Keys to a Good Burrito
What makes a burrito rise above the crowd into the realm of the really good burrito? Obviously, the burrito must be served warm and made with fresh ingredients. However, other key factors can make or break a burrito. Listed in order of importance are the top 5 keys to a good burrito:
1. Good meat. The most important ingredient as far as flavor goes. Out of all meats, carne asada is the benchmark meat in the measure of a good burrito. Should be tender and cut in small bits, not thick chunks. Rubbery or charred meat can destroy a burrito.
2. Proportions. This is a tough one. All ingredients should mesh together to create a unified taste. No one ingredient should overpower the others. Too much sour cream is a big strike against a burrito. The best burritos combine meat, rice (may contain very small traces of vegetables like peas and carrots), beans (preferably black – pinto beans tend to sog down and drown out the interplay of flavors), sour cream, salsa (hot or mild with cubed tomatoes), shredded lettuce, and guacamole. Shredded cheese is not essential to a top-rate burrito, yet may be added in small amounts without compromising the overall taste.
KNOW YOUR LIMITS: Take the time to properly gauge your appetite before ordering a burrito or else you may end up in a situation like this.
3. Cohesive. Tortilla should be wrapped tightly and must be steamed. Moist tortillas cling better to the contents and go down smoother. A dry wrapping is harder to digest and distracts from the main show. None of the internal ingredients should be visible until you take your first bite. After that, minimal bursting at the seams should occur, but expect your hands to get messy.
4. No water leakage. A small puddle will drip out of the bottom of some burritos while you work your way down. A good burrito will not drip yet should be moist enough throughout.
5. Right size. The worst thing is to come up short and leave behind a mushed fraction of your burrito. Neither you nor the burrito will appreciate this failure. The second worst but far less severe situation is to finish and still crave more burrito. Chances are you only need a fraction of another burrito to fill you up, so if you order another one, you will be faced with the worst thing left over. Although the right size depends on your appetite, choosing an incorrect size will tarnish your whole consumptive experience.
Other Important Factors:
A good burrito experience sometimes is determined by factors other than the quality of the burrito. Other important factors can have a significant impact on your overall experience:
1. Price. A regular-sized burrito should never cost more than $5.00, a larger-sized (i.e. "super", "grande", "deluxe", etc.) one should never break the $6.00 mark. Guac should be included in the price of a deluxe or super burrito and should never be charged separately. A handful of free tortilla chips should also be included, although it's perfectly acceptable to expect a charge for a larger portion of chips. Free salsa on the tables in-house is an added bonus.
2. Consistency. No matter how many burritos you order from a good burrito place, they should all be the same high quality with little variation. When you recommend a burrito place to someone, you shouldn't have to worry that their burrito will be radically different than yours had been. Fluctuations in quality at inferior burrito places can be caused by a wide variety of reasons such as poor training of new employees, unreliable and varying quality of ingredients, and unpredictable levels of freshness.
3. Size selection. Different sizes should be available for different appetites. One of the top 5 measures of a good burrito is how well it matched your level of hunger, and a wide size selection allows one to walk away satisfied at all levels of appetite. Look for "baby" (smaller than regular) and "burro" (the size of a small child) sizes or their equivalents at burrito places that are a cut above.
4. Live birth. The burrito should be born before your eyes. No surprises, no secrets. You should be able to stare all of the ingredients in the face and witness divine combination. In the end, you'll be more satisfied and feel like you played a bigger role in the process.
5. Wrapping. Must be double-wrapped in aluminum foil. No exceptions, even if you order your burrito para aqui. Don't ask why this is, just be happy that the foil will keep your burrito warm even if you take it a llevar.