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"Eating and walking is a false economy, time-wise"
September 2, 2014 6:20 PM   Subscribe

How to eat: burritos
"It may be categorised as 'street food', but eating a burrito while walking is hazardous. We've all been there: you take a bite from one side of the burrito, which leaves a quivering 'lip' of rice-loaded tortilla on the other, and, like a slow-motion shot in the world's most boring action film, it falls to the ground or down your shirt, before you can whip your head down and around to snaffle it to safety. Then there is the issue of leakage from the bottom of a too-loosely-twisted foil wrap, and also the delicate procedure of prising that, by now sopping wet, last mouthful from the final cup of foil – itself now overflowing with juices – and transferring it to your mouth without any spillage. It's a task that requires focus and concentration. You walk with a burrito once, twice maybe, before you either a) get knocked-down on a busy road or b) realise – standing outside the pub trying to wipe meat juices off your trainers with an old tissue – that eating and walking is a false economy, time-wise.
"Even just standing to eat a burrito, is fraught with debris-danger, so, instead, take a seat. But, very specifically, take a seat in a fast-turnover burrito bar (one that serves burritos from a San Francisco Mission District-style assembly line), where you eat with your hands, unpeeling your burrito like a banana/Cornetto/packet of Polos, but crucially retaining its tinfoil wrapper until the last mouthful. Only a lunatic takes the whole burrito out to eat it, and only a very elderly aristocrat or someone with serious hygiene phobias would eat a burrito with a knife and fork. Even sitting down, burritos can get messy. Get involved or eat elsewhere.
Bonus link

How Britain is committing crimes against international cuisine (contains photo of Tesco lasagne sandwich)

Previously: Just how eggs-acting are you?
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (96 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Who the fuck needs to be told how to eat a burrito?
posted by The Hamms Bear at 6:24 PM on September 2 [3 favorites]


These are the ramblings of a burrito amateur.

I have walked and eaten burritos many times. Perhaps in my youth I spilled, dropped or dripped though I can't remember for sure. I do know that now I manage it effortlessly, as do many of my peers.
posted by wemayfreeze at 6:25 PM on September 2 [2 favorites]


I admit to driving while burrito-ing.
posted by uraniumwilly at 6:28 PM on September 2 [3 favorites]


A little background on The Guardian's How to Eat series: "How to Eat is our attempt to settle on the ideal form of classic dishes. The aim is not to establish rules, but to identify an informal code of good gastronomic conduct and have some fun while we're doing it."

You can see it's all in good fun, as in this post: How to eat crisps (potato chips). I find it less of an instruction, more of an exercise in food writing.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 6:30 PM on September 2 [5 favorites]


When I know I won't be in a position to save half for later, I have been known to slice a burrito longways down the middle and eat out the best bits with a fork. So there.
posted by small_ruminant at 6:34 PM on September 2 [3 favorites]


There may be a lot of reactance in this thread; I basically posted because I loved the writing. You can eat your burrito any way you want.

For instance, I carefully peel the foil from my burrito log, throw it on the laminated kitchen floor, admire the splat, scoop up with a spatula, and plop it in a bowl.

It's all good.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 6:38 PM on September 2


IT IS ADVISING AGAINST HOT SAUCE

NOT ACCEPTABLE. This is what happens when you let the British do food writing.
There's nothing like the heat that lingers on your tongue.
posted by lineofsight at 6:38 PM on September 2 [11 favorites]


What? No. These photos are of burritos that have been stripped of their protective aluminum foil coating. The foil not only keeps the delicious tortilla inside clean, it also serves as a safety binding, a pressure suit to contain the bursting delicious fillings inside. The article does at least talk about foil. Maybe the good people at The Guardian just couldn't afford a stock photo of a non-English burrito.
posted by Nelson at 6:40 PM on September 2 [4 favorites]


Cheese (preferably a strong mature cheddar, but not too much of it)

Mature cheddar in a burrito? I absolutely disagree.

Hot sauce or hot salsa on the side, of course; so you can judge for yourself if, how, when, and where it should be added.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 6:40 PM on September 2


"... around to snaffle it to safety" means what? As the proud owner of I've lost count of how many snaffle bits (D-ring, egg-butt, three-piece, copper, with rollers, rubber, etc. (no loose-ring or twisted!)) this use of "Snaffle" as a verb confuses me to no end.

Also, I can eat a burrito and walk. Pretty sure I've eaten a burrito while riding a bike, and while riding a horse and bring back the chili cheese burrito, Taco Bell!
posted by Lesser Shrew at 6:46 PM on September 2 [1 favorite]


In this context snaffling is a little like slurping or snuffling. You move in and suck up food hastily.
posted by squinty at 6:52 PM on September 2


> Who the fuck needs to be told how to eat a burrito?

People who have never eaten a burrito?

Taco Bell used to print instructions for how to eat tacos on their taco wrappers. Your knowing how to do something does not magically impart that knowledge onto others.
posted by ardgedee at 6:54 PM on September 2 [6 favorites]


Man, I had the idea for the "Lasagnwich" years ago, and was disappointed to find out that Tesco had absconded with the idea, and ruined it. The proper way to make a Lasagnwich is a heaping amount of lasagna in a loaf of garlic bread from the oven, like a giant lasagna hoagie.
posted by smcameron at 6:59 PM on September 2 [15 favorites]


In the comments there is some idiot explaining that burritos are only in northern Mexico. Is he talking about Sonora or someplace? Or is he an adherent to the reconquista movement/member of the Mexican Nationalist Front? Tricky. Tricky.

Because I bet there are as many burritos in the US as in any three states of Mexico, and really only the Mission style burritos count, anyway. Everything else is just a "wrap."*

Also, most of my neighbors seem to be from Michoacan, and although burritos are POSSIBLY not native to Michoacan (I'm skeptical), I have yet to see anyone turn up their nose at a good burrito.

*And I don't want to see any of those spinach tortillas either!
posted by small_ruminant at 7:01 PM on September 2


Getting upset over spilt rice is pretty funny. Goddamit! Now I only get to eat 7,900 bits of rice.
posted by srboisvert at 7:02 PM on September 2 [2 favorites]


Somewhat related.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 7:05 PM on September 2


Saying it's easy to eat Taco Bell burritos so nobody has trouble with other burritos is like saying you can drive a Corolla just fine so what's the deal with those whacky commercial drivers licenses they force truckers to get?
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:06 PM on September 2 [5 favorites]


Street tacos are street food. Any burrito worthy of the name is best eaten at a table with napkins and beer, slowly pealing the foil away after each couple of bites.
posted by doctor_negative at 7:08 PM on September 2


I remember an episode of Top Chef where competitors were instructed to make street food. The judges ended docking them points if they didn't make things that were easily edible on the run without leaking and spilling -- and I think they were right.

Burritos really OUGHT to be smaller and thin enough to very comfortable eat in bite-size pieces with a very low change of leakage. I'd rather have 2-3 small burritos that way 1 big one.
posted by shivohum at 7:13 PM on September 2 [3 favorites]


Heresy. Mission style FTW.
posted by small_ruminant at 7:16 PM on September 2 [1 favorite]


IT IS ADVISING AGAINST HOT SAUCE

I was always a rebel -- I even have hot sauce for breakfast...there is no point without the hot sauce.

Thanks for the link...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 7:20 PM on September 2


Some folks in my Twitter feed have been sobbing in agony at the existence of chicken tikka masala Yorkshire pudding. I reserve judgment, not being on hand to sample this concoction.

When I was doing my dissertation research at the British Library in the mid-90s, I came across something called a "California-style flapjack." As you might imagine, this prompted some cognitive dissonance. Thanks to the two nations-separated-by-a-common-language thing, I was expecting a flapjack to be a pancake and not a candy/granola bar. Unwrapped, the flapjack turned out to be a chocolate-covered something-or-other (the ingredients were not altogether clear) that, ingested, felt like a brick, albeit a chocolate-dipped brick. Aside from the sensation of having a brick in my stomach, there was one tiny problem: I'm a Californian. I should have recognized this food. And yet, it bore no resemblance to anything actually or stereotypically Californian. I mean, if you're going to dish up stereotypically Californian food, most people would expect something obnoxiously healthy, maybe with sprouts.
posted by thomas j wise at 7:21 PM on September 2 [5 favorites]


The "what the hell did you just hand me?" look I gave the guy at a local burrito place in Atlantic Canada when he handed me something significantly smaller than the healthy infant size I expect here in the Bay Area was hopefully enough to get them to change their ways.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:23 PM on September 2 [1 favorite]


thomas j wise:

and avocado.

and possibly adzuki beans.

brb. Going out for a burrito. Damn you all.
posted by small_ruminant at 7:24 PM on September 2 [1 favorite]


Chopped baby gem lettuce? Cheddar cheese? Mild salsa? No guac? No pickled jalapenos? What is this so-called burrito this man claims to know how to eat?
posted by aspo at 7:29 PM on September 2 [1 favorite]


Any strong ideas on how to distinguish a burrito from a "wrap"? I really hate wraps... in theory. Unfortunately, some of the burritos I have made have been full of spinach and sprouts and other green leafy things and the onions and garlic and peppers were sautéed in coconut oil and the whole deal perhaps too "healthful" and "Californicated" to be burritos.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 7:32 PM on September 2


People who have never eaten a burrito?

A baby could figure out a burrito.

Taco Bell used to print instructions for how to eat tacos on their taco wrappers.

They also pretend the hot sauce packets are talking to you and sell a waffle breakfast taco. This is not a serious enterprise.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 7:36 PM on September 2 [22 favorites]


The "what the hell did you just hand me?" look I gave the guy at a local burrito place in Atlantic Canada when he handed me something significantly smaller than the healthy infant size I expect here in the Bay Area was hopefully enough to get them to change their ways.

I lived in Atlantic Canada for fifteen years, and this news that there are apparently now burrito places there is shocking. I mean, sure, there's that Taco Bell in Lower Sackville, but I don't think that's what you're talking about.

(Are you sure it wasn't a donair place? They have those there.)
posted by Sys Rq at 7:37 PM on September 2


Metafilter: There's nothing like the heat that lingers on your tongue.
posted by datawrangler at 7:37 PM on September 2


I dunno, eating anything more involved than a banana while walking seems undignified in a nearly farcical way. Sitting while eating, eating unhurriedly -- that's where it's at.

Going out for a burrito. Damn you all.

We're also supposed to be chill, bro
posted by clockzero at 7:37 PM on September 2 [1 favorite]


What exactly does "Mission-style" mean? Does it just mean gigantic, filled-to-almost-bursting, and delicious? Because as far as I'm concerned, that's just a normal burrito. But then again I'm from Texas so my burrito-calibration doesn't reflect the whole U.S.
posted by aka burlap at 7:45 PM on September 2 [2 favorites]



What exactly does "Mission-style" mean? Does it just mean gigantic, filled-to-almost-bursting, and delicious?

It means that, including Mexican rice. And no lettuce for god's sake.

Also, the hottest salsa that I have ever had from a taqueria was in London. They kept it under the counter, it was like a secret stash or something. It's true that the taco was in a flour tortilla, but nonetheless I don't make fun of the capability of certain Londoners to eat spicy food any more because I nearly burnt my face off.
posted by oneirodynia at 7:58 PM on September 2 [2 favorites]


I left this out of the FPP because I thought it would give rise to a chorus of outrage:

How to fold burritos
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 8:01 PM on September 2


(also the tone was different: this is a sincere attempt to show you how to do something, so I thought it would be confusing when paired with the Guardian's "How To" series which is more cheeky.)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 8:03 PM on September 2


Who the hell eat burritos on the walk? How the jeebus are you supposed to do a salsa verde or chili verde smothered burrito on the move? Smothered burritos = nirvana + 1.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 8:13 PM on September 2 [2 favorites]


The proper way to make a Lasagnwich is a heaping amount of lasagna in a loaf of garlic bread from the oven, like a giant lasagna hoagie.

Oh good lord I started the thread hungry for burrito but now I need a lasagnawich as described.
posted by winna at 8:14 PM on September 2 [2 favorites]


What exactly does "Mission-style" mean?

Wikipedia has a fantastic, learnéd article on the Mission burrito. The "Mission" refers to the Mission District in SF, home to many taquerias. Primary ingredients are flour tortilla, rice, beans, meat, salsa. Cheese, sour cream, and avocado are encouraged additions ("super"). The best Mission burritos have freshly grilled meats and the tortilla heated on the grill, although steaming the tortilla is also acceptable. Rolled in foil, eaten by hand. The burrito should be tightly rolled, nearly bursting in its tortilla-and-foil container.

Mission burrito variants include french fries instead of rice ("San Diego style"), no rice (most of the world's burritos, also La Taqueria in SF), or a sauce on top (on a plate, eaten with a fork). Those are all delicious as well but aren't the archetypical SF Mission Burrito.
posted by Nelson at 8:20 PM on September 2 [3 favorites]


Ah, thanks guys.

I am learning so much about burritos! I will soon be a burrito master!
posted by aka burlap at 8:22 PM on September 2 [1 favorite]


The proper way to make a Lasagnwich is a heaping amount of lasagna in a loaf of garlic bread from the oven, like a giant lasagna hoagie.

Seems kind of like a bread sandwich.
posted by clockzero at 8:23 PM on September 2


Also, yeah, I think typical Texas burrito is pretty similar to Misson-style. Rice is standard in most places I've been in Texas. But I'll concede and allow Mission to be the namesake, because I am gracious.

(Also, FRIES?? In a BURRITO? San Diego people are crazy.)
posted by aka burlap at 8:24 PM on September 2 [1 favorite]


@Joseph Conrad How to fold soup.
posted by wensink at 8:26 PM on September 2 [1 favorite]



I left this out of the FPP because I thought it would give rise to a chorus of outrage:

How to fold burritos


I think I just figured out why people keep calling it the Grauniad. It's because of horseshit like this, isn't it?
posted by ActingTheGoat at 8:40 PM on September 2


over 40 comments in and nobody has made a cheap joke about this:

"You want a solid, cylindrical six inches with a filling-girth of around three inches."

metafilter, I am disappoint.
posted by kerning at 8:41 PM on September 2 [1 favorite]


So, um, how DO you fold a burrito?
posted by monospace at 8:42 PM on September 2 [1 favorite]


Not only have I mastered walking and eating a burrito, but I could also eat a burrito while driving a car with manual transmission.
posted by cazoo at 8:44 PM on September 2


That lasagna sandwich looks like the desk lunch of an enfeebled office drone. Pathetic, Britain. Go big or go home
posted by batfish at 8:54 PM on September 2


I would never write an article "explaining" how to eat something I'm not familiar with; why on earth are they running an article by a person who clearly hasn't even seen a burrito in a movie, much less eaten one?
posted by Dip Flash at 8:54 PM on September 2 [1 favorite]


I think typical Texas burrito is pretty similar to Misson-style

I grew up in Houston and am a devotée of Tex-Mex. I think a Texas burrito is a significantly smaller item than a Mission burrito, so much so you could contemplate too. Also I'd expect some sort of sauced beef in a Texas burrito, maybe even a Tex-Mex chilé con carne, and relatively less fresh vegetable. Related, for sure, but not quite the same thing. But food evolves quickly, who's to say.
posted by Nelson at 9:21 PM on September 2 [2 favorites]


No pizza in San Francisco is this bad.
posted by nixt at 9:21 PM on September 2 [3 favorites]


If you have never eaten a California Burrito from a taco shop in San Diego, you have not lived.

I recommend the Cotijas in Point Loma on Voltaire near the public library.

I just moved to San Francisco and have to say I have been disappointed by the burritos so far. Great tacos though.
posted by Aizkolari at 9:33 PM on September 2 [2 favorites]


That burrito railgun ("No pizza..." link) is a pale imitation of the Alameda-Weehawken Burrito Tunnel.
posted by kurumi at 9:34 PM on September 2 [8 favorites]


No pizza in San Francisco is this bad.

I beg to differ.
posted by shivohum at 9:45 PM on September 2


Just remember: the further from the Mexican border, the weirder and less spicy the Mexican food. I can make an exception for Portland, Ore. where I had an excellent burrito. The counter guy asked "spicy or mild?". I replied "very spicy". He did a quick double take which made me wonder if he usually gets a request for mild. He made that burrito sing with capsaicin, ahhhhhhhhh.
posted by telstar at 9:53 PM on September 2 [2 favorites]


I beg to differ.

Not like people in NYC always know how to order (or photograph) pizza, either, dude!
posted by rtha at 10:00 PM on September 2


Any strong ideas on how to distinguish a burrito from a "wrap"?

Burrito: hot, closed both ends. Wrap: cold, closed one end. Anything in between: abomination.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:16 PM on September 2 [3 favorites]


Back in the 80's, Taco Bell wrappers used to have instructions for eating soft tacos on them that amounted to "peel back a bit of wrapper, bite, repeat". I went looking last week for pictures, but for SOME REASON nobody saved their used Taco Bell wrappers from thirty years ago.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:17 PM on September 2 [1 favorite]


Not like people in NYC always know how to order (or photograph) pizza, either, dude!

Heh, touché.
posted by shivohum at 10:26 PM on September 2


telstar, was your good Portland burrito at a food cart? I've been craving good old Mission-style burritos but am anticipating sorrow and disappointment here in Portland.
posted by sfkiddo at 10:40 PM on September 2


About a half mile from my house in SoCal you can get cheek burritos.
posted by carping demon at 10:48 PM on September 2


> I think I just figured out why people keep calling it the Grauniad. It's because of horseshit like this, isn't it?

If you really really want to know -- back in the days before automation and spellcheck etc the Guardian gained a rep as having the worst typos of any UK newspaper, leading some droll wit to note that one day they'd mangle their own masthead.

Hence 'Grauniad'

The joke is a fossil, endlessly repeated without meaning. The circumstances that gave it birth are gone, and yet here it is. I doubt many people realise that it was, once, slightly funny.

Ah, time.
posted by NoiselessPenguin at 11:05 PM on September 2 [5 favorites]



So, um, how DO you fold a burrito?


Almost exactly the same way as you swaddle an infant, ironically, except one is far more delicious, the identity of which shall be left up to the reader to decide.
posted by elizardbits at 11:41 PM on September 2 [6 favorites]


When I ordered a supreme pizza in the UK from Pizza Hut it had canned corn kernels on it.
Those fuckers will do whatever they want to food.
posted by bystander at 12:15 AM on September 3 [4 favorites]


.... it had canned corn kernels on it.

Added for "texture".
posted by Pudhoho at 12:45 AM on September 3


Only a lunatic takes the whole burrito out to eat it, and only a very elderly aristocrat or someone with serious hygiene phobias would eat a burrito with a knife and fork.

If I am eating a huge Mission-style burrito or something from Chipotle, I will use a knife and fork, cut the tortilla open like a surgeon, and mix up the insides a bit. It kind of splits the difference between a burrito-qua-burrito and a bowl -- I don't want the whole tortilla, but this way I get to have some of it. I know this method is highly unorthodox but it solves a problem.

Generally, though, I think Mission-style burritos are too big and involved -- I like something small with just meat, beans, salsa, a little cilantro, no rice. That's when I eat a burrito as street food.
posted by mirepoix at 12:50 AM on September 3 [3 favorites]


No pizza in San Francisco is this bad.

Correction: all pizza in San Francisco is that bad.

I like something small with just meat, beans, salsa, a little cilantro, no rice.

La Taqueria. 25th & Mission. The best(tm), and even better tacos.

The rest of this bullshit thread can die in a fire without comment.
posted by rhizome at 1:03 AM on September 3 [2 favorites]


Former San Francisco resident here (lived there off and on from 1992 to 2008) who now lives in the UK.

UK burritos are all uniformly horrible. And yes, in fits of undying hope, I have tried all the burrito places in London. Even that burrito truck pictured in the article (It is Luardo's and the blonde girl who co-runs it used to live in San Francisco!) turns out bland, flavorless pap.

This talk about ingredients and foil wrappings misses the point that none of that matters if the burrito is not actually any good - made with highly processed tortillas and canned beans. The dry meat is flavorless, Mr Guardian writer, because it is not fresh and has been sitting out all day. In the best Mission taquerias there's a guy there grilling meat constantly. The meat has not been sitting there long because there's a conga line (or queue) of eager burrito eaters stretching out the door eating it all up as soon as it is prepared.

The first thing I do when landing in SF is run to a taqueria in the Mission. Any taqueria, really. Pancho Villa or El Toro or Cancun or San Jose or La Taqueria. It is all delicious and flavorful and I ask "why?! why is this so hard to replicate?" Is it the sauce, the beans, the salsa? It is probably all that and the freshness.

The "best" UK burrito shop wouldn't last a week in the Mission. And I submit, Brits who have only had burritos in the UK have no basis for an opinion.
posted by vacapinta at 1:29 AM on September 3 [3 favorites]


vacapinta, do not try a Barburrito burrito, it will not cheer you up. They are terrible and tiny. On the upside they are so small that you can eat them 'straight' rather than one side at a time so you don't have to worry about 'a quivering 'lip' of rice-loaded tortilla'. But seriously don't. They are an affront to decent burritos everywhere.

I had a pretty reasonable, well folded and tightly packed burrito from a place at Womad festival. I think they were southerners, it said MEXICAN in massive letters over the truck. I was drunk at the time, so YMMV. Oh, and there was no problem with dry meat, because I don't eat the motherf*cker.

Here is a song about cheese, which will cheer you up.
posted by asok at 2:05 AM on September 3 [1 favorite]


How do you tightly wrap a burrito? The key is in briefly steaming the tortilla. Apparently the humble, gummy flour tortilla has the tensile strength of a bungee when vulcanized.
posted by Lisitasan at 4:10 AM on September 3 [1 favorite]


I do not like burritos.

Still, this seems like tolerably good advice on how to eat felafel, so useful for that.
posted by kyrademon at 4:57 AM on September 3 [1 favorite]


. . . the tortilla heated on the grill, although steaming the tortilla is also acceptable.

No, steaming is required. Heating the tortilla on the grill means it gets crunchy and cracks. Steaming = stretchy tortilla = tightly wrapped burrito baby

Although I have read it before, the Mission burrito wiki article made my day by alerting me to the fact that BurritoVille is essentially dead. Huzzah!

Mexican food in New York is a generally awful, but BurritoVille was the worst. And I got dragged there all the time because of vegans. Damn you, vegans!
posted by elsietheeel at 5:43 AM on September 3 [1 favorite]


Almost exactly the same way as you swaddle an infant, ironically, except one is far more delicious, the identity of which shall be left up to the reader to decide.

Delicious indeed, but then you're picking diaper out of your teeth for the rest of the day.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 5:46 AM on September 3 [2 favorites]


UK burritos are all uniformly horrible. And yes, in fits of undying hope, I have tried all the burrito places in London. Even that burrito truck pictured in the article (It is Luardo's and the blonde girl who co-runs it used to live in San Francisco!) turns out bland, flavorless pap.

That's where your problem is - only looking in London. There's a huge amount of the UK that isn't in London. The most you could say is that London burritos are all uniformly horrible.

If your wanderings can stretch that far, try Nanna Mexico in Cambridge.
posted by talitha_kumi at 6:08 AM on September 3 [2 favorites]


I do not like burritos.

As I read this I imagined that I heard in the distance approaching helicopters playing ride of the valkyries, except it was a norteño version.
posted by elizardbits at 8:14 AM on September 3 [3 favorites]


On the lasagna sandwich end of things, I tend to think that the problem with foods like that aren't the concept, but rather the execution. Back before I had to restrict my intake of carbs to keep my blood sugar under control, one of my favorite comfort foods was spaghetti with tomato sauce or Kraft macaroni and cheese, placed on a slice of white bread spread with margarine, then folded in half like the most Anglo of tacos. Eaten just as the margarine melts but before it soaks completely into the bread, it was a perfect mouthgasm.

But that's when it was fresh, and that's the real problem not just with the lasagna sandwich but with many if not most ready-made sandwich: the freshness factor, and also the condiments soaking into the bread and making it soggy. I think that most of the supermarkets' food engineers eventually just give up on solving the problem because this shit is going to be eaten by drunks, mostly.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:44 AM on September 3 [1 favorite]


The best burritos are home made. I never buy them they are mostly awful. I even make my own tortillas.
posted by bjgeiger at 9:35 AM on September 3


On the subject of aluminum foil to contain the burrito: there is a burrito place in Portland, OR that has instructions for how to work with the aluminum foil. Peel back a bit, bite, proceed. The little signs end with "don't unwrap or it will end in your lap."
posted by Hactar at 10:44 AM on September 3 [1 favorite]


I never buy them they are mostly awful.

Where do you live? I'm all for home made food but most of the burritos I have ever had have come from restaurants of one sort or another, and mostly they've been pretty good to awesome.
posted by doctor_negative at 10:54 AM on September 3 [1 favorite]


Same here. Tacos, now- homemade tacos are pretty good. Homemade burritos are never as good as a good tacqueria burrito.
posted by small_ruminant at 11:14 AM on September 3


So I guess this is as good a place as any to wonder, but what--if any--is the essential difference between a "soft taco" and "burrito"? I mean, as a small child in Texas, we ate "breakfast tacos" which I later heard called "breakfast burritos" in California. Thus, I always assumed it was a regional difference and also assumed it applied to the nonbreakfast-type-of-foods-wrapped-in-a-tortilla. But perhaps my assumptions have always been wrong.

I mean, my husband makes a delicious dinner (of primarily beans, but sometimes there's rice involved and always many condiments) that he calls "Tacos" but he always serves it in soft tortillas (swaddled appropriately, whether they are giant tortillas or small ones). Yet, the Chipotle next door clearly labels the same thing a "burrito". Yet, they offer both soft and hard tacos. The distinction at Chipotle seems to be that the burritos have rice (which I've never seen in a breakfast taco/burrito, by the way) and are swaddled, while the tacos are made of smaller tortillas, are merely folded and have no rice.

Now, I need lunch.
posted by crush-onastick at 11:18 AM on September 3


In San Francisco, "taco" means a small corn tortilla with some meat piled in the middle. Maybe some beans and/or salsa, never rice. You pick it up, fold it in half, and awkwardly eat it. A "burrito" is a much larger item in a flour tortilla, usually with rice, and rolled tight. The soft tacos and migas I've had in Texas have generally been more like SF tacos than burritos. Texas tacos are sometimes rolled loosely with open ends like an enchilada, and I'd not be surprised by either flour or corn tortilla.
posted by Nelson at 11:28 AM on September 3


I mean, as a small child in Texas, we ate "breakfast tacos" which I later heard called "breakfast burritos" in California. Thus, I always assumed it was a regional difference and also assumed it applied to the nonbreakfast-type-of-foods-wrapped-in-a-tortilla.

Probably because your Texas breakfast taco came from Mexico and, in Mexico, everything is called a taco.

They do use flour tortillas in Northern Mexico and they are a bit bigger than the smaller corn tortillas used in the south. So, something in a flour tortilla there is still a taco. The tortilla is still mostly folded over.

Burritos use larger flour tortillas that completely encase the filling inside rather than just being folded over or loosely wound. In California, I've found, anything that is not specifically a taco is a burrito even if it is merely folded over.
posted by vacapinta at 12:16 PM on September 3


Thank you, vacapinta. It seemed too much like randomcuriosityfilter for askme but that was a mental itch of many years standing.
posted by jfuller at 12:32 PM on September 3


eating anything more involved than a banana while walking seems undignified

I hate to break it to you, but there is something *very* undignified about eating a banana
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 12:58 PM on September 3 [3 favorites]


So, something in a flour tortilla there is still a taco.

Except when the tortilla is larger and wrapped like a tube, when it's a burrito, which while much skinnier than a California burro is still a distinct thing from a taco. (Citation: have eaten many in Chihuahua and Sonora; personal favorite is machaca, not the sad fake machaca you get here.)
posted by Dip Flash at 1:55 PM on September 3


Two weeks ago I would've sung the praises of Tortilla in Clapham Junction, whose juicy foil-wrapped burritos have saved me and restored meaning to a dark life on more than one occasion. I'm sure there are better ones in places that aren't 9000km away from Mexico, but on this island these were yum enough for any man.

But then I wandered past one morning in the depths of a deep, deep hangover, tried to buy what I thought was the normal beef liferaft, and ended up being forced to have what they apparently call a "breakfast burrito". Among the more usual ingredients, this thing contains scrambled egg and fried potato.

I have not gone back there since and can no longer bring myself to defend this country's heedless neocolonial culinary entrepreneurialism.
posted by forgetful snow at 11:02 PM on September 3


what they apparently call a "breakfast burrito". Among the more usual ingredients, this thing contains scrambled egg and fried potato.

I have not gone back there since and can no longer bring myself to defend this country's heedless neocolonial culinary entrepreneurialism.


That particular burrito may well have been terrible, but breakfast burritos and tacos are completely normal items, available at taquerias and taco stands across the US (though with clear regional distinctions, both in terms of the region of Mexico it is drawing upon and also the region of the US). Normally the menu will have a few standard combinations, e.g. bacon and eggs, eggs and potatoes, etc.

It's so normal in fact that McDonalds sells a version, available at every drive through across the US.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:29 AM on September 4 [1 favorite]


Chorizo and eggs in a corn tortilla are one of God's gifts to mankind.

So long as you don't read the ingredients. That put me off chorizo for a good, oh.. week or so. Bleh.
posted by small_ruminant at 9:47 AM on September 4


are one of God's gifts to mankind compensations for creating the hangover.

I'm partial to Taqueria Can-Cún's breakfast burrito. Eggs, chorizo, pinto beans, salsa, avocado. Big burrito sized.
posted by Nelson at 9:50 AM on September 4


Oh man, a chorizo con huevos breakfast burrito with some papas is pretty much the best thing ever.

Please note: Mexican chorizo is almost always fresh ground pork and chiles and is nothing like the Spanish cured sausage made of chopped pork and paprika stuffed in a casing.
posted by elsietheeel at 8:57 PM on September 4


fresh ground pig parts.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:35 PM on September 4


My mom actually buys Soy Chorizo. I couldn't tell the difference which tells me Mexican chorizo is more about the spices than the pig parts.

Yeah, Spanish chorizo (the only one available in the UK) and Mexican chorizo don't have much in common. The Mexican one is not cured and uses different spices. All the Mexican burrito places and restaurants in London use Spanish Chorizo.

The confusion is so embedded that Thomasina Miers, the British chef who acts as one of the authorities on Mexican food over here, is referring to Spanish Chorizo in her signature Mexican dish. As she says "The Mexicans are almost as mad about chorizo as the Spanish...The soft texture of the potatoes contrasts beautifully with the chewy meatiness of the sausage"

It is a different chorizo and I wouldn't describe Mexican chorizo as a chewy sausage. I won't even get into the other ingredients such as cheddar and mozzarella and olive oil....
posted by vacapinta at 3:50 AM on September 5 [2 favorites]


That is just wrong! It's like confusing parmesan for mozzerella or worse!
posted by small_ruminant at 9:09 AM on September 5


How does she pronounce it: like a Mexican, with a Castilian accent, or the truly abominable "chor-it-tso"?

I swear I remember a Londoner friend of mine, who lived in Mexico for a year, saying Wahaca was actually quite good. I found that hard to believe when considering the phonetic spelling of Oaxaca. Good to know I wasn't wrong.
posted by elsietheeel at 12:10 PM on September 5


I swear I remember a Londoner friend of mine, who lived in Mexico for a year, saying Wahaca was actually quite good. I found that hard to believe when considering the phonetic spelling of Oaxaca. Good to know I wasn't wrong.

Maybe I'm misreading your comment, but "Wahaca" is a reasonable approximation of how you pronounce "Oaxaca" (example).
posted by Dip Flash at 2:03 PM on September 5 [1 favorite]


You're misreading. I'm taking issue with the use of the phonetic itself, not the accuracy.

Basically, how can a Mexican restaurant be authentic or even GOOD with that name? She might as well named it TorTEEyas.

Or Chee-lays Ray-en-yos! Then she could have served that trashy chiles rellenos casserole with velveeta that my Okie grandma makes in the microwave. ;)
posted by elsietheeel at 7:14 AM on September 6 [1 favorite]


To resurrect a previous part of the thread, that reminds me of Taco Bell's 70s menu that had pronunciation keys for each of the dishes. "Tah-co," "Buh-ree-to," and so on.
posted by rhizome at 11:12 AM on September 6


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