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

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Looks like we've got some serious competition:

The Burrito Blog has only been up online since March, but is obviously the work of a serious burrito fanatic who also has some mad web design skills.

The Burritobot is attempting to assign numerical rankings to every taqueria in the Bay Area. It's cool, and I have to give a tip to anyone who tells people to see "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle" (it's in the FAQs), but the whole site smells an awful lot like a big troll for advertising.

Maybe I'll have to change my tag to "The noncommercial online hunt for the perfect urban food log."
Fairfield, Calif., besides being unusually blessed with a big honking Air Force base (Travis), is also unusually blessed when it comes to taquerias. I mentioned to some locals that I had dinner at Alejandro's last night, and there was an instant babel: Was Alejandro's on West Texas Street the best burrito in town? Or did that distinction belong to Adalberto's, a few blocks away? The answer to the question seems to hinge on whether you like raw onions, which Adalberto's favors.

Alejandro's gets points in a couple of categories: First, the menu is unusually varied. Seafood lovers can choose among four kinds of shrimp (garlic sauce, spicy sauce, breaded or cocktail), two of fish (breaded or ceviche), oysters, or "7 mares," a mixed seafood soup. Adventursome beef fans can choose to eat tongue, tripe, head or brains.

Second, the price is competitive. A regular burrito and a medium agua fresca set me back $5.36. Not too bad! I think the most expensive thing on the menu is about $11.

I chose a burrito pastor (BBQ pork), which came with pinto beans by default. The pork was tender, juicy and had just a hint of sweetness that went very nicely with the smoking hot pico de gallo. The use of an American-style BBQ sauce was subtle, but gave the whole burrito an interesting complexity.

The combination isn't sure-fire. When I've had the BBQ chicken burrito at the Taqueria on Locust Street in Walnut Creek, the meat was so loaded with a sweet K.C.-style BBQ sauce, the other ingredients were overwhelmed.

The tamarindo at Alejandro's was also unusually bold in flavor, which cut the heat of the burrito nicely. I'm definitely going back for more.