Robot’s Useless Reviews – Burritos

Let’s cut to the chase. The burrito is probably one of nature’s few perfect foods. Protein, grain, vegetable, dairy, all delicious, and all in its own edible wrapper. A tour de force of culinary convenience with limitless potential to be riffed upon and updated, all while the old standbys, the carne asada or carnitas, remain perennially edible. I’m not sure how many burritos I could stand to eat in a week, but probably a number between 4 and 18.

And yes, I know guac is extra.

There was a time in my life when I was strictly against creative burritos, sometimes referred to as wraps. My feeling was, “Hey, the grilled chicken burrito is perfect. Don’t f*%$ with it.” But I’ve softened on that since quaffing a saffron rice and duck burrito at a little spot that subsequently went out of business. I’m not saying you can’t come up with your own burritos. I’m just saying they better be good. The bar is high, and you’re maybe not as clever as hundreds of years of Mexican culinary refinement.

And you don’t make your own tortillas.

For the hungry cyclist, there can be no better preparatory (except don’t swim for half an hour after) or recovery meal. Serving size equals one. The trick here is that if you’ve gone very hard on the bike, your stomach might tell you the largest burrito is the correct one, but years of research has shown me that, actually, the smaller one might be the safer choice.

There are a few metrics of burrito quality you should be aware of. Wrap tightness is a thing. Even a burrito with the best ingredients fails to satisfy if it’s not wrapped well. I have abandoned taco joints altogether if their burritos consistently fall apart. This is why you should never get a burrito at Whole Foods.

Next comes ingredients. Not everything that goes into your burrito can be wet (more on this later). The purveyor of your tortilla-bound victuals needs to offer dryer items like rice and well drained beans to keep your meal from requiring a pressure wash to clean up after.

In addition to the tortilla wrap, the foil or paper wrap is also important. As a rule, you ought never completely unwrap your burrito before starting it. You tear the paper or foil away as you go or resign yourself to salsa crotch. It’s not as appetizing as it sounds.

Another basic rule of mine is, remove your bib shorts before you eat the burrito. This is both a way to pause meaningfully after activity before subjecting your digestive system to a calorific depth charge, but also, it’s just hygienically sound advice. Let my failures inform your successes.

Cycling doesn’t limit itself to edible burritos either. A saddle bag is little more than a burrito of helpful items for when you flat or need to raise your saddle by half a skosh. A tool roll is a burrito of common implements for people who are good at implementing better maintained bicycles.

I don’t have one.

Given the perfection of the common burrito I am shocked and dismayed the big ride food producers haven’t come up with a two-bite version for my jersey pocket. As I type these words, actually, I wonder why I am not the billionaire proprietor of a global mini-burrito empire. That’s how you know we’re living in the Matrix, I guess.

A few more things we ought to address before dialing up the local taqueria to order lunch. First, given the choice of dry or wet (mojado) when ordering your burrito, always go dry. You can get a chimichanga wet if you want, but a wet burrito is just asking for trouble. Any chimichanga is a recipe for disaster, albeit a delicious one.

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