Good Burritos or I’ll Eat Benito’s Hat!

Dr. Frost-Rathbone and I decided to frequent Benito’s Hat in order to ply our trade of Burrito Benchmarking. Here are the preliminary results:

Environment

The Covent Garden branch of Benito’s Hat has a very pleasant interior. Bursts of colour everywhere and a very funky vibe. A mixture of high and standard tables and (as we visited in the evening) some rather nice mood lighting on tables and around them. I’m afraid the quality is rather poor but I have supplied pictures below.

Benito's Hat Benito's Hat

Burrito’s At The Speed of Light

I would advise deciding on your fillings before you start your order at Benito’s Hat because the service moves fast. Really fast. I shall take proper recording equipment to analyse the phenomenal burrito creating speed more accurately on my next visit. I would estimate we went from ingredients to burrito in under 30 seconds – and this with my indecision slowing the process. Just what a hungry professor needed.

Stay Loose

Such phenomenal speed comes at a small price. The wrap was slightly looser than I would consider ideal. I should stress this is a very minor complaint provided you are eating sat down. It can be a bit of an issue for the burrito-on-the-go though, as a looser wrap will result in more fall out. (I can’t tell you how many of my neck ties have perished at the hands of a loose wrapper.)

You get out what you put in

Overall the ingredients were good. Both my pork and Dr Frost-Rathbone’s beef were slow-cooked to perfection – soft, succulent, flavourful meat. The medium-hot sauce delivered the sweet bright heat that can only be achieved with good quality peppers and had enough slow burning heat to add flavour without becoming overpowering. The guacamole was not the finest I’ve tasted, a little tart (possibly due to slightly under-ripe avocados) and in need of some punchier flavour. It was by no means unpleasant but lacked the umph of a great guac. Refried beans were good, but the black beans (not generally my favourite) were an unusually flavourful accompaniment to the beef. I have been converted to a black-beaner and will select them next time I visit Beneto’s Hat.

Conclusion

Overall, this was a fine burrito. The service was sterling – extremely expedient while still being genuinely friendly. A little accompaniment of tortilla chips was a simple but very enjoyable addition to our burritos. A few minor areas for improvement but I shall definitely return to Benito’s Hat.

Doing Your Own Burrito Research

If you’d like extend LBRI’s research on Benito’s Hat then they are here and here [gmaps] details are on their website and they’re also on Twitter at the rather pithily named Benito’s Chat. Do please share the findings of your research either in the comments below or you can tweet me here.

Burritos Near Work – All I need now is for Huey Morgan and/or Nathan Fillion to ask me to marry him & my life is complete!

OK, so last week I ate something masquerading as a burrito at my desk.  I have wiped this from my memory as the trauma was just stressing me out.  Therefore, the burrito I have just eaten is the first burrito I’ve had at my desk at work.  First things first, Dr Chimpington and myself really need to offer a ‘how to eat burritos in public’ master class.  I am not convinced that there is a sophisticated way of doing this and I apologise to all my colleagues for the spectacle of watching me wrestle with a burrito. Dainty I aint.

Recent research has revealed that there are burritos to be found near my place of work.  Picante Mexican Grill.  This shop is teeny, tucked away in that bit of London that is neither Victoria nor Pimlico near Strutton Ground & Channel 4 it’s probably not one you’d walk past on your way to somewhere.  It’s blue and it has a Mexican skull on the sign – a Mexican skull with chillis for a ‘tache no less.  I love Mexican art, it always cheers me up and reminds me of the day of the dead celebrations.

When I got inside the first thing I saw was shelves filled with lovely tins of La Costena jalapenos.  These are the ones I ate when I was in Mexico and (until now) I have had to rely on my gorgeous friend Stevo  to bring them back for me when he comes over to Blighty to visit.    I won’t tell him I can get them now as I still want him to visit me. Selfish? Moi?

The choice of meat was too extensive for my teeny brain so I went for the grilled chicken one – on the off-chance that this place was bad I thought it’d be harder to fuck up grilled chicken.  They also include sliced jalapenos. Most of the ones you get over here are a bit flacid and sadly the only place I normally see these beauties is Subway so I was chuffed to see them here as I could live on them.

They do the Chilango/Chipotle/ Subway  tried & tested style of assemblage here, one person starts you off and then the  next person adds the extras and does the rolling.  The woman rolling them was lovely but when I saw the burrito ahead of me falling apart mid fold* I was a bit worried about what was in store.

I needn’t have worried.  Whilst her folding was a bit shambolic (and possibly one of the reasons that there was a large queue forming behind me, although it is more likely the queue was because there were burritos to be had!) the resulting burrito was far from shambolic.

And so, on to the burrito itself. I had the limey grilled chicken, black beans, salsa verde, cheese and jalapenos. Whereas the rice at Adobo was possibly too hard, the rice here was possibly a bit too soft but that’s a minor point because as a whole this was a thing of lovelieness.

I am not sure it’s a good idea having burritos so close to work. Ah well, as long as I can still fit through the door all is fine
!

*they ‘rescued’ it by tipping it all onto a fresh tortilla.  I guess that the flavours are all the same but I’d have been, perhaps a bit unreasonably,  a bit less than impressed if it had been mine.

Ceci N’est Pas Une Burrito

Now before you think I am going to be mean, this was not claiming to be a burrito.  However I am still chucking it in here until we start a not-a-burrito research unit.  Anyway, it looked like a burrito and they had at least three Mexican style offerings so I feel like it’s ok to include a quickie review.

I was waiting at the bus stop in Liverpool St on my way home, wondering what to have for supper.  I wait at this particular bus stop quite often so I had spied It’s A Wrap many a time before so I thought I’d give it a try.

I went for a Mexican style chicken wrap – it wasn’t the feeble kind of  wrap you get for lunch at Boots or M&S – they went all out to give you a fat one.    It had rice (very plain but thankfully inoffensive) and chicken in a light sauce and a few black beans and some guacamole.  He asked if I wanted it spicy so I said yes.

This was actually better than I thought it’d be but I don’t think I’d bother going back, it was weird having chicken in a sauce but at least it seeped into the bland rice and infused it with a bit of flavour.  The thing I really missed from a proper burrito is the actual individual flavours you can pick out.  I got a hint of coriander but it was coriander seed rather than the green crunchy herb.

All in all, it was ok and it was ok value-wise (and it was head and shoulders above the thing that had the temerity to call itself a burrito at work) but it was nothing more than ok.

Oh Dear Lord NO! aka I HATE YOU ALL FOR MAKING ME DO THIS

I recently had a ‘burrito’ at my friend’s place of work.  This was a relatively flimsy tortilla wrap with some steak inside topped with a bit of tomatoey sauce and a sprinkling of cheese.    It was actually ok but I wouldn’t call it a burrito. 

My place of work – anonymous Westminstery place – has burritos on the menu today.  It also has fish & chips.  One thing my canteen does really well is the Friday fish & chips.  All my colleagues have gone downstairs for the weekly Fish Club.  They’re all sitting there now eating fat chips, battered fish and mushy peas.  They’re wondering whether it would be too too ostentatious to squirt on another sachet of tartare sauce.  I, on the other hand, am back at my desk staring mournfully at what passes for a burrito in my place of work.

Look, I’m not stupid.  I knew it wouldn’t be a taste sensation.  I knew that my tastebuds would probably not be crying out for a repeat visit, especially given that they KNOW that I passed over the fish, chips and mushy peas.  But when I first saw what they were calling a burrito I did actually walk away towards the fish queue.    Then I remembered the disapproving faces of the scientific burrito research community and turned back and purchased a so-called chicken burrito.

Basically there were 2 bowls of rice with stuff mixed into it.  One was vegetarian and one was not.  She proceeded to fill a smallish flour tortilla from the chickeny rice bowl.  I say ‘fill’ but what I mean is she put a spoonful onto the tortilla and wrapped it.    Ok, so it was a bit on the small side – not the plump beauty I call a burrito – and the filling looked uninspiring.  One spoonful of a ready mixed rice thingy.  Hmmmmm, where were the beans? where was the salsa?  Where was the cheese? Where was the guacamole????

I still had to give this thing a chance and took a bite.  Ugh.  Dry and not much flavour.  They’d just made some kind of fried rice concoction with chicken, onion and a bit of chilli.  That was pretty much it.    Still, at least it was small…

Next time I see fish & chips on the same menu as work burritos, I will chose the fish & chips and Ya Boo & Sucks to the lot of you.  I did this for you and it was crap!

Work 'Burrito'

The things I do for you.

Today, at work, our canteen is serving burritos.  They will also be serving fish & chips as they do every Friday.  The fish & chips are delicious.  I think we can safely assume the burritos won’t be.  Still, I’ll be going in and ordering one just for you guys.  Hope you’re happy *sob* . I will report back.

I had a beautiful beef burrito last night, with a burrito virgin.  The only down side was the smell of drains wafting through Chilango Fleet St.  Ugh.