On a crisp evening, after seeing a minor league basketball game… (I’m sorry, hold on; I’m getting word that the Wizards still play in the NBA! How bout that?), it was time for a Mexican night cap. Because no tequila could be procured in Chinatown, we had to settle on a burrito… and settle we did! Welcome to chain restaurants everybody!
The limited time only special was the California Screamin’ Burrito (regular size: $6.89). There was nothing screaming about it… unless it was screaming “I’m Mediocre!!!”, which is generally my job and I would have kicked its ass if that was the case. Ok, that’s not true, I just would have gotten passive aggressive and cranky that the burrito was stealing my mediocre thunder, but alas, I digress.
According to this stylish advertisement, the California Screamin’ Burrito includes “our signature blackened chicken, queso, California screamin’ sauce, grilled peppers and onions, Mexican rice, and salsa.” These ingredients intrigued me… queso is often a great addition to a burrito but is rare, the peppers and onions could compliment it nicely, and this doesn’t just have rice…. it has Mexican rice. Let’s see if this is as exciting as when I became old enough to distinguish between an “open bar” and a “cash bar.”
The California Screamin’ Burrito was much like the state of California’s economy: great in principle but terribly flawed. The rice was saturated and mushy, for lack of a better word. I enjoyed the grilled onions and peppers being included, but from time to time they were somewhat over-powering. I barely noticed the queso, and the “salsa” was little more than a few chunks of tomato in the burrito. And like a male stripper, this burrito’s meat was hidden until the end. Buried at the bottom of it was generally bland and dry chicken. And while dry, this was not amusing in the way a Brit’s dry humor regarding parliamentary procedure inevitably leads to a good laugh; no, this resulted in many trips to the variety of sauces that are available at every California Tortilla location.
The one redeeming quality about California Tortilla’s fare is the expansive array of sauces that are available (called the Wall of Flame). This includes a variety of interesting hard to find brands and flavors like BBQ Mango, Green Bandit Cilantro, and…. Colon Cleaner (which was really convenient since I don’t have health insurance). Unfortunately, this is not enough to really make it worthwhile. The sauces are like the white guys at the end of an NBA bench. Yeah, I’m sure they’re great guys and great for chemistry, but they’re not winning you any basketball games. And we’re here to win basketball games… I mean eat good burritos.
So maybe you’re doing a walk of shame back from Gallery Place on a Sunday morning, and you want your insides to feel the way your outsides look, then this is probably the place to go. But if you’re in the area, there’s a Chipotle across the street anyways, but we’ll cover that another day….
The Verdict: 1.5/5 Sombreros
728 7th St. NW
Washington, DC 20001