Tuesday, September 23, 2008

5 Most Important Burrito Elements

The obvious: 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.

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.

Miguel's Bar Harbor

After having a great lunch at Miguel's in Bangor a few month's back (best refried beans I've ever had - actually fresh!), we were disappointed recently at the Miguel's in Bar Harbor.

A former locals favorite, Miguel's went away for a few years and then came back with lackluster results. I had the house burrito and all it had inside was cheese and meat. Rather boring compared to the take out burrito place down the street, Gringo's which serves up all kinds of interesting burrito combinations.

The fresh salsa and chips was fine and we did take advantage of the half price appetizer deal although the choices were rather similar to the dinner entrees. Maybe next time I'll try chicken mole or something in the higher price range. My burrito was less then $10 which is good for Bar Harbor but then again wasn't very exciting.