Wednesday, September 28, 2016

El Diablito

Back in May, I sought salvation from burrito mediocrity with help from my friend, Jesus. I was left with a bad taste in my mouth and overwhelming emptiness. Today, well... I decided to follow my soul in a different direction.

El Diablito is located on SE Belmont Street between 33rd and 34th in a tiny food cart pod. I was skeptical at first, because the cart itself had such an appealing aesthetic, which can mean overpriced gringo food.  It was just too sterile, and with the slogan: "Not a fusion. A Mexican Revolution" I became even more concerned. But Hell, I was hungry and there were good smells around.

The El Diablito Burrito

Price: $8.00

Ingredients: Chipotle pork, refried beans, cheese, avocado, lettuce, potato stick fries, salsa

Size: Totally filling

Sides: I asked for the habanero and green crema salsas. 

Sometimes, it takes days for me to muster up a halfhearted review... but not this time.
In fact, I just finished this guy and I couldn't wait to post about it! I haven't been so excited about a review in a really long time.

I'm melting right now just by reliving that first moment, when this little devil whispered into my ear and I gave in and embarked down into the fiery abyss of burrito bliss. 

Upon first taste, I was met with the most heavenly mouthful of succulent pork I've had in a really long time. Tender, juicy, exquisitely spiced... Transcending time and space and pleasure and pain.

That pork, holy crap... that pork! It's suppleness and heat was perfectly balanced by the crisp, cool lettuce (just a tiny bit) and fresh avocado. After a couple of bites, another layer of flavor began to effervesce through the porky chipotle, and I realized it was the potato stick fries. Flowing up and down one side of this guy, these crunchy little potato explosions were simply delightful. To die for! They were like super crispy hashbrown morsels, infused with extreme potato flavor. EXTREME! The refried beans were tough to come by, but the ones I did find were scrumptious. The strange thing about this guy was that for all of that pork love, there was no grease. How does that happen? Amazing!

So many layers of intertwined flavors happening here, it was like being spun through a web of everything and nothingness all at once. Like becoming completely lost -yet found- beyond the confines of physicality. I need to take the rest of the day to let this one simmer and swoon and sink back down onto planet Earth.

The Rating

4.5 out of 5 stars

Thank you little devil, for this grand adventure!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

El Guero

It's been a while, hasn't it friends? But have no fear- I am here for you! I know my true fans won't give up on me and my incessant search for Portland's best burrito. Even if I don't post anything for a while, I'm simply meditating on all of my prior burrito experiences. Breathing in the good, and releasing the bad.

El Guero is located in the Rose City Food Park, at Sandy and 52nd ave. I stopped by after getting a massage, because what's more cleansing and healthy than eating a big greasy burrito right after some rejuvenative healing?

The Carnitas Burrito

Price: $5.50

Ingredients: Pork, beans, guacamole, cheese, rice, pico

Size: Medium

Sides: Red and Green Salsa

The pork was a bit dry and on the tough side. It lacked that juicy in the middle, crisp around the edges goodness that my soul so desires. The flavor was ok. The beans were decent, and the guacamole was pretty good. It wasn't overloaded with rice, so that's a bonus. Ugh... it's been so long since I've written about burritos, I was hoping I would have some joyous sensory language to engage you with. Unfortunately, this burrito inspired very little. Sorry friends- "ok", "decent", and "pretty good" are all the lackluster descriptors I can muster right now. I'll just have to take a deep breath and exhale this one out.

The Rating

2.4 out of 5 stars

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Jesusito Tacos

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

I had this burrito yesterday. After suffering a morning of self loathing for no real reason, I figured I could use some help from a little Jesus. We can all use a little more Jesus in our lives, and if he's got burritos, all the better.

Jesusito Tacos is located on the corner of SE 72nd and Flavel, in the Brentwood Darlington neighborhood, or as I like to call it, Felony Flats. Although I think many of the felons are sadly getting priced out. But hey, you can still find a 2 bedroom home down here for under $300k. Plus, you can walk around in bright pink bugs bunny pajama pants and no one will bat an eyelash. No disrespect, I'm saying this is really a win/win place to live.

The Carnitas

Price: $6.00

Ingredients: Pork, rice, beans, cheese, sour cream, onion, cilantro

Size:  Big

Sides: Orange and Green Salsa
So I really wanted the chile relleno burrito, but they were out, so I settled for my old standby- carnitas.

Upon first taste, the meat was a bit dry and unappetizing. It had a grayish hue, which was unsettling, as I like my pork to be pinkish. It wasn't foul, but it wasn't good either. The beans were nice enough and the cheese was melty and yummy. The orange sauce was bomb. But I couldn't get past the pork and had to quit just over half way through.

This little Jesus didn't save me today, and he left a strange taste in my mouth.

The Rating:

.5 stars out of 5

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Poblano Pepper

Poblano Pepper is located on Belmont in a little food cart pod between SE 42nd and 43rd. I couldn't
resist trying a cart of this name, and I recall a fellow burrito friend suggesting it. They offer all the standard grub, and some enticing extras.

Oh man, I'm getting hungry just thinking about writing this review. I'll be back after I have a snack...

... ok, on with the review!

The Chile Relleno Burrito

Price: $7.00

Ingredients: Chile relleno, pinto beans, rice, guacamole, pico, cotija cheese

Size: Big Papa

Sides: Green and Habanero Sauce

Of course I had to get this one! I assume they know their way around a pepper. High hopes friends, high hopes.

This guy was grilled and sealed like a fat little envelope stuffed with surprises. The tortilla was infused with garlic, adding a nice flavor without being overwhelming.

Delving inside, the shining star of the show was no doubt the chile relleno. It was so fresh, perfectly textured, and spanned the entire length of the burrito. Mmm mm mmmm! The poblano had a hearty meatiness about it, pulling apart enticingly between my teeth with each smokey bite, yummy creamy cheese through its core. The beans and rice were alright, and the guacamole and pico added that lovely cooling touch. 

My husband tried the rajas poblano burrito, which includes a pepper mixed with onion and cream, and I must say it was also quite tasty (if you like a creamier kind of burrito).

The Rating:

What what? 4.2 stars out of 5

Will I return? Why yes, I'd love to try more burritos or just get the relleno again and again until I explode.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Mi Burrito

What's better than eating burritos alone? Well, maybe nothing. However, eating burritos with people can be enjoyable too. So when a fellow burrito junkie friend invited me to try one of his favorite spots, I happily obliged.

This brings us to Mi Burrito, located at 819 N Lombard St. There's always a certain pressure when someone I know recommends a burrito... I mean, what if I hate it? How awkward would that be? I can't lie, I can't write a fake review just to appease someone. I have to critique my burritos truthfully, even if it means cutting that person out of my life- forever. Burritos are just worth so much more than civility. So, what happened here? Did I have to excommunicate Mr. Folts?

The Mi Burrito

Price: $5.25

Ingredients: Steak picado, chile relleno, refried beans, avocado sauce

Size: Gut Stuffer

Sides: Full salsa bar with 5 different sauces, fresh salsa, pickled carrots and jalapenos, grilled jalapenos...

Burrito Boys

While eating, we chatted about this latest trend among taquerias- the steak and relleno combination burrito. So many places are doing this nowadays, and most of the time it's their namesake burrito. It can oftentimes be too much for one burrito to handle, but not in this case.

The burrito came out nice and steamy hot, just how I like it! Though the tortilla was lacking that crispy grilled perfection, the wrap job was splendid. Upon first taste, I noted the saucy steak, with just the right amount of chew. It took a few rows of chomping to make my way down to the relleno, which was disappointing. But, when the tried and true egged up greasy pepper finally made it's debut, it didn't disappoint. I enjoyed tasting all the different sauces, but none of them really tugged at my heart strings. If Bob Ross was painting a picture of this burrito, he would call the refried beans "happy little mushed up beany friends." Although this was a saucy burrito, the tortilla held together perfectly and I barely had any juice on my hands at the end.

The Rating

My Rating: 3.8 out of 5

Mr. Folts' Rating: 4.2 out of 5

So, I think Mr. Folts and I can still get along. Thanks for the burrito adventure, sir!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

King Burrito (update)

Well, I've been burrito blogging for so long now that I think it's appropriate to revisit some places that I haven't been to for years. Just to check in, check on the quality, ya know. My original post was from way back in 2012, and involved a lovely canoe jaunt at Smith and Bybee Lakes. Ahhh, summer time. This visit was a burrito date with some friends of mine to check out their new hood and local taqueria.

King Burrito still appears to be a neighborhood institution. I am also happy to report that prices have not changed. You can still get a burrito for $4.50! Quite a deal in today's Portland. I opted for their slightly more expensive ($5) namesake burrito this time.

The King Burrito

Price: $5.00

Ingredients: Steak picado, chile relleno, beans, guacamole

Size: Big

Sides: Red and green sauce

Again, I was impressed with the guacamole. Some places charge upwards of 2 dollars for a tiny tiny tiny addition of guac, but it came standard on this guy. Unfortunately, the ingredient dispersion was a bit sloppy, and most of the guac was gone after a couple of bites. The steak had good flavor, but I had a couple of tough bites and it started dripping grease through the bottom of the tortilla fairly quickly. The relleno had a lovely texture, with just the right amount of cheese and a subtle hint of spice. The red sauce was quite yummy! By the end, this guy was drooping and falling apart from all the grease.

The Rating

Lowering the rating slightly for this one- 3.6 out of 5 stars.  

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Rosita's Place

I found myself trapped on 82nd Avenue, again. In need of some major burrito therapy, I figured if I saw a taqueria, I'd go for it.  As fate would have it, wedged between Papa Murphy's and KFC there's a parking lot with a few food carts, one being Rosita's. This was just North of Powell Blvd. I couldn't figure out where to park, so I circled around and got stuck in a huge strip mall parking maze... but I was eventually able to dig my way out. I'm pretty sure you can just turn right in and park next to the carts if you want, I was just being awkward.

The owners were super friendly and welcoming, and the pictures on the menu were tasty looking. I noticed carnitas was MIA though.

Asada Burrito

Price: $5.50

Ingredients: Steak, rice, beans, fresh salsa, cheese, sour cream

Sides: Green and Habanero salsa

Size: Filling

I opted to take this puppy home, as the weather wasn't the best and I just wanted to eat in peace. 

Upon initial unwrapping, this burrito looked quite appealing. It had that grilled and sealed tortilla wrapping that always adds such a lovely texture and prevents soggy sadness. It's also an indication that whoever made it actually cares, and wasn't rushed into haphazardly throwing ingredients together.

I enjoyed chowing down on this guy. The tortilla had a saltiness that tickled my tongue, and ingredients were nicely dispersed. The steak was tasty, though a couple bites were a little sinewy. There was a bit too much rice- I would have loved more beans instead. It had the perfect amount of sour cream, but more cheese was in order! The fresh salsa was a nice touch. It did what it needed to do, but it didn't blow me away.

The Rating:

3.5 out of 5

Would I go here again? 

Yes, I'd like to try some other things, like the fish tacos (but that's not a burrito).

Friday, January 8, 2016

La Morenita

La Morenita is one of the many mexican food options along Hawthorne Blvd. It's a food cart at 32nd. Almost 4 years ago, my first burrito review was from Neza, which sits just a block up the street. Who knows if that review is still accurate. 4 years... where has my life gone?  My memories are shaped by whichever beans I happened to be eating at the time, my emotions tamed by that belly-full-o-love. Anxieties melt, like cheese atop a heaping pile of sizzling beef, or pork. Some people have God or animal spirit guides, some people pop pills or run marathons... I have burritos.

The Morenita Burrito

Price: $7.00

Ingredients: Steak, chile relleno, beans, cheese, lettuce, pico, guacamole

Sides: Red and green salsa, chips, lime wedge

Size: Large

What an elegant presentation, like a green checkered angel- fallen to earth. Or perhaps a bird on the wing, soaring high above that which the human brain can fathom.

 ...ok ok, it's just a burrito, sorry.

There were cheaper options on the menu, but I can never pass up steak and chile relleno together in one being, as you may well know.

My cheeks warm as I gently inhale, chewing each bite contemplatively and wholly. I let the flavors marinate on my tongue, as steam radiates up and out into the cool January air. Seesawing between splashes of spicy red sauce and soothing green, I tease my brain with simple pleasures. The pepper is stuffed with soft creamy cheese and has a nice crisp casing. The cooling pico and lettuce add a fresh crunch. Morsels of steak are finely chopped and offer the perfect amount of meaty chewy goodness. While the textures balanced precisely midway through, I felt ingredient dispersion was a bit off- too much lettuce at first, then all meat at the end. I didn't pick up on much guacamole, and it could use a bit more beany cheesiness. Something about it felt delicate, as though a lot of thought and love went into its creation.

The Rating:

3.8 out of 5

A great option if you're walking down Hawthorne. I would choose this a million times over cha cha blah.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

A look back at 2015

It looks like I reviewed 10 new burritos in 2015. Not bad, but not great! How many burritos did I actually consume all together though? Only the lord knows... and honey, that's my personal business with him. J/k, let's think about this... I usually go out for a burrito once a week, maybe twice! Plus there's the breakfast burritos that I make on weekends sometimes. Here's another dirty little secret folks: sometimes for a snack I will eat one of those little frozen "El Monterey" bean and cheese burritos. Don't judge me! It's just you know, some people will eat an apple or some cashews for a snack... but I take one of those little frozen guys and cover him with cheese and hot sauce and dip him in sour cream. It's a perfectly fine, healthy snack.

So, let's see... a conservative estimate for number of burritos I ate this year would probably be- 100.

As far as new burrito reviews go, it was a rather average experience this year. I rated 7 of my burritos at or below 3 stars. My top rated burrito this year was the carnitas from Gonzalez Taqueria. I am also extremely happy about the Portland Mercado coming into existence, though they aren't just about burritos.

I am looking forward to another year of burrito hunting, and I will continue to branch out! I also want to return to some of my favorites to see if they are staying up to par. Thank you to everyone who reads this ridiculously delicious blog!