The Netscape-friendly hunt for the perfect urban food log.

Friday, February 08, 2002

Oh, yes: here's more romantic burrito inspiration. This time, a poem by Salem S. Alnauimi.
Eightball is an online magazine that apparently caters to an audience of young, male moisture-seekers (if that's not redundant). Tip-offs: frequent use of terms like "rack" and "G-spot." What's surprising is this part of the site, where the guys discuss their experiments in lucid and controlled dreaming. Included is johnnycrackahead's burrito nightmare:

"So last night I'm walking through the mall randomly mumbling to myself 'I'm asleep' or 'I'm awake' depending on my synapses at the time of spastic vocalization and I pass this voo-doo looking motherfucker who notices me idling around the food court eating scraps left on tables by the other mall patrons who had hastily left after I started roaming and rambling to myself. I didn't even notice him standing next to me as I said 'I'm awake' to myself through a mouth full of burrito supreme. He put his hand on my shoulder and I forced myself to pull my attention away from a glistening glob of sour cream I was getting ready to lick off of the table to make eye contact. He stood easily seven feet tall, was black with shoulder-length dred-locks and a black trench coat. I didn't notice any of that at the time though, because his eyes had no pupils or retinas. ..."

Thursday, February 07, 2002

This is just too damn cute. The eigth-graders at Dakota Meadows Middle School in Mankato, Minn., write "2-minute mysteries" and post them online. They've been doing it for about five years! Here's one from this year called "The Nasty Burrito" by Dan and Eric.

Wednesday, February 06, 2002

I know you've all been wanting the translation for the Cheech Marin song "Taco Grande." Now you can order "el ardiente pollo del infierno" with confidence ("con confianza").
What has this guy been smoking? I wouldn't eat this one.
Now, why is it that all these fiction writers seem to associate burritos with sex? (Or at least, romance.)
The boys at sfburrito.com are clearly not amateurs! Check out this excerpt from their review of Taqueria Baja California:

"It had a different kind of taste – a strong seasoned rice and enchilada sauce flavor, somewhat like a traditional Mexican combo plate. The guac had no chunks of avo, and the tortilla was not grilled. And it certainly did not have a 'fresh' taste. But the carne asada had a great zip to it and a nice, slightly crackly consistency, like the little steak scraps had logged some bonus time on the grill. 'The meat is NOT bashful,' observed A-man. Fuck yeah. Paydirt, homeboy. OK, I should note that the burro was poorly rolled. It ruptured toward the bottom: systems failure, total fuckin chaos. I had to eat faster than the burro melted down. But at least as far as taste is concerned, the burro was working for us. Good stuff. I finished my log down to the entrails, as did A-man."

This site appears to still be active -- the above review was published in November -- and they have a pretty cool set of links (although liike every OTHER burrito site, they're still linking to Stephen Somogyi, even though his page is down). "About Us" shows a couple of bare-chested guys who do not look like they eat as many burritos as they obviously do.

Apparently Calvin Trillin is a fan of La Cumbre Taqueria in San Francisco. He tells columnist Leah Garchick about searching for a parking place in the Mission District in order to indulge. (It's been years since I ate at La Cumbre, but I remember it as a satisfying burrito, but not a life-changing experience. Possibly I ordered chile verde when I should have had carnitas, or vice versa.)

Tuesday, February 05, 2002

Last one for today. "Lust Perks Up the Taco Gnome" is a short story about sex and tostadas on the Zoetrope web site. It's PG-13, not X-rated, and owes a debt to "Like Water for Chocolate."

On the other hand, here's a guy I could chow down with: Steve Sutter, author of Steve's Field Guide to Berkeley Burritos. Although I would quibble with his description of "meat adjuncts" as "superfluous and distracting," I can only agree with his methodology ("In some dingy corner of the burrito shop you may see some utensils -- AVOID THIS AREA! You must eat the entire burrito by slowly peeling back the layers of tin foil and revealing the sumptuous gustatorial paradise within. Extra salsa is traditionally added as each layer is consumed. In an emergency, tortilla chips may be used to re-engineer the stack.")
Now, this is just SO WRONG. Dilbert creator Scott Adams has put $1 million into a company to create and market vegetarian frozen burritos, or "Dilberitos." Ingredients include broccoli florets, textured wheat gluten and Almond Rella. If you want a vegetarian burrito, go for it, dude, but wheat gluten and almond milk caseinate do not belong there. Stick with vegetales asados and frijoles de olla!
I found a kind of a cool page, devoted to The Flying Burrito Brothers. In the '70s, I was a little skeptical of the whole Gram-Parsons-is-God thing -- his kind of country rock seemed too emotional, too overdone with the pedal steel. As I've gotten older, I guess I've become more tolerant of the hokey. The guy maintaining this web site is obviously a long-time fanatic.

Still no luck in finding a pupusa blog. I may have to start my own.

The worst burritos in California, in my opinion, are made by the High Tech chain. I have no philosophical objection to offering spinach tortillas and brown rice as an option, but burritos must be juicy and juicy the High Tech burritos are not. Also, I'm sorry, but zucchini has no place in a burrito. (To be honest, I think zucchini is a waste of space on any plate.)

Hey, what's up with this? The San Francisco Chronicle sends a reviewer to Los Comales who ... doesn't like burritos. Gee, I've got a great idea; let's send someone to Mark Morris who hates modern dance. Or wait -- how about having Joel Selvin cover the opera?

Monday, February 04, 2002

I've been thinking recently about the Platonic Burrito Ideal -- once glimpsed when eating a chile verde burrito off a truck from Taco Joe's in Riverbank. The near-Platonic Burrito was sloppy, full of garlic and meat, and contained a surprise ingredient, shredded raw cabbage, which added both coolness and bite. They definitely have that elusive fifth flavor, umami.

Some good regional burritos I've eaten include those from Sierra Taqueria in East Sonora. (Are they still there? Haven't been up to the mountains in about four years.) El Faro in Concord makes a shrimp burrito on Fridays that's pretty yummy, and you can occasionally get pupusas there. (Pupusas should have their own blog!)

Mostly, I eat burritos from my local taqueria, Los Comales. They aren't inspired -- not spicy enough, no surprises, and not a perfect balance of ingredients. But I've really gotten to know the ladies behind the counter, and my regular (chicken with red sauce, frijoles de olla, rice, no extras) has become kind of a mom's-pot-roast type experience. The Burrito Test Site says that my usual choice "shows trepidation, an unwillingness to truly express yourself. Why not choose a few more toppings and live a little?"