Friday, March 13, 2009

The Burrito

Frankly, I'm somewhat surprised it has taken me this long to mention the burrito.  This is such a staple for myself and so many Californians that it falls very closely behind water and shelter in a list of life's major needs.  It's difficult to explain this vaulted status to those who have not had a reasonably decent burrito before, and this does not particularly surprise me.  I do realize that most people have been introduced to the burrito by Taco Bell.  This is a crime that should be tried in a high profile international court.  

For those who have not had a great burrito and want to know how to find one, I've assembled this simple rating system that you can review to judge the burrito establishment:

1 point for looking like this:
Notice the foil, no box, no paper, no plastic.  It must be foil.

1 point if the restaurant separates the meat choices from the other options, for instance, you want a burrito, here are your choices:  Pollo Borracho, Carne Asada, Carnitas, etc. 

1 point if you walk down the line saying what you want in the burrito as they're making it.

1 point if they have a salsa bar with 3 or more options (salsa must be in containers that can be spooned onto a plate or into a cup, not in packages)

1 point if the salsa is labeled by what is in it such as "Roasted Tomatillo".  If the salsas are labeled "Mild, Medium, and Hot", then no points awarded.  Point still awarded if they list the description with the content and ALSO say mild, medium or hot.  

1 point if they warm the tortilla before putting anything in it.

1 point if they make their own tortillas.

1 point if the burrito can stand up on its end.

1 point if there is a Spanish word in the name of the establishment (taco or burrito don't count, it must be one you don't know).

1 point if the name also includes either "el" or "la" at the beginning of the name.

1 point if the restaurant sells as least one soft drink with a name in Spanish, such as Jarritos.  

A perfect score of "11" does not guarantee that you will have a great burrito experience, but it definitely increases the chances.  In fact, some of my favorites score in the 8-9 range.  You may notice that Taco Bell scores a 0.  This is not a coincidence.  

How to eat a burrito:

When you get your burrito do not, I repeat, do NOT unwrap it.  This is key to the process of eating the burrito.  
  • Untuck the foil from one end of the burrito.
  • About two inches down the side of the burrito, tear the edge of the foil.  
  • Proceed to tear around the burrito until you have met the point at which you started the tear.  In the process, it should look like this:
  • Eat the end of the burrito moving towards the edge of the foil.  
  • As you approach the edge of the foil, pause, enjoy the flavors, and tear a new ring from the foil.
  • Proceed to move down the burrito in this fashion.
When you have finished, you should have nothing but a nest of foil that should be balled up and discarded.  

Enjoy and don't forget to tip your burrito maker!

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