Sharon

This entry is filed in {News}.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006 by Phil. Permalink for Crunch Time

La Taqueria Neon Claims Global Crown

Neon signs have failed me more than once in the past. La Taqueria's sign boasts, "The Best Tacos & Burritos In The Whole World."

Some things are a matter of taste, but after a year of traveling the world, I hesitate to call the sign a liar.

This entry is filed in La Taqueria.

Sunday, May 21, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for La Taqueria Neon Claims Global Crown

Stick A Toothpick In Me, I'm Done

My first Zapata Taqueria experience was a bad one. Three fatal mistakes were made in the production of my super carne asada burrito, two before I even took a bite.

1. The tortilla was grilled, not steamed. This offense can sometimes be overlooked in the case of an especially good burrito in which this is the only flaw. However, in this case the offense was magnified by the other two.

2. Indecent tortilla exposure. There was no wrapper on the burrito of any kind, aluminum foil, paper, or otherwise. As you can see from the picture, this made it very difficult to eat, as the bottom continually threatened to give out without constant attention. This added more stress to my burrito-eating experience than necessary.

3. Lettuce was included in the burrito, but did not appear on the list of super burrito ingredients. I would use the menu itself as proof of this offense; however Zapata has prohibited publishing of the menu without permission. I would certainly have ordered my burrito sin lechuga had I known.

Finally, my burrito was served with a toothpick stuck in it like a sandwich at a deli. I don't understand the point of it, and frankly, it left me confused and angry. The taste of the burrito was only average.

This Taqueria Zapata meal was rated: 4.5.

Friday, May 19, 2006 by Phil. Permalink for Stick A Toothpick In Me, I'm Done

Welcome To Zapata Taqueria

From lovely San Francisco, Phil.

Zapata Taqueria is located in San Francisco's well-known Castro district. I had been curious about it for months, since my bus to work went right by it every day. It's also next to the Post Office from which I mail your I Heart Burrito shirts.

Another thing that made me curious is whether or not it had any connection to Taqueria El Toro. I wondered this because all the employees inside wore matching blue uniforms, just like the employees of Taqueria El Toro.

Closer inspection was clearly warranted.

Unfortunately, I will not be showing you, dear readers, a picture of the menu at Taqueria Zapata, having noticed the following warning at the bottom of the menu:

Copyright 2006. This menu is property of Zapata Taqueria. It may not be reproduced or used in part, or in whole, without the express written permission from Zapata Taqueria.
Burrito Blog chooses to stay free of legal entanglements concerning copyright infringement laws because they don't serve burritos in prison.

This entry is filed in Taqueria Zapata.

Friday, May 19, 2006 by Phil. Permalink for Welcome To Zapata Taqueria | Comments (4)

Speedy Gonzalez Can't Eat This Fast

This, a burrito speed eating contest from Cinco de Mayo at Hardee's Red Burrito, impresses even the most seasoned burrito eaters.

Thanks to Larry (a.k.a. Puzz) for the tip.

In preparation for a head to head Burrito Blog speed eating contest, I suggest Phil and DJ Turbz learn from this example.

This entry is filed in {News}.

Thursday, May 18, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for Speedy Gonzalez Can't Eat This Fast

Phil's Chorizo Home Game

When we got food in college, we had two types of meals: home games (meals taken to go back to our house), and away games (meals eaten at the restaurant). This El Buen Sabor meal is an example of the former, illustrated by the brown paper bag containing one super chorizo burrito atop my kitchen table.

I hadn't yet had a chorizo burrito, though it's a very common meat choice here in San Francisco, and that was enough to pique my interest. For a remarkably comprehensive definition of chorizo, check Wikipedia. For the more concise version, Mexican chorizo is ground pork sausage with chili and other spices added.

The chorizo in question is distinguished by its red color.

The result? Unique and delicious. If you like sausage, you'll love it. If you don't like sausage, you might still like it since the other ingredients, especially the sour cream, temper the sausage's potent flavor, though it remains very much recognizable.

This El Buen Sabor meal was rated: 7.0.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 by Phil. Permalink for Phil's Chorizo Home Game

Welcome To El Buen Sabor

Reporting from San Francisco, Phil.

With no need for gimmicks or wasted words, Taqueria El Buen Sabor directly translated into English means, "Taqueria The Good Flavor." A bold statement for a taqueria that had not been visited by any of the people I asked when I moved to San Francisco.

It's located on 18th and Valencia, a relatively high foot traffic area, and it has the word "Taqueria" prominently displayed on the outside in multiple locations. It's only drawback is it's somewhat conservative and humble presence.

Well, no taqueria located a mere block and a half from my new apartment would go unvisited.

My affair with El Buen Sabor began when I first moved in and had no food in my new apartment. For the first week or two I made El Buen Sabor my breakfast place pretty much every day. They were open early enough, and they served a mean Huevos Rancheros (review to follow).

What I found when I began to dabble into the less breakfast-oriented items on the menu there, is that Taqueria El Buen Sabor was unjustly overlooked, and grossly underrated by the surrounding burrito community.

This entry is filed in El Buen Sabor.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 by Phil. Permalink for Welcome To El Buen Sabor

Burrito Triple Play From Big Mike

Whenever I travel food is usually my main concern. Whenever Mitch and I travel together we pretty much revolve our days around eating. We were in town to visit Justin who left the east coast for better burritos and a furniture-less apartment in Chicago a few months earlier.

Being from the NY area, the calm of the Midwest usually does not excite me but after Jonah's experience at Angela’s and Justin issuing the La Bamba's, "Burritos as big as your head" challenge, I was excited for the good times and good food. After a night of drinking Friday I decided to try Flash Taco, the local burrito hot spot in Wicker Park.

I got my usual: Chicken Burrito, no tomatoes. I could not have been more pleased (Burrito #1).

Sunday we planned on eating breakfast, then heading over to La Bamba for their famously large burritos before my flight back to Newark. A 20 minute wait to be seated at a local breakfast joint was all the motivation I needed to try a breakfast burrito at Flash Taco instead.

This time I invented my own burrito-Chicken Burrito with eggs, hot sauce, no tomatoes (Burrito #2). It was so good we hung around Wicker Park a little longer so I could get one more burrito (to go, Burrito #3) on my way to the airport.

I called in my order to go so I could pick up the burrito on the run to O'Hare.

Flash Taco knew it was me calling when they heard the request for no tomatoes and eggs on a chicken burrito.

Do yourself a favor if you find yourself in Wicker Park. Get the Big Mike Burrito Special: chicken burrito with eggs, hot sauce, no tomatoes. You won't be disappointed.

Reporting from Chicago, Big Mike.

This Flash Taco meal was rated: 8.0.

Sunday, May 14, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for Burrito Triple Play From Big Mike

Welcome To Flash Taco

Flash Taco opened its doors in Wicker Park (Map) in 1998. The store serves Mexican food upstairs and "Underdog" hot dogs in the basement.

Burritos are a late night food of choice in the city of Chicago and Flash Taco is always packed with hungry gringos after the Wicker Park bars close.

Some of the awards Flash Taco has won include "Best Burrito" (Chicago Magazine, June 2000) and "Best Late Night Munchies" (Red Eye-Metromix 2005).

You can check out the menu on the official site here.

This entry is filed in Flash Taco.

Sunday, May 14, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for Welcome To Flash Taco | Comments (3)

Hot Sauce Sampling

California Tortilla has tons of hot sauces available for sampling. I chose three. See Dick Burn was a little too red for my taste. I like the green sauces. Between the Hot 'N Horny and Mad Dog's Green Amigo, I liked the Mad Dog hot sauce a little more.

As always when mentioning the sauce, I must acknowledge the friends and expert hot sauce analysts at Hot Sauce Blog.

The many varieties of sauce are probably the best reason to return to California Tortilla.

This entry is filed in California Tortilla.

Saturday, May 13, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for Hot Sauce Sampling

No Meals Served On Flight To LA

In preparation to return to Los Angeles, I packed a suitcase, forgetting my flip flops, pjs, and soap. No worries. I'll go barefoot, sleep in boxers, and buy a bar.

I did not forget that airplane food sucks or has been reduced to chips and pretzels. Either way, I appropriately packed my stomach with a grande chicken ranchero with guacamole at Boca Grande before takeoff.

While at Boca, I ran into Kevin and Livia. Hi, what a nice surprise!

Logan to LAX is six hours. As a courtesy to fellow passengers, I skipped the beans and cheese.

This Boca Grande Taqueria meal was rated: 7.3.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for No Meals Served On Flight To LA

Best Salsa Verde In Town

Listed on the menu as "Castilla de Puerco," this dish for $5.50 blew me away. Without a doubt, this was the best salsa verde I've ever had.

I've got a theory - it also had the highest oil content of any salsa verde I've ever had. Conclusion: there may be a positive correlation between salsa verde flavor and ounces of oil in preparation.

Unpictured are the three corn tortillas that came with the meal.

This Pili's Tacos meal was rated: 8.3.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for Best Salsa Verde In Town

Cinco De Mayo Recap

An historic day, many people celebrate different events.

Multiple choice. Please select from the following choices:

  1. Mexican Day of Independence (though false)
  2. Commemorates victory of Mexican forces over the French
  3. American drinking day sponsored by Cuervo and Corona
  4. Date of highest avocado sales in the US - source
  5. My Birthday - source
Whatever you chose to celebrate, I hope the burritos were delicious and plentiful.

This entry is filed in {News}.

Sunday, May 07, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for Cinco De Mayo Recap

585 Miles for a Burrito And A Cure

Burrito Analyst rides a bicycle from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise money to fight AIDS.

I'm sure most of us realize how serious and widespread this HIV/AIDS epidemic has become. To that end, I, Phil Jonas, Northern California Burrito Analyst, am taking part in the annual AIDS/Lifecycle event on June 4-10. The event is a 7 day, 585 mile bicycle ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles. To qualify for the event, I have to raise a significant amount of money, the proceeds from which are used to benefit the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.

This is hopefully where you come in. Burrito Blog faithful, I need your help.

Please make a donation and help Burrito Blog raise money to fight AIDS. It doesn't have to be a large donation, whatever you can do to help would be greatly appreciated. Let’s see the burrito community band together to make this happen.

As a special thanks to you readers, I will eat a burrito in your honor upon arrival in Los Angeles, and blog about that meal.

Thank you for your support.

This entry is filed in {News}.

Thursday, May 04, 2006 by Phil. Permalink for 585 Miles for a Burrito And A Cure

America Needs Burritos

My heart skipped a beat. What would a life without burritos be like? What would you eat everyday?

Is America prepared to give up the beloved tortilla lunch and go back to burgers?

Of course not.

Imagine a world without burritos. Putting aside my own personal plight, consider how burritos are good for America.

  • Burritos increase worker productivity.
    • Establishments often have long lines and limited seating. When lunch is ordered to go, workers return to work more quickly. So says my old boss.
    • The speed at which burrito creators operate inspires me to work harder, faster.
  • Burritos are good for the public health.
    • Most burritos are grilled or steamed, not fried.
    • Carbs in the rice and tortillas give you energy. See also: worker productivity.
    • Protein in the chicken / steak / carnitas is good for your muscles.
    • Salsa is a serving of fruits or vegetables. (Allegedly corn tortillas are not a serving of vegetables. I have checked with a dietitian.)
    • Without sour cream or enchilado style serving, burritos can be heart healthy.
  • Burritos are economical food for the masses.
    • With an average price under $5.00, burritos are affordable for almost everyone.
    • Like the unfulfilled promise for a study on Guacamole pricing, Burrito Blog will conduct a frequency distribution on burrito pricing...when we get around to it.
I need burritos. You need burritos. America needs burritos.

This entry is filed in {News}.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for America Needs Burritos

Pancho's vs. Panchero's

In light of my recent review of Panchero's and now the similar sounding Pancho's, I feel it may be helpful to review Pancho's using a compare and contrast method.

Pancho's differs from Panchero's in 3 principle ways.

  • Panchero's has more letters than Pancho's, specifically an "e" and an "r."
  • Panchero's always asks if you would like black beans or pinto beans. Pancho's never asks and simply gives you refried. In fact I didn't know they had anything else until my third visit when I noticed on the menu where it says, "Whole pinto or black beans upon request" in what I consider to be a less than obvious location. Let me be clear that I hate refried beans in my burritos.
  • Panchero's is pretty darn good. Pancho's sucks. It's hard to exactly put my finger on why, but I think the burritos at Pancho's are bland and mealy.
The picture illustrates the last quarter of my last burrito at Pancho's which was pretty much all tortilla and rice.

In short, if I worked across the street from a taqueria for 3 months and went only 3 times, it can't be good.

Reporting from San Francisco, Phil.

This Pancho's Mexican Grill meal was rated: 4.0.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006 by Phil. Permalink for Pancho's vs. Panchero's

Welcome To Pancho's Mexican Grill

Reporting from San Franchisco: Phil.

My life revolves around food.

When I moved to San Francisco and got a job, one of my first thoughts was, "What am I going to eat for lunch every day?" In Miami I wasn't lucky enough not to have a taqueria nearby. However, I did have a Boston Market right next to my work. Say what you will about Boston Market, I was addicted.

But now I was in San Francisco. I eagerly awaited my first trip to work to find out what restaurants were in the area.

Standing in front of work, my jaw dropped. Across the street, (Map) literally, was a taqueria. "Pancho's Mexican Grill" it was called.

Could this what I was hoping for?

You can view the menu for Pancho's here.

This entry is filed in Pancho's Mexican Grill.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006 by Phil. Permalink for Welcome To Pancho's Mexican Grill | Comments (1)

Taquerias Nationwide Close In Protest

As feared, burrito lovers across the country are faced with fewer options while taquerias close in protest for the Immigration Reform March.

Today, I found myself tortilla deprived as I arrived at Romano's. Rich emailed me to say Boca Grande was closed, too.

After calling some of the more reputable Boston area taquerias (Boca, Anna's, Romano's, Tacos Lupita, and Taqueria Cancun) only Anna's was open for business.

One should note that Anna's has had labor disputes with employees in the past, though it is unknown why they chose to remain open.

Politics aside, the tortilla consuming community felt the pinch of today's strike.

This entry is filed in {News}.

Monday, May 01, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for Taquerias Nationwide Close In Protest

The S Train Stops At The Purple Cactus

It's the S Train, folks! Boston socialite Sheb Shumar has been walking a fine line. For many years, despite his constant presence and good name on the streets of Boston, he remained unknown on the information superhighway.

Burrito Blog brings an end to his Internet anonymity.

Sheb enjoys a super chicken burrito with just the basics: chicken, rice, and a touch of sour cream.

This entry is filed in Purple Cactus.

Monday, May 01, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for The S Train Stops At The Purple Cactus