Technical Difficulties!

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Hello Burrito fans,

I know you’ve been missing my presence, and while Little Peen is a nice holdover, he’s certainly no Mase. Unfortunately, I’ve hit some technical difficulties. The hard drive died on my laptop, and work has been too busy to do any blogging (sadly, I don’t get paid for this…. yet). A new hard drive is in the mail (thanks newegg.com), and hopefully I’ll be back up, running, and blogging this weekend. I promise to make it up to you with a flurry of posts in the near future!

Thanks!

Mase

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Viva! (Live!) Burrito

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Editor’s (aka Mase’s) notes: Little Peen returns for his second review on Pino(s) de Gallo. As always, my notes are in italics. You can find his first review here

Enter here for pleasure

So here I am, back for my second (and I’m sure long-awaited) review on Pino De Gallo. I’m back in Boston now, finally back from where Ma$e had carried me on his back as a young child over the Rio Grande (Large River for all of you who don’t “habla espanol”) in Texas. Unfortunately, it took me a while to get back to the Northeast because a certain Pase Mino spent our life savings on a block of ice to send down to our family in Mexico to keep them cool during the summer. I wonder how that worked out… regardless, it caused for a certain delay in my return to Boston.

Anyway, back to burritos. While there is not quite the vibrant Mejicano environment in Boston as there is in Houston, there are still some quality burrito joints (as demonstrated by The Pelon). The marijuana cigarette I went to is called Viva! Burrito, and is located very close to where I work (in the MA State House), right by Suffolk University. I also went with my co-workers John, Juli (yes spelled that way), and Jaime, which we can call ThreeJ (all of their names start with J…see what I did there?).

It was your typical Mexican restaurant, although a bit different from your typical burritoria. The menu was pretty big and rather intimidating. Not Vince Wilfork intimidating, but more like Jared Allen with a mullet intimidating. It wasn’t to the point where you feared for your life, but it’s still pretty daunting, but still inviting. Orders were placed at the register, and it was made in the pseudo-kitchen just to the left. You did not get to see your food being made or get to pick which things you wanted in it during assembly; you simply had to know what you wanted in it when you ordered. While they had all the normal things to put in a burrito, not being able to see what I wanted in front of me was a bit of a letdown. However, the price came out to be pretty cheap, and was only $7.44. I kept up my optimism, as did ThreeJ, because we had heard that this place had the “Best Burrito in Boston” [citation needed].

The best way to transport 4 sombreros in aluminum foil

I ordered a chicken burrito with black beans, brown rice, lettuce, cheese, sour cream, salsa (seemed to be pico de gallo) and guacamole. It took them a little while to make my food, about 5 minutes, but I was okay with it. I wanted my burrito to have the tender love and care a “Mama Grizzly has for her Cubs“. ThreeJ and I got our food and started hammerin’ away as quickly as “The Situation” plows through ugly chicks. ThreeJ ordered a chicken burrito (like me!), a salad with chicken (lame), and a taco salad (slutty). As I bit into the burrito, I immediately loved it. Everything was distributed nicely, unlike some burritos that are layered and you get bites of just rice or salsa. The chicken was unbelievably juicy, tender, and well-seasoned, and was far and away the best part of the burrito. The steamed tortilla helped keep the burrito’s structural integrity intact, which is a bonus every time. The brown rice I got in the burrito was also quite delicious and tasted as if it and the chicken were perfect for each other, just like Levi Johnston and Bristol Palin. This was a theme for ThreeJ as well, and they all agreed that both the rice and chicken were the best parts of their respective meals (for the TwoJ that had rice, at least). (I think we hit our Palin joke quota again)

The only flaws I could find in this burrito were that the guac and pico were mediocre and a bit runny, causing for a bit of a mess on my hands, and not the Tobias Funke kind. And although they were sliding downwards faster than Lindsey Lohan’s career, I still found them tasty. ThreeJ pointed out that the avocados tasted particularly fresh, but unfortunately the lettuce was moderately less fresh (pictured right).

Being that the flaws in the Viva! Burrito burrito were marginal, its overall quality was fantastic. I really can’t say enough about the chicken and the rice. They were simply delicious. ThreeJ reassured me that the sensation in my mouth was normal and indeed, quite enjoyable. And to top it all off, it’s in a great location and will look especially nice when the renovations to the sidewalk outside of it are done.

All in all, the quality of the burrito was superb, and at the price and setting there is no way you can go wrong with a Viva! Burrito burrito. While I feel it was not quite as good as El Pelon, it’s certainly nippin’ at its heels and also gets some cheap points for actually being in Boston (unlike a certain ‘Chestnut Hill College’ of Eagles) and being close to my work. Viva! Burrito gets a very respectable 4 sombreros. (Thankfully there is no limit to allowed number of cheap shots at BC)

And maybe now that I have a second review under my belt, Mase can call me “Slightly-below-average Peen,” or he can just come up with a better nickname all together. (Not happening.)


Viva! Burrito
66 Staniford Street
Boston, MA 02114-2525
(617) 523-6390

El Tamarindo!

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When I was growing up, weather changes were simply known as weather. Now, it’s “climate change.” O-M-Fing-G, a few months ago it was snowing, and now it’s hot! Climate change is real! Al Gore was right! It’s a left-wing plot to undermine the sanctity of marriage! The President can read my e-mails! The government put fluoride in my water! What a bunch of conspiracy BS.

Why did I start with a rant on “global warming”? Is it because I’m fed up with politics and happen to live in the political center of the country? Possibly.  Is it because I’m bitter that I used my life savings to buy a large block of ice to keep my family cool during the hot DC summer? You damn right I am. Am I just crazy? Haven’t ruled it out. Is the over-use of the rhetorical questions a gimmick to hide my clearly weak writing style? Let’s just say $120,000 doesn’t buy the education you’d think it would.

The District has been crushed by a brutal heat wave this summer rendering the outdoors nearly uninhabitable (yeah, that’s why I’ve avoided outdoor activities…right), but on this one night, this night of nights, it was not just bearable, but dare I say… it was nice out. So what better way to take advantage of nice summer weather than to sit outside with some friends and eat a burrito?

How I prepare for every blog post...

I met up with the always charming, beer brewing, rugby playin’ Chicagoan Jimmy-Jims and the ever classy, future high-powered attorney (sadly a BC alum, but I’ve come to terms with it) E-Vol.  We were formerly slaves to the man paralegals in Boston together, but got the hell out of there to pursue higher education. Thankfully the economy is better than ever and the investment (aka crippling debt) is totally paying off. Psh, it’s not like I took this girl’s advice and started crying over my master’s degree to pump myself up for going to work in the morning or anything….

El Tamarindo (Spanish for The Tamarind… which is a tree with funky looking seeds; and yes, I did have to look that up. Thanks Google!)  is not like many of the other burrito joints that are on the go/carry out establishments where the burrito is assembled in front of you. Call me a traditionalist, but I like to see what goes in my food. If I’m going to put something inside me, I want to sure of its contents so I don’t get any surprises. Crazy, I know. This “Authentic El Salvadoran and Mexican” restaurant had a very extensive menu.  Enormous even. It’s so big that they decided to break it into 4 separate pdfs on their website. Needless to say, we frustrated the waitress with our lack of decision making skills, while she frustrated us with her lack of English speaking skills, so it was more or less a wash.

I ordered the Santa Fe Burrito which was described in the menu as “Chuck Steak and beans rolled into a flour tortilla, topped with enchilada sauce, tomatillo sauce and melted Monterrey Jack and cheddar cheeses. Served (sic) guacamole, sour cream, and fresh fruit.” All for the low, low price of $13.99. Wait, what? Hmm, that is expensive, but like I said, this is a real sit down restaurant. Maybe the fruit jacked up the price?  I decide to roll the dice because, as we all know, the higher the price, the better the quality… right? I’m sure that’s why David Kahn gave Darko a $20 million contract.

I'm mauling this burrito because it was made inside out, not because I have no semblance of table manners. Ok, maybe both.

When the burrito arrived, I was excited but frustrated. The presentation was quite good, but I thought the slices of orange were superfluous and the sauce being on the outside of the burrito goes against the idea of the burrito. The beauty of the burrito is the delivery mechanism. Wrapped in a single tortilla, it should be easily edible and portable with no utensils and one hand if necessary. The sauce being on top of the burrito forced me to attack this thing with a fork and a knife… completely blasphemy that I am ashamed to admit even happened. About halfway through, I decided to give that up and just dive in with my hands like nature intended.


The chuck steak had a very good grill flavor, but I could taste that it was a cheap cut of beef. This degraded the experience because I never knew when I would get a chewy or fatty bite of poor beef. The rest of the burrito was mixed together well that each bite had an array of tastes and I never had that “Crap, that last bite was just lettuce, and this next bite will be just chicken” experience. The rice, beans, cheese and salsa weren’t particularly notable, but were not bad at all. They were there to simply compliment the beef and sauces without being distracting. The whole burrito was grilled, not on a steamed tortilla, as is my preference, but it was not over grilled so the tortilla did not dry out. This was probably affected by the enchilada sauce and tomatillo sauce (pretty much salsa verde) that was on top. While these sauces were actually quite yummy, they don’t belong draped on top of a burrito. At that point, it’s just a half-assed enchilada. It was great that sour cream and guacamole were included, but they were on the side, which as I said earlier, is on the wrong side of the burrito. What’s the right side? Say it with me children… The Inside!

Dive in, don't be shy!

El Tamarindo is a very good sit down restaurant in a great location. They have an extensive menu (although like many ethnic restaurants, it’s really just the reassembling of 3-5 main ingredients in a bunch of different ways). Either way, there were no complaints from my companions on their food. I would definitely return for a good Mexican meal, but if you’ve got a hankerin’ for a burrito, there are many faster, cheaper, and better places for that job. I’m sure if I was reviewing the restaurant as a whole, their rating would be higher, but this is after all a burrito blog, and must be judged as such. Would be a 3 sombrero, but price bumps it down to a 2.5 out of 5 Sombreros.

El Tamarindo
1785 Florida Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20009-2657
(202) 328-3660