The Food and Wine Hedonist

leave your inhibitions at the door

Burrito Updates for July 2011

The Burrito Guide has been up and running for a few weeks and the HBI is working like a champ. I started off the guide with visits to national chains Qdoba and Chipotle, to calibrate the scoring.  Since then I’ve added four more choices, including my local favorite – BTB.  This is the place that used to be called Big Ten Burrito, but apparently the conference thinks a burrito place owned by a couple young punks is going to sully its name.   I typically don’t give a shit about college sports, but I would think that Indiana’s football team and Ohio State’s cheating misfortunes would do worse for the brand.

I also visited a couple new places – one very good, the other one of the worst I’ve ever had.  I’ll be heading to Chicago for a few days, so I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of tastings there.  Hopefully, I’ll be sober enough to take notes.



Restaurant Description: Independent, open late, relatively few meat choices.

Price: $7.50 includes tax

Atmosphere =3.  Original location is tiny, but BTB Cantina has space.  Not a whole lot of personality in either, but constant traffic gives the place a nice buzz.

Taste = 3.  Spanish rice instead of white.  Meat was tad salty but had nice texture and was juicy.  Pinto beans were perfectly executed.  Diablo sauce is hottest on the guide so far.

Heft = 4.  Maybe the largest in Ann Arbor

Messiness = 3.  Tightly rolled, dense.  Lots of juices, so messy in a good way.

Intangibles = 4.  Very fast, big plus is that they don’t do Subway-style assembly line.  Minus for steaming the shell – makes it easier to roll, but turns out rubbery.  This is my go-to burrito – cheap, very fast, great value, consistent.

Overall Score = 17


Indiana Discount Mall

Restaurant Description: This place is tucked in the back of the Mexican flea market in downtown Indianapolis.  (Yeah, I didn’t know they had Mexicans there, either).  Full menu.

Price: $6, pre- tax

Atmosphere =2.  A little bit of a dump (good), but take away the menus and loud Ranchero music, and it’s like any other food court.

Taste = 3.  Thin crispy tortilla, steak was firm and simply spiced.  No rice. Heft = 3.

Messiness = 2.  Not very tight, not a lot of grease.

Intangibles = 3.  Pluses for not steaming the shell.  Nice array of condiments – escabeche, cilantro, peppers, sauces.  Would have like to have seen  better performance from a place that’s run by and caters to actual Mexicans.

Overall Score = 13


Pacific Beach Burritos

Note: I don't have Dr J-sized hands. This thing is really that small...

Restaurant Description: Independent, featuring wide selection of meats, fish and BEER.

Price: $6.29 before tax

Atmosphere =2.  Inside looks like a 1970s-era Jack in the Box. From afar, the building is supposed to look like a sombrero.

Taste = 1.  Meat was tasteless, but maybe because there was barely any of it in the burrito.  Salsa was bland.

Heft = 1.  Miniscule, about ½ the size of BTB.

Messiness = 2.  Loosely wrapped-if this was a chick, we’d see nipples.  Some positive juice spillage, but not enough fillings to really get messy.

Intangibles = 2.  One point for outdoor seating – picnic benches in giant sandbox.  Another for serving beer.

Overall Score = 8


La Casita

Restaurant Description: Wow, an A2 place with Mexicans running it.  Sit-down, hole-in-the-wall with great selection of meat – steak, chicken,  carnitas, pastor, barbacoa (braised lamb), tripe, chorizo, and cabeza de res (Beef head).  For giggles, I ordered a tripe taco and a cabeza taco.  Tripe was had earthy flavor, but too squishy.  Cabeza was very good.

Cabeza de Res, Tripe

Price: $7.99 before tax

Atmosphere =3.  Used Styrofoam plates and it’s in a strip mall, the music was bad (which is a plus for a burrito joint).

Taste = 3.  Meat was plentiful, firm, but a tad bland.  Beans, rice, lettuce, sour cream, and guacamole were served on side.   So it’s hard to get at how combination of flavors tasted.  Beans were amazing.Salsa was uneventful.

Heft = 4.  Kind of hard to tell, because it was “deconstructed”.  Could tell that it would be huge if not served as a dinner platter.

Messiness = 2.  The way it was served meant using a fork and knife.  Meat wasn’t dripping with juices/grease, so probably wouldn’t be very messy.

Intangibles = 4.  Actual Mexicans working there, good selection of authentic sides and desserts.  Extra points for the Mexican Fatheads on the wall.  And I don’t mean George Lopez.

Overall Score = 16


About thefoodandwinehedonist

I don't know everything about the world of food and wine, but I'm not going to let a small detail like that stop me from blogging about it.

4 comments on “Burrito Updates for July 2011

  1. The Dutchman
    August 2, 2011

    Where is Pacific Beach? I want to be sure to avoid this

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      August 2, 2011

      It’s on Washtenaw in Ypsi… I think it’s just past Tuptim and used to be Pita Hut. Was seriously awful. La Casita is right across the street.

  2. The Dutchman
    August 4, 2011

    Did you go back-to-back burrito for an accurate taste test?

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This entry was posted on August 2, 2011 by in Ann Arbor, Burritos, Dining and tagged , , , , , .
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