Burrito number 23! Koi Palace.
It was team Vayable and Airbnb burrito dim sum time! Christopher and I went to Koi Palace with our pack of tortillas to eat carbs wrapped in carbs! We didn’t really want to eat a dim sum burrito, but sometimes you need to sacrifice your waistline in the name of joint team building while you’re on a burrito challenge. The rice noodles in the burritos were pretty intense and had a snot-like texture, but we had a pretty good time eating shrimp dumplings and vegetables in our burritos.
We also truly came to understand the passive nature of Chinese culture. We ended up staying really late, and they just let us sit there at our tables while they were setting up for a wedding. We actually thought that we were going to get draped in lavender flowers. Hehe.
Burrito #20! Mission Beach Cafe.
On Friday night, we had the best burrito ever! We walked into Mission Beach Cafe with a pack of tortillas so that we could make burritos, you know, as usual. When the waiter saw our tortillas, he said that he “loves it when people bring in their own tortillas,” somewhat sarcastically and disparagingly. We, however, won him over with our lovely charm when we told him about the burrito challenge.
He then went into the kitchen, conversed with the chefs, and BAM. They make us custom made burritos. Turns out that the chef was sympathetic to our cause because he’s a burrito lover himself. He lived without burritos for a period of eight months while he was in New Zealand, missed burritos, and had burritos straight (voluntarily!!) for two weeks! This place is bomb.
Burrito #18! Taqueria Cancun: super prawn burrito!
Last night Christopher and I went to Taqueria Cancun, the taqueria that I am convinced is one of the best in the Mission right with Papalote. The tortilla was cooked really nicely (slightly crispy, even), and there was this yummy green salsa with avocado. It was glorious!
Upper: tortilla, Downer: hmmm are there?, Rating: 5/5
Day 6 Sunday, Burrito 17
From the Tamale Lady at Latin American Club
The joys of eating a tamale burrito!
Day 6 Sunday, Burritos 15 & 16
Soyrizo burrito with mole
Soyrizo burrito with mole and mushrooms
Papalote Mexican Grill, 3409 24th St. (at Valencia)
(Where’s Burrito 14, you ask? June already posted about it!)
Papalote is far and away my favourite burrito spot in the city, but for some reason I’d yet to come to this place during the burrito challenge. In retrospect, this was a terrible mistake, because Papalote is the best thing that could ever happen to someone stuck with eating burritos for 14 days.
Why, you ask? Well, just look at their menu (which, as if further props were needed, is a real honest-to-God webpage instead of a goddamned PDF): soyrizo, mole, camarones, pescado, and chile verde, plus they offer occasional special dishes like chicken adobo and the triple threat (chicken, prawn, and carne asada, inspired by three Bay Area DJs and featured on one of Bobby Flay’s Throwdown!). You can throw in sides like mushrooms that don’t typically go in burritos but go with the typical rice and beans formula so well that it’s hard to believe that they’re not on every Mexican restaurant’s menu. And to cap it all off, they make a special roasted salsa in-house that’s gotten so famous that it’s now sold in local grocery stores as well.
What’s even crazier is that the burritos from Papalote don’t make me feel gross afterwards (and in the case of my first two breakfast burritos, result in unhappy moments on the john). I didn’t really believe them when they said they make everything “fresh and healthy from scratch,” but after eating there twice and feeling fantastic afterwards, I have to admit there must be something to their claims. And with the variety that Papalote offers, I can see myself coming back here again and again during this challenge.
Not that the variety is needed — as you can see, I basically ate the same burrito twice that day. That soyrizo is wonderfully savory.
All of this really underscores the fact that many spectators’ perceptions of this burrito challenge are all off: eating burritos for 14 days is not a guaranteed recipe for making you sick and bloated. Rather, it’s perfectly possible to craft burritos (or find them at great taquerias like Papalote) that are healthy and feature a diverse range of ingredients. No need to suffer!
Day 5 Saturday, Burrito 13
Ice cream burrito
The haters are really going to hate on this one, and I can’t blame ‘em. On face, it seems like wrapping a tortilla around an ice cream bar is just a cheap trick to skirt around the rules of the challenge.
But hey! turns out there’s precedent. From the nominally analogous Choco Taco to the straight-up full-on no-bullshit Taiwanese ice cream burrito (recipe here), this is a real thing. So sit your ass down and shut the fuck up while I enjoy my ice cream, bitches.
Day 5 Saturday, Burrito 12
BBQ Burrito: Mac and cheese, roasted vegetables, and artichoke
Golden Gate Ruby Conference
You’d think I would have learned my lesson. You’d think I would have figured out that if I didn’t want to starve this fortnight, I’d better be packing a bag of tortillas with me at every hour, ready to be whipped out at a moment’s notice for wrapping around any foodstuff my heart desired.
But that is not how the heart works, my friend. Nor the brain, nor the stomach, both of which, come to think of it, probably have more invested in the whole tortilla thing than the heart, which will probably only start caring on day 10 when it starts noticing that its job of pumping blood through the arteries has suddenly become a lot more difficult.
Luckily for me, you don’t need internal organs when you’ve got June Lin, who made an emergency tortilla delivery with only half an hour’s notice. And her smile was even sunnier than that Patrick guy’s! With a face like that next to your tortillas, how can you possibly hate the prospect of eating a burrito?
Especially, as it turns out, when there’s mac and cheese inside — because a mac and cheese burrito is FUCKING DELICIOUS. I mean, to be fair, I think a full-on mac and cheese burrito would leave you gasping on the floor, so you probably want to throw some vegetables in there like I did, but it is a damn tasty concoction. I can’t wait till this becomes an elementary school trend that its participants grow up to regret, like Tamagotchis or pet rocks.
Day 5 Saturday, Burrito 11
Leftover from June’s seventh burrito
June pretty much took care of describing this one, but I definitely agree that this is a delicious burrito. I kind of had to pick my way around the jerk chicken, but I could taste the smokey flavour that the rice had imbued, and it was fabulous.
Day 4 Friday, Burrito 10
Aloo gobi kati roll
Kasa Indian Truck
What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet
William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene 2
Does something wrapped in a roti count as a burrito? Hard to say. Roti is an Indian flatbread made from wheat, which seems pretty tortilla-like. Moreover, it is distinguished from its Indian flatbread counterpart, naan, by the fact that it is unleavened, which the burrito purists apparently claim is likewise one of the tortilla’s defining characteristics. But my instincts tell me that said purists would probably look down upon consumption of the roti, throwing around terms like “not real” and “cheaterrito.” At least we know what William Shakespeare would think.
But Shakespeare is long dead, and all we have left are the pretensions of knaves, so to be safe, I brought along a spare tortilla to the Golden Gate Ruby Conference’s afterparty at Public Works, which happens to be conveniently located across the street from my house (and I do mean convenient — at one point, I went home to exchange my sandals for shoes better equipped for dancing).
Square had sponsored the party, which really meant that the entire affair was a hilariously offensive advertisement for the company (witness, for example, this ice sculpture of the company logo), and as part of their effort to show off, they’d decided to have the party food served by a couple San Francisco food trucks, which notably rely on Square to process credit card transactions. I hear we were supposed to pay using Square’s new CardCase app, but as they had done a poor job making sure I knew that and as the app wasn’t even working anyway (or so I heard), I ended up using straight-up cash instead. Oops.
Back to the burrito: The kati roll was definitely one of the best burritos I’ve had yet — luscious curry goodness buttressing a thick filling of cauliflower and potato. Kasa runs a great restaurant at 18th & Noe, so it was great to see that their food truck kicks ass as well. Check out their schedule and follow them on Twitter so you too can join in the non-purist goodness!
Day 4 (Friday), Burrito 9
“Vaguely Mediterranean and/or Continental Conference Food” Burrito: couscous, risotto, roasted veggies
Enough of that shit. Time for burritos.
Or was it? I was halfway through the first useless talk of the day when I realised that I’d forgotten to bring my pack of tortillas with me! The nearest grocery store was 20 minutes way, and there was no hope of the complimentary conference lunch serving Mexican food — the attendees were far too white for that. Nope, there was nothing I myself could do; I was going to have to turn to the power of the cloud.
And turn I did, as you can see by this TaskRabbit page:
Bring me tortillas at Mission Bay Conference Center
Task Price: $20
Estimated expenses: < $25
I am on a 14-day burrito-only diet (it’s a bet with a friend that I would very much like to win), and I am at a conference where they may not have burritos. I need you to bring me tortillas within the next hour (before 1 PM), so I can wrap the food here in the tortillas and have it qualify as a burrito.
I am at Mission Bay Conference Center in UCSF. The address is 1675 Owens St.
I didn’t really have high hopes, since the last time I’d used TaskRabbit, it didn’t really turn out that well. But it’d worked the one time we needed Keystone Lights for Airbnb brogramming day, so maybe it’d work again.
And it did! Exactly nine minutes after I’d posted my task, I received an email from Patrick:
I’m on my way to get the tortillas. Do you want flour or corn? Thanks.
And do you have a number where I can reach you when I get there? i should be there very shortly.
In another 15 minutes, he’d arrived at the conference and handed me my tortillas with a big smile. The entire experience was so prompt and pleasant that I think Patrick deserves his very own plug right here in this blog. TaskRabbit, make this man your Rabbit of the Month!
Unfortunately, the conference food was nowhere near as good as Patrick’s service. The usual pseudo-Mediterranean/New American crap, with limp Caesar salad dressing and overroasted vegetables. Thank God I had some happiness-infused tortillas to save my lunch.