The Burrito Blog

July 2006

Green Minds Think Alike

Recently my colleague, Jonah Feld, published an entry about the best Chile Verde in Santa Monica. At the same time that this story went up, I was drafting a similar article for my own home jurisdiction of San Francisco. While Pili's Tacos received that distinction in Santa Monica, Taqueria El Buen Sabor receives the honor here in San Francisco. I will provide two caveats to the granting of this honor:

First, I recognize that there is a great deal of Chile Verde in San Francisco that I have not yet tried. However, I was very impressed with the moistness of the meat, and the flavor of the marinade. Unique points were also awarded for some other objects found in the mix, which I assume are peppers and onions. Should I encounter a better Chile Verde, I'll let you know.

Second, I realize that some people may suspect a conflict of interest with my giving El Buen Sabor such a favorable review since they were my sole corporate sponsor in the recent AIDS/Lifecycle fundraiser. I assure you that my integrity and honor as a Burrito Analyst are of the utmost importance and are not subject to compromise.

See also: Green but not quite verde and green like the forest canopy.

This El Buen Sabor meal was rated: 8.5.

Saturday, July 29, 2006 by Phil. Permalink for Green Minds Think Alike

B Is For Burrito

We said it before. Here's the certificate from the County of Los Angeles on the window at Pili's. Please pardon the poor picture quality from digital zoom.

B is for burrito.

This entry is filed in Pili's Tacos.

Thursday, July 27, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for B Is For Burrito

The State Of Massachusetts' Tacos

Cathy is caught in mid hot sauce drip. After many complaints stemming from legitimate Bay Area based taco snobbery, she finally found satisfaction at Romano's in Roslindale, MA. Her high standards come from thorough taco testing. Note the mounds of cilantro.

I've got to agree with Cathy. Boston is a sleeper hit for burritos, but the average Boston taco leaves much to be desired. Exceptions like Romano's, Felipe's, and Taco Loco aren't exactly plentiful.

This Romano's Pizza meal was rated: 8.0.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for The State Of Massachusetts' Tacos

Pili's Goes High Class: Tablecloths

Early fans of Santa Monica's Pili's Tacos, John and I always felt that the collection of lawn furniture, folding chairs, and yard sale style tables were giving passers by a poor impression.

We didn't care. We go for the food. But in a town obsessed with looks, we were afraid their business might unjustly suffer.

No more. Pili's got tablecloths and ditched the lawn furniture.

Bravo. We wish you success.

This entry is filed in Pili's Tacos.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for Pili's Goes High Class: Tablecloths

Return To Benitos

See also: Machaca Revisited.

Back on Santa Monica Blvd I had to make a stop at Benitos (and Pili's). The carnitas burrito and machaca burrito never seemed to fail me at Benitos, though the rest of the menu is hit or miss. This being the morning, I went with the huevos filled machaca. Delicious.

This Benitos Taco Shop meal was rated: 7.7.

Sunday, July 23, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for Return To Benitos

Split Second Decision: Sanchez Burrito

We arrived at Tacos Por Favor. It was late morning. I was hungry.

As a first time patron, I like to browse the options, look around, and deliberate over my menu selection. Not this time. It jumped off the page and slapped me in the face:

Sanchez Burrito...$4.05
Scrambled egg with jalapeño, tomato, onion, cilantro, rice, and beans.

No regrets.

This Tacos Por Favor meal was rated: 8.5.

Friday, July 21, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for Split Second Decision: Sanchez Burrito

Welcome To Tacos Por Favor

Located on Olympic Blvd in Santa Monica (Map), Tacos Por Favor was a bit out of walking distance from where I lived.

Fortunately, John drove Kristin and I so we could taste what he'd been talking about. Tacos Por Favor was a lunch destination of Interscope employees, and John put them on the Burrito Blog map.

The place is pretty big and has plenty of seating. You order at the counter, and then they call your order / name a few minutes later when it's ready. A salsa bar is provided.

Located next to a small, outdoor skate park, I recommend you get your Tacos Por Favor order to go and prepare to be dazzled by some Tony Hawk inspired 12 year olds.

Click on the menu for full size.

This entry is filed in Tacos Por Favor.

Friday, July 21, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for Welcome To Tacos Por Favor

You Better Skip Lunch, Huevos Rancheros

This is the biggest plate of huevos rancheros I have ever seen. Phil had been telling me about its legendary size for some time, but I don't think I was prepared for this.

There was a bit too much cheese for my liking - I forgot to ask for my beans to be served without queso. My fault. I should have spoke up.

While this plate of huevos rancheros was not the best I've ever had, it certainly tops the results of the Huevos Rancheros Mission in Boston.

And then I skipped lunch.

This El Buen Sabor meal was rated: 6.2.

Thursday, July 20, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for You Better Skip Lunch, Huevos Rancheros

Macho Plate: "Not For A Woman"

I met up with Mike, friend and fellow food blogger of The Food Monkey, for his first meal at El Burrito Taqueria / Burritos On Fire.

This being my first time back in a while, the menu had changed: Macho Plate. "What's that?" I asked the man behind the counter.

The response revealed his machismo:

It's big. Three meats, chicken, carnitas, steak. Sour cream, guacamole. Not for a woman.

Mike and I decided to split the Macho Plate and a quesadilla (at left), which might lead you to believe that we doubt our own manliness. We do not.

Sized and priced as a dinner, the Macho Plate will put hair on your chest.

This El Burrito meal was rated: 7.0.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for Macho Plate: "Not For A Woman"

Burritos On Fire, No Plantains

Following the great burrito fire of 2005, El Burrito Taqueria has a new sign: Burritos On Fire.

It is unclear if the name has changed; the old tarp remains.

Also, the delicious plantains they once offered have been removed from the menu. Boo.

This entry is filed in El Burrito.

Sunday, July 16, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for Burritos On Fire, No Plantains

Grace Potter, Human Resources

Some have been asking what I'm up to, running from coast to coast. Does Burrito Blog fund my lavish lifestyle of leisure? No.

John and I have been spreading the work of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. Just push play below, be patient, and be prepared to be amazed. Listen to the whole thing.

If you read this far without pushing play, now is your chance to correct your mistakes. Go back and do it.

On this quest, we have had help from Internet marketing superheroes Grace Rochford and Jenna Simon.

To show our extreme gratitude, John and I felt it only appropriate to shower them with beans and rice. We all met up at Anna's Taqueria in Porter Square to celebrate their hard work.

These two will no doubt go far. Loyal readers may remember that John and I rock at human resources.

Grace and Jenna are no exception.

This entry is filed in Anna's Taqueria.

Thursday, July 13, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for Grace Potter, Human Resources

Marine Life And Chipotle

This might be my favorite meal at Chipotle, ever.

Was it the moist chicken? Was it the cilantro lime rice? Was it the enormity or the tight wrap?


This burrito was eaten following an excellent visit to the Baltimore Aquarium with Emily. The frog exhibit, dolphin show, and multitude of turtles made this burrito great.

Chipotle sits right across the way, basking in the glow of the Inner Harbor's marine life museum.

PS: I still hate the cilantro lime rice.

This Chipotle meal was rated: 7.8.

Thursday, July 13, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for Marine Life And Chipotle

We're Watching You, Rainbow

Before I left for the AIDS ride, I vowed that when I reached Los Angeles I would have a burrito for all my burrito brethren who supported my ride.

There were two things I hadn't counted on. First, the extremely short duration of time spent in LA after the ride. Second, the complete lack of interest of the rest of my team in finding a taqueria.

Instead, they insisted on a loud, overpriced, disgusting dive called the Rainbow Bar & Grill, which featured a man dressed like Gene Simmons and an entire group of ten guys all dressed like Poison.

Still, I remained true to the mission and ordered an "Apple Burrito" from the dessert menu. But this Apple Burrito was no burrito. Rather, it was apple pie filling wrapped in a piece of pie crust, made to look like a burrito. And that would have been ok, except that it was horrible.

Rainbow Bar & Grill has besmirched the name of the burrito for their own selfish purpose of selling substandard food. We're watching you, Rainbow.

Below is the final list of the Burrito Blog faithful who donated to support the fight against AIDS:

Megan James
Louis Haywood
Dov Sharon
Taqueria El Buen Sabor
Mary Mazzocco
Nick Lindauer
Cathy Hsu
Nathan Slavik
David Szabo
"Big" Mike Schwimmer
Jonah Feld

This entry is filed in {Other}.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 by Phil. Permalink for We're Watching You, Rainbow

MSNBC Snubs Burrito Blog

Cinco de Mayo is a day well known; it is a major Mexican holiday and the highest seasonal sales for avocados in the United States.

It is also my birthday.

Enter MSNBC, major cable news network, employer of news legend Keith Olbermann and producer of the best reality show ever, To Catch A Predator.

On Cinco de Mayo, MSNBC decided to feature Burrito Blog, bringing joy and amusement to their viewers and my mother.

That joy was cut short in the studio, mere moments before airing, when a Mr. Patrick Kennedy announced he would seek substance abuse treatment. This is breaking news? Burrito Blog was bumped from the Cinco de Mayo broadcast.

It's ok, MSNBC, you are still my favorite. My mom hates you though.

This entry is filed in {Press}.

Monday, July 10, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for MSNBC Snubs Burrito Blog

Boca Exposé: Beef Birria

Following the glory of Boca Grande's Cochinita Pibil and Tomatillo Chicken Tamale, the Beef Birria burrito was the next item on the laboratoy table plate.

On the way to the office to go over a 75 page paper that about 0-1 persons will ever read, I stopped and got the a grande burrito with no beans and extra hot sauce. And beef birria.

According to Wikipedia, the only site better than Burrito Blog, birria is:

A spicy meat stew usually made from lamb or goat. Originated in Jalisco. Makes great tacos, usually served with guajillow chilis and an onion cilantro salsa.
Boca Grande doesn't have lamb or goat, so their birria is made with beef.

The birria was delicious, though not nearly as spectacular as lamb birria I had in Los Angeles at Don Antonio's.

The only thing keeping down the rating is the post consumption blues, which were technically not blue, and rather violent. It is unclear if the explosive aftermath was caused by the beer birria, the extra hot sauce, or a third, unknown factor.

This Boca Grande Taqueria meal was rated: 4.4.

Sunday, July 09, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for Boca Exposé: Beef Birria

A Tale Of Two Tacos

During my first meal at La Taqueria, with Jessie, we received a bite of advice from a fanatical patron next to us in the family style seating.

The advice: try the tacos. Lines flow out the door on a regular basis, and she estimated that more than half of the orders placed are for tacos. Determined to spread the taco love, she insisted I take a photo to share with the world.

Left: chicken. Right: carne asada with guacamole.

This entry is filed in La Taqueria.

Thursday, July 06, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for A Tale Of Two Tacos

Guacamole Is Extra, Sustainable Agriculture

While we missed the bus on this announcement, it is our duty to report on the commendable actions of Chipotle on June 28th of 2006. On that day, all guacamole sales (capped at $50,000) were donated to The Land Institute, whose purpose is

to develop an agricultural system with the ecological stability of the prairie and a grain yield comparable to that from annual crops. We have researched, published in refereed scientific journals, given hundreds of public presentations here and abroad, and hosted countless intellectuals and scientists. Our work is frequently cited, most recently in Science and Nature, the most prestigious scientific journals. We are now assembling a team of advisors which includes members of the National Academy of Sciences. These scientists understand our work and stand ready to endorse the feasibility of what we have come to call Natural Systems Agriculture.
We of course dig all things sustainable, and applaud Chipotle's gesture. With guacamole prices well over $1.00, that's a lot of profit they donated to a good cause.

This entry is filed in Chipotle.

Monday, July 03, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for Guacamole Is Extra, Sustainable Agriculture

Your Mission: Huevos Rancheros

Location: Boston area

Mission: Eat huevos rancheros

Time: Morning

Briefing: The quest for huevos rancheros in and around Boston is both challenging and rewarding. Spoils of victory cannot be compared. Tacos El Charro in JP has some excellent huevos rancheros, but they don't open until 11. Other local taquerias that offer plated meals usually do not open early enough, or do not stock huevos (see also: huevos blancos).

Mission Recap: I saw on the door that The Purple Cactus both has huevos ranchers, and opens at 9 am. All seemed too easy. Upon exploration, only the doors and smoothie machine open at 9. The kitchen opens at 10. And huevos rancheros is available only on the weekend. And it's in a tortilla, not on a plate. And there are no refried beans.

Mission Status: Failure.

This Purple Cactus meal was rated: 4.9.

Monday, July 03, 2006 by Jonah. Permalink for Your Mission: Huevos Rancheros