By Samantha Spoto
As each month of this challenge passes, I try my best to broaden the map of restaurants where I acquire my burritos. With that being said, I started the month with a familiar friend: the Idaho Burrito from Bubba’s Burrito Bar.
The Idaho is a tortilla filled with potatoes, melted jack cheese, sour cream, and scallions. Although most burritos are filled with rice and beans, I very much enjoy the potato substitute. I added chicken and guacamole to the Idaho for a complete meal. I usually opt for the kid-size burrito from Bubba’s, but on this night I felt particularly hungry and ordered the larger option. Although I struggled through the last few bites, I think I have started to move away from the children’s menu. I have also begun to consider Bubba’s as the number one contender for my favorite burritos.
Tasco Escobarr. Photos by Samantha Spoto.
Soon after my visit to Bubba’s, I ventured out of state and up north for my next three burritos. I spent a week in Portland, Maine, and I knew I couldn’t leave without scoping out their burrito scene. I must admit, I found a few pleasant surprises. I ordered the first two burritos from Taco Escobarr, a welcoming Mexican restaurant on Portland’s Congress Street. The entire ceiling is covered in chili pepper string lights–the first and only sign I needed to let me know that I was in the right place.
I felt daring on my first trip to Taco Escobarr. I was in a new city and felt like I should try a burrito with a filling that I had never tasted before. I ordered the Lengua Burrito: slow-braised cow tongue with rice, pinto beans, roasted corn salsa, cabbage, pico de gallo, crema, queso fresco, and guacamole.
To be honest, I didn’t love the texture of the cow tongue. It felt a bit grainy and was not as tender as the waiter had described it to be. However, all of the other ingredients worked well to make this an enjoyable eating experience for me. So much so that I returned to Taco Escobarr a few nights later for round two.
The next burrito was delicious in every way. Since Portland is well known for their seafood, I ordered the Shrimp Burrito. This flour tortilla was filled with many of the same ingredients as the Lengua Burrito, like the rice and beans, pico de gallo, and guacamole. However, this burrito also featured pickled onions and chipotle crema. The grilled shrimp was marinated in jalapenos, cilantro, and lime juice, which made this burrito exceptionally flavorful.
Local Sprouts Cooperative.
Before I left Portland, I made sure to eat one more burrito. I went to Local Sprouts Cooperative, a cafe with locally sourced and organic food. I ordered the only burrito on the menu: Tim’s World Famous Burrito. This item came equipped with scrambled eggs, Cabot cheddar, home fries, salsa, aioli, onion, and Chad’s Obsession hot sauce.
Aside from the hot sauce being a bit too spicy for my liking, every other ingredient seemed to meld perfectly together for a rather enjoyable breakfast burrito. If anything, I enjoyed the atmosphere best at Local Sprouts Cooperative, which made me feel immersed in Portland’s inviting community.
When I returned from Maine, I decided to try a few new Mexican restaurants in Manhattan. First, I went to the South Street Seaport for a burrito from El Luchador.
Of all the places at which I have eaten in the last few months, El Luchador seems to capture the authentic taqueria vibe best. Although small, their dining area is extremely exciting. I ate my meal in an Airstream trailer that has been converted into a playful dining space. I ordered the Pollo Asado Burrito, which came with grilled adobo chicken, cilantro lime rice, black beans, pico de gallo, Monterey Jack cheese, and Mexican crema. Overall, I had a wonderful experience at El Luchador and appreciated their flavor for fun.
I have saved the most interesting of burritos for last. Part of me has trouble considering this a burrito, but it is worth mentioning. Last week New York City saw its first ever sushi burrito. I waited in line at Uma Temakeria to taste this burrito on its opening day. The only option for the sushi burrito came with Yellowfin tuna, Atlantic salmon, carrots, cucumbers, tempura flakes, sesame seeds, and tobanjan mayo.
This burrito is simply a glorified hand roll. It tasted delicious and, as far as sushi goes, I was not in the least disappointed. However, throwing burrito onto the end of a menu item’s name does not necessarily mean it should be considered a burrito. With that being said, throwing burrito onto the end of a menu item’s name will definitely lead me to wherever it may be. This isn’t a burrito in the traditional sense, and traditional is exactly how I like my burritos to be.
Aside from the burritos I have mentioned, I returned to a few spots: Mexicue for two more burritos, Tito Santana Taqueria, and Chipotle. I also ordered two breakfast burritos from a nearby market in Chelsea and dined at the Newburgh Brewing Company.
Here’s hoping my stomach sees some more delicious burritos in July.
Burrito Count: 61