BURRITO WISDOM – a vegetarian burrito quest www.burritowisdom.com

TACOS POR FAVOR (7.75)

Posted in Gringo, Santa Monica by burritowizard on October 27, 2010

tacos-por-favor-exterior

1408 Olymipic Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90404

(310) 392-5768

www.tacosporfavormenu.info

 

Measurements: 9”to 8″ circumference, 6.5” to 7″ length (generally smaller than average)


Potato Burrito $5.21 after tax


tacos-por-favor-burrito1

 

This place has pulled off totally satisfying the traditional authentic LA Mexican food crowd, the gringos, the foodies, the locals, and me: everyone likes this place.  Firm fresh black beans, pico de gallo (not so gallo). Red sauce with nutmeg, or is it cinnamon?  Long extensive menu, but not confusing, with appropriate options, all of which are good.  Very simple, not reinventing the wheel.  If they put more care into crafting their salsa this place could possibly blow my mind.


tacos-por-favor-salsa

Value: Best of the beach (not that close to the beach)


WIZARD’S SCORE: 7.75


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TOMATILLO 6.75

Posted in Gringo, Koreatown by burritowizard on October 19, 2010

3435 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90010

(213) 388-9636

Vegetarian Burrito: $6.24

Measurements: 9″ circumference; 7″ length (but they’ll hook you up with a monster if you ask nicely)

Today is a special day in American History: I walk into Tomatillo in Koreatown.  The very first Tomatillo.  I feel the energy, this is going to be big…  Like the hot band with a record contract before their first practice, Tomatillo is destined for greatness.  The underpaid staff greets me with big smiles, and jovial attitudes, knowing that they are a part of the very first one…

You have to compare Tomatillo to Chipotle, I’ll use this analogy: Chipotle is Mario from Super Mario Brothers, and Tomatillo is Luigi; but with fresh quality ingredients not seen at Chipotle since the pre-1998-corporate-expansion of the franchise.

Decent traditional red and green salsas with fresh chunks of tomato, cilantro and of course tomatillo.

Value: Standard Issue

WIZARD’S SCORE: 6.75

BURRITOVILLE (6.5)

Posted in Chelsea, Gringo, New York by burritowizard on October 3, 2010

266 West 23rd Street New York, NY 10004
Phone# 212-675-5030

www.burritoville.com

Measurements: 7″ lenght; 9″ circumference (standard size)

Border Burrito (Brown Rice, Cheese, Beans, Pico De Gallo & Sour Cream) $8.70 after tax

Burritoville, the original Mission influenced burrito in Manhattan first opened in 1992.  At their height, they had locations in virtually every nook of the island, but now are left with only one in Chelsea.  Specialty burritos, Mexican style brown rice, and unimpressive salsas leave Burritoville at a disadvantage for competing with the coming new wave of NYC burrito makers.  The rotating daily $5 burrito menu selection makes Burritoville worth cataloging for the sake of value.

VALUE: Yes, if you take advantage of the daily $5 burrito; No if you order off the regular menu.

WIZARD’S SCORE: 6.5

LA SALSA (6)

Posted in Business District, Gringo, National Chain by burritowizard on April 5, 2010

601 West 5th Street

Los Angeles, CA 90071

(213) 623-6390

www.lasasa.com

 

Califonia (basic veggie) Burrito $5.54 after tax

Measurements: 8″ circumference; 7″ length (smaller than average)

Sitting in La Salsa neither enjoying, nor dis-enjoying my experience,I try to think of a way to describe it.  I can’t stop thinking about the novel Grendel, by John Gardner.  A heartwarming recounting of the epic Beowulf from the monster (Grendel’s) perspective.  The point is that you need to have ‘evil’ to create a ‘hero’.  But, Burrito Analysis is far more complicated.  The ‘great’ and ‘bad’, are easy to recognize.  We need mediocrity to determine the nuances between what is esculent, palatable, and delectable.  This is why La Salsa needs to exist, it is the bare minimum one should accept from a burrito place.

 

The salsa bar is beautiful, but none of the salsas are worth mentioning.

 

Value: blah

 

WIZARD’S SCORE: 6

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CASALINDA (6.5)

Posted in Gringo, Venice by burritowizard on March 8, 2010

1357 Abbot Kinney Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90291

(310) 664-1177

 

Bean & Cheese Burrito $5.49 after tax

Measurements: 8″ circumference; 7″ length (smaller than average)

At the former location of Tortilla Grill, Casalinda is a step down from its predecessor.  Fresh food, fresh ingredients, but with little inspiration.  In our party of three, all three burritos had a big lump of cheese in the middle.  Great location on prime Abbott Kinney, chill atmosphere, forgettable salsa bar.   I paid with a $10 bill, and they gave me a Panamanian dime (.99 USD exchange)

Value: Over Priced

 

WIZARD’S SCORE: 6.5

DONA ROSA (7.25)

Posted in Gringo, Pasadena by burritowizard on March 2, 2010

577 S Arroyo Parkway
Pasadena, CA 91105
(626) 449-2999

Bean-Rice-Cheese-Pico de Gallo Burrito $6.50 after tax

Measurements: 9″ circumference; 6″ length (smaller than average)

A woman with a sexy body and an ugly face is called a Butterface (But-Her-Face), this slur reminds me of Dona Rosa’s Burritos.  “10” for effort, the look, the feel, the atmosphere, the signage; I’d love to hang out here all day, especially Tuesdays with $1.50 margaritas.  Everything seems perfect, but-the-taste.  The black bean, rice, shredded cheese and pico de gallo (no jalapenos) burrito is simple, but well executed.  The salsa bar is one of the most beautiful I have seen.  But, the taste of the salsas, particularly in the hotter sauces, is where Dona Rosa misses the mark.

Spicy Red Salsa (upper left) is not that spicy, and tastes more like tomato paste than salsa.  Salsa Quemada (fire roasted) (upper right) doesn’t jibe with the burritos or chips.  Tomatillo Chipotle Salsa (lower left) is a straight forward house salsa, but a bit too watery.  Tomatillo Salsa (lower right) This is their best salsa, rich bodied and well executed.  SUMMARY: Dona Rosa is worth a visit, just don’t get your hopes up for greatness.

Value: Pricey, but worth it if you are looking for atmosphere, and a nice place to hang out.

WIZARD’S SCORE: 7.25

BURRITO KNAVE VISITS BADBOY BURRITO IN KEY WEST

Posted in Florida, Gringo, Guest Reviews, Key West by burritowizard on February 12, 2010

1220 1/2 Simonton Street

Key West, FL 33040

(305) 292-2697

www.badboyburrito.com

Let me start off by saying that I am very excited about my first assignment for Burrito Wisdom.  Big ups to the Burrito Wizard.  On a recent trip to Key West, I checked out this tiny burrito spot / juice bar.  What?  You guys grow your own wheat grass?  Really?  Weird.   Bad Boy Burrito is run by a young couple (with a culinary pedigree) and is at once sublime and vexing.  A solid ethos (super fresh ingredients and bio-degradable takeaway containers)?  Check.   Red onion escabeche (a lot of people don’t even know what that is.)?  Check.  No tables (a counter with three stools and a bench out front)?  Check.  $8 burritos?  Check.

(Jesus holding a burrito (above))

Their burritos or “phatties” as they claim to roll them, (I know, right?) consist of an organic flour tortilla with basmati rice, rattlesnake beans (a variation of pinto beans, slightly darker), one veggie filling (marinated tofu, seasonal veg, or mushroom), one salsa (pico de gallo, verde, red chili, mango habenero, or tomatilla) and up to three toppings (everything from shredded cheese and sour cream to ancho chili relish to the aforementioned red onion escabeche).   I tried the marinated tofu with shredded cheese, sour cream and cilantro with (per the owner’s suggestion) the mango habenero salsa.   The burrito, (definitely not a “phattie”) ordered to go, was rolled tightly in tinfoil.  It was excellent.  Transcendental even.  But as I walked back up Simonton Street eating this burrito, slightly confused, a couple of thoughts kept rattling around my brain.  Why doesn’t this place have a couple of defacto burritos on the menu?  Say, I don’t know, a vegetarian burrito or some such, so you, Mr. owner / chef / order taker won’t seem so narked as I (as, invariably, every other first time customer must)  fumble through the toppings list, trying to narrow it down to three?  And, I’m closer to Cuba than I am to Miami.

I really like this place.  Next time I’ll try the…

No Salsa Bar.  Dimensions:  Average.

Value:  Good.  I never thought I’d say that about an $8 burrito.

KNAVE’S SCORE:  8.25

TACOMOLE (7.5)

Posted in Fashion District, Gringo by burritowizard on February 9, 2010

Located in the food court at the California Mart near the intersection of W 9th St. and S Main St.

110 East 9th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90079

(213) 689-1370

Veggie Burrito: $7.08 after tax

Measurements: 9″ circumference; 7″ length (standard size)

In the Fashion District Tacomole has been flourishing since 1985.  Probably the best burrito I’ve had from a food court, with all of the punch and integrity you’d expect from multigenerational family cooking.  Option for real pico de gallo, whole pinto beans, and everything you’d expect from a learned burrito maker.  But, as a Burritophile, there is something missing.  Maybe it’s their 3rd Division location in a food court that keeps their expectations and exposure down.   This place will not blow your mind if you seek it out on a burrito quest, but it should.  Clean, healthy, trustworthy, and off everyone’s radar.  You should know about Tacomole.

Value: Depends on what you order, but generally pricey considering other options for burritos in the area

WIZARD’S SCORE: 7.5