La Salsa Pronto – Houston Intercontinental Airport

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At this point, my audience know that I live a go-go lifestyle. Scotch, burritos, and jet-setting around the country are standard fare. Waking up in strange places wondering where I am, who is next to me, and where the bloody hell are my pants is just another day in the life; so it’s no surprise that this time I found myself at George H.W. Bush Intercontinental Airport, suited up, and craving some nourishment. Lo and behold, I come across La Salsa Pronto! It appears to be the cliff notes version of the regional chain La Salsa. So put your seats and tray tables in their upright and locked position, and please be prepared for lots of turbulence.

Papa Pino has always been a stickler for punctuality and preparedness, so he dropped me off several hours early for my return flight to the District. Here’s a traveler’s tip for all you loyal fans of Pino de Gallo: dress like you’re important; it helps you justify running through the airport, knocking over little kids and old ladies, and lets you get through security without the porno-cancer scan or the TSA deep tissue massage (unless you’re into that sort of thing).  The last few times I’ve flown I’ve gotten neither… which was slightly disappointing after all the internet hype about the TSA’s Nazi-communist big brother machine of violation that is the gate keeper to flying. Next time I’ll be sure to get out of my east coast private university educated ivory tower and dress like a “real” American.

Git er done! And by that I mean please go away.

After making sure my cuff links were visible for the TSA agents, and flying through security (remember: big shot),  I mosey into the the feeding trough at the center of terminal C and figure this is as good a place as any to get a burrito review going. Hop in line, glance up at the menu and decide to go for the basic “grande” burrito. Listed at $6.49 – charbroiled chicken, guacamole, sour cream, salsa, cheese, lettuce, rice and beans. At a full La Salsa location, there is a variety of, wait for it…. salsas at their all you can eat and dip salsa buffet; but at the abbreviated location (thus the “Pronto!“) the salsas are pre-dished out in little plastic cups. I opt for the “buena” salsa and the pico de gallo. While the pico sufficed, the buena salsa was no buena. In fact, I would be bold enough to say that it was salsa mala (feel free to go to google translate for that one).

The “charbroiled” chicken was like that “nice” guy one of your female friends is dating – seems structurally sound but was tragically born without a personality… or in the case of the chicken – flavor.  And in this void of flavor, this absence of tastebud arousal, I had hoped that the cheese and the guacamole would swoop in like Spiderman and kiss me upside down in the rain (my teeth are much better than Kirsten Dunst’s though) . Instead, they left me hanging out to dry, worse than the opening to Cliffhanger. In my very wordy, roundabout, simile riddled way, I am saying that I was totally skimped on quality and quantity of both the guacamole and the cheese. Surprisingly, the rice was the Optimus Prime in this dying Cybertron shitstorm, because it was more than meets the eye. It did not look very appealing but it actually wasn’t that bad. Maybe that was just in comparison to the rest of it, but the bites of rice were mildly pleasant.

The end result was a not very tasty, undersized, overpriced, airline-food style burrito. Everything’s bigger in Texas… except the food at their enormous airports. Word of advice young travelers, if you are in the Bush Intercontinental Airport, skip La Salsa Pronto, go for Panda Express or something, at least their panda lo mein is tasty. Verdict: 1/5 sombreros

La Salsa Pronto
Houston Intercontinental Airport
Terminal C
3700 North Terminal Road, Houston, TX

Now the Official* Burrito Blog of the Washington Wizards!

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*Unofficial

Some of you may remember the sternly worded letter I wrote to the Baltimore Bullets Washington Wizards “basketball” team. I will spare you the details, but I highly recommend you go back and read it. I’ll wait… https://pinodegallo.wordpress.com/2010/05/14/a-sternly-worded-letter/

Welcome back. This resulted in the busiest day in Pino de Gallo history when I received a prompt response from the Director of Burrito Operations (DBO). His letter, and a breakdown of it, is posted here: https://pinodegallo.wordpress.com/2010/05/21/off-the-wall-john-wall-that-is-2/ Please go ahead and skim through that. Again… I’ll wait.

Man, you’re a slow reader. So a little while ago, I followed up with the DBO about when we could go. The day finally came, and with giddy, childlike excitement, Mabeuf, Jimmy James, Bonesaw, and yours truly headed down to the Verizon Center. There were pangs of nerves and hunger. We took plenty of pictures and I’m going to include some of the tweets I sent out during the game. (Tweets!)

 

Bonesaw & Jimmy - Top Notch Artists

Pregame Meal

The Javale McGee support system

Tweet: “Are you guys going to be embarassed if I start shouting ‘here we go wizards, here we go!’?” – Jimmy; the answer? Yes, we would be.

Much more picante up close
Also more picante up close
Nick “Forever” Young has never seen a shot he didn’t like

Tweet: Wow, the Director of Burrito Operations came through! Great seats! “HD doesn’t do Nick Young’s afro justice!” -Mabeuf
Tweet: Our first Epic Jafail moment… stupid goaltend. Then Nick “Forever” Youn drains a 3. Crowd around us not appreciating our signs… yet.

Although I didn't take this pic, I did see this in person

Tweet: Al Thornton just brought the house down with a RI-DIC-U-LOUS dunk!!

Then, the main event happened. Tweet: BURRITOS JUST DELIVERED TO THE 4 OF US @ OUR SEATS COURTESY OF THE WIZARDS & G-WIZ!

Burrito delivery service courtesy of G-Wiz

The guy on the left is the guy they planted to give us our burritos. We have no idea if we were on the Jumbotron because we were so excited at the prospect of burritos. My favorite part is the really confused guy in the Superman shirt. Not so super now, are you?

Burrito on the court!

Like Three Musketeers, but much more delicious

Tweet: So far Mabeuf & Bonesaw seem to have chicken burritos. My first 3 bites have been rice & beans.
Tweet: Ok, found the chicken! Delicious!

Living the dream

Lookin' good...

 

Sharing is caring!

 

Engrossed in the.... game... right

Tweet: “Wow, what a surprise: Mase finished his burrito before the rest of us got halfway through ours.” -Bonesaw. That’s why I run a burrito blog.

Better than the game

Tweet: “Ha there’s a kid w/ a signed Wes Unseld Bullets jersey in front of us. He must be a big Bul- uh Wiz- uh… DC basketball fan.” – Mabeuf

 

Sweet signed Wes Unseld jersey, bro

He's the foundation of our Yi-fense!

Tweet: Kiss cam may be my favorite part of every wizards game. Any way we could do this every quarter?
And with that, a bunch of white people on dance cam. Second favorite non-burrito related activity at a Wizards game.

 

The little white kids are funny because they get awkwardly excited & dance like they're having a seizure

 

Uh-oh, I think it's time to go...

Final Tweet: Uber successful trip to the game. Al Thornton’s career best dunk, a sweet Javale dunk, a 99-92 Wiz loss & burritos delivered to our seats

So, as you can see, it was a fantastic evening that exceeded our every expectations. I would like to thank the Wizards organization and the Director of Burrito Operations. Guess we can call it even now.

But wait! My beer wasn’t filled up to the top. This will not stand….

 

Mase & G-man. Boomtown.

Burrito King – Anchorage Alaska

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There's no democracy in the Great North

Editor’s note: We welcome back to the program Mabeuf! This was a review he wrote while stationed in a campaign in Sarah Palin’s Alaska. Thankfully he took time out of his busy schedule to set a distance record for Pino de Gallo. – Mase

Burrito King’s status as an actual ‘King’ is ambiguous at best. Your author is uninformed about the Trademark status of the phrase. At last check, 15 male porn stars had competing claims on the phrase and our benevolent judicial system has yet to weigh in on the dispute. A harder case for judicial reform would be difficult to erect.

Burrito King is a newer establishment. Its claim to the throne of burritos was clear from birth. After all it was conceived by Alaska’s undisputed royalty of Mexican take out chains, Taco King. Hereditary rule is clearly the only system of governance fit for the Mexican fast food industry. RE: Enchilada King, Emperor Tacos, etc.

We are all witness... to your douchery

Ordering is straightforward. The Burrito King menu features an uninspired variety of plate style burritos.

As a quick commentary on the flat-top burrito… These things are despicable. What could you possibly put on top of a burrito that you can’t put inside it? This is like putting a duvet cover on your limited edition Jeff Gordon coffee table. Using some hexagonal trash granny knitted to cover a crooked smile built by years of motor oil powered white knuckle thrill rides and smooth cheeks with a texture found only in a fresh pack of Hanes A-Shirt’s is a crime. Straight up criminal.

You should immediately judge every flat-top burrito you ever see on a menu. Judge them like the dude who wears a LeBron Heat jersey while giving a speech about ‘sticking with the team’ to the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce.

If your red/green/pico/hollandaise sauce/Chris’ World Famous Tomatillo Chipotle sauce does not belong inside the burrito, then it does not belong on the plate. If you respectfully or disrespectfully disagree with me, order the enchiladas.

Back to the story… Despite being burrito royalty, ‘The King’ only served up five burritos (Chicken or beef): Deluxe, Veggie, King, Small Soft or Taco.

Blackberry: the new meter stick

The difference between Deluxe and King appeared to be onions and cilantro. Astounding.

Your author got the signature King Burrito, within his awkward dietary restrictions of course.

Years of buying nothing at the supermarket but pretzels and Peeps left me unprepared for what I experienced next… heft. Straight up heft, this plastic bag felt like carrying a Harry Potter book and its attached 13 year-old reader.

For readers,

Pictured: Mabeuf waiting to get his burrito

I was disappointed with my trip to Burrito King and was not particularly excited about consuming it. However a combination of a 10 minute side-trip to buy Civilization 5 at Fred Meyer’s and Anchorage’s first 30 degree night left me feeling like Charles Barkley at the craps table… insatiable.

To start the burrito I took the guac off the top and tried to eat this bad boy vertically. Instant failure. The burrito is poorly wrapped and clearly meant to rest on the styrofoam like a beached whale. Forced to resort to my plastic fork and knife (place did not have sporks, I asked) I dug in.

The results were off-putting. The chicken is dry. Likely the result of a batch made early in the day and left to bake under the heat lamp all day. The red sauce in the burrito was reminiscent of ketchup. The burrito had no veggies. Zero. It was packing nothing but beans, dry meat, some onions and sauce. We are talking Sunday morning flea market style.

My favorite part of any burrito, the guac, was uninspired. It had a fleck of tomatoes in it and no spice. Green foam is an adequate description.

I built an armada of sauces from the salsa bar, but these failed to save this beached Wright Whale from a sandy demise.

Much as the Sacramento Kings have never ascended to the NBA’s proverbial throne, Burrito King will never be invited to Burrito All-Star weekend in Las Vegas. They may be given a booth at the fan-fest, but only if they provide their own insurance.

Ultimately, burrito King can stake the same claim to royalty as the UNC frat boy who stood on his balcony this past weekend bellowing “I am the King of the Party.”

Verdict: 1.5/5 Sombreros

Burrito King
111 West 38th Avenue, Anchorage, AK 99503-5652
(907) 569-2900

Finally a reason to watch the Wizards

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Tonight, Pino de Gallo will be traveling to the Washington Wizards game at the Verizon Center as they host the Atlanta Basketball Hawks. In case you don’t remember, this will serve as the follow up to my sternly worded letter per the Washington Wizards’ Direct of Burrito Operations response (https://pinodegallo.wordpress.com/2010/05/21/off-the-wall-john-wall-that-is-2/)  I will be accompanied by Bonesaw, Mabeuf and Jimmy James McBeard. I will be tweeting from the game so be sure to follow me @PinodeGallo. I will be doing a write up of our experience and taking lots of pictures that will go up sometime next week.

John Wall! Javale McGee! Josh Smith! Joe Johnson! Joe Johnson’s contract! It’s the NBA in Washington DC!

 

 

Javale to the Chief, baby!