By Samantha Spoto
Fatty Daddy’s. Photos by Samantha Spoto.
I somehow managed to find room in my stomach for another 11 burritos this month, and I consumed four of them in four consecutive days. The first of the four-day burrito binge began at El Coco. Upon entering this new spot in Chelsea, I found myself greeted by a vibrant wall of Jarritos soda–the perfect drink to pair with a Mexican meal. I ordered the Vegetarian Burrito, a tortilla stuffed with rice, beans, guacamole, sauteed onions and peppers, Jack and cheddar cheese, and sour cream.
I found myself enticed by the veggie ‘rito because it was the only one of seven different options that included guacamole in the listed price. (All of El Coco’s burritos are priced under nine dollars, so I wouldn’t be opposed to anteing up an additional charge for some guac in the future.) My two coworkers and burrito compadres ordered the Mole Burrito, a tortilla filled with rice, grilled chicken, Jack and cheddar cheese, sour cream, and a traditional mole sauce. If you enjoy chocolate, this option is for you. El Coco’s Mole Burrito left my friends content and thinking “Holy Mole, now that’s a burrito!” I enjoyed El Coco immensely, so much so that I returned for a second ‘rito the next evening.
Tito Santana Taqueria.
I ate the third burrito at Tito Santana Taqueria in Beacon, New York. In previous installments of Guac Is Extra, I made a bold claim: cutting a burrito in half and charging extra for guac are punishable crimes. With that being said, my next sentence will seem entirely hypocritical. I ate a severed burrito and paid extra for guacamole, but it is the best burrito I have eaten to date.
I ordered the Strawberry Chipotle Pulled-Pork Burrito, which featured all of the ordinary burrito fixings on top of the delectable strawberry glaze that marinated the pork. In addition to the fruity flavor found inside the burrito, Tito’s added a strawberry creme on the side for dipping purposes. You can count on the fact that I will be back to this burrito spot in Beacon, a must-stop shop in Flavortown, USA.
The last burrito on the four-day burrito binge circuit came from the B-Side Grill in New Paltz, NY. A fairly new eatery on the main street of a college town, B-Side Grill offers burritos for the brunch enthusiasts. They only have two “Breakfast Burrito” options–the B-Side Burrito and the Veggie Burrito–but they earned their place under a section all their own. At this diner-esque joint, I decided on the Veggie Burrito. Stuffed with home fries, scrambled eggs, peppers, onions, spinach, avocado, and Pepper Jack cheese and then topped with sour cream and salsa, each bite of this burrito left me wondering why I haven’t eaten more brunch versions of my favorite food.
After this four-day period, I decided to leave my home state of New York to taste what others had to offer in the burrito world. After a bit of intensive research, my sister and I managed to find Tortacos in the nearly burrito-less state of Maryland. FiveThirtyEight published a Burrito Bracket, in which award-winning journalist Anna Maria Barry-Jester compiled a concise list of the best burrito places in the nation. Tortacos landed a sacred spot in the Top 64.
My sister and I decided to taste their food to determine for ourselves where on my elusive scale their burrito would fit. I speak for both of us when I say that Tortacos is worthy of the praise it has garnered. We both ordered the Carnitas Burrito, equipped with rice, beans, pulled pork, corn salsa, cheese, sour cream, and guacamole (an additional $1.25). Tortacos also offers a complimentary condiments bar, which includes various salsas and spices.
On top of the pleasant flavors, the burrito from Tortacos is one of the biggest I have had. It pains me to say, but there were a few bites left casualty to the garbage disposal by the time I had my go at it. I may have left Maryland a bit frustrated by the slim burrito pickings, but I’m certainly glad that of the few places to exist in the state, Tortacos has their game on lock.
Not every burrito I eat is worthy of such praise. Back in New York, I found myself disappointed by one place in particular. If I have learned anything on my quest for burritos it is: don’t trust a Mexican restaurant with ketchup on the tables in place of hot sauce; don’t trust a Mexican restaurant that offers an entire menu of traditional cuisine save for one section labeled “The Italian Corner;” don’t trust a Mexican restaurant with “charter” cheese instead of cheddar.
The three aforementioned red flags should have left me headed back through the door of La Esquina Taqueria before I made it to my seat. But on a cold, rainy evening after work in New York City, my willpower waned and I could not muster the strength to turn and never look back.
I ordered the Chicken Burrito, which arrived at my table in a smaller-than-ideal tortilla with cheese, onions, and peppers. The rice and beans I usually find inside my burrito were offered to me as side dishes. To add fuel to the fire raging inside of me, the La Esquina staff wrapped the burrito in such a poor fashion that I ate the entire meal with a fork and knife. I left the restaurant with an intense feeling of loss, like I hadn’t even eaten a burrito at all.
As the month draws to a close and I near the midway mark of this challenge, I have a total of 35 burritos under my belt. Aside from the burritos I have written about in great detail, I also ate at Fatty Daddy Taco, Tres Carnes, L.A. Burrito, Shaka Burrito, and Blockheads. In the coming months of my journey, you will find me around new tables with old friends as we raise our burritos in celebration of what the future holds for Guac Is Extra.