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TCD Deal of the Week

January 23, 2013

Seriously, how slick are these cups?

I have started to think, lately, that burritos are like heroin. At least, they’re like heroin for me…the more burritos I eat, the more I want, and I can’t stop thinking about burritos and all the places I’ve yet to try! OK, I could be in love either, but I think a burrito addiction is (slightly!) less shameful than being in love with burritos…

Or maybe, somebody has drugged all of the burritos in Dublin, in an attempt to get the population addicted. I could be on to a dastardly (yet delicious) conspiracy here, and Caoimhe Moore, I’m looking at you as the ring-master of this tasty, tasty circus.

But enough about my addiction to burritos, and back to the cause of my obsession; the challenge to find Dublin’s best burrito. As any of my readers who are students in Trinity will know, Tolteca on Suffolk Street are the Students Union Deal of the Week, offering any burrito and a drink (with unlimited refills!!!) for €5. So I decided that the time was certainly right to try a burrito bar that I’ve never been to before.

Tolteca is definitely the best organised burrito bar that I have seen. There is a large, spacious seating area, that does not interfere with the queuing area. The burrito is made in front of the customer, very quickly and efficiently – I would say that my burrito took no longer than 3 minutes to make.

As with Tuzo’s and Mama’s Revenge, there is no set menu in Tolteca, but the customer chooses his or her own ingredients from a list. I decided to go for a burrito made with brown rice, stir-fried peppers, barbacoa (shredded beef), black beans, cheese, lettuce and a green chilli salsa. The green chilli salsa is the second hottest available in Toltecca, rating ‘3 chillis’ on their menu, where a 4 is the maximum.

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The presentation of the burrito itself was reasonably plain, just being covered in foil. For those customers who choose to avail of the option to eat in the restaurant, the burrito is placed in a red, plastic basket, lined with paper. I thought that this was a nice touch, as were the custom Tolteca cups, in which our drinks were served. In total, for the presentation of the burrito at Tolteca, I award a presentation score of 3/5.

And now comes the important part of the burrito review – how the burrito itself fares against my ‘scientifically’ determined, excessively thorough rating system…

  • I’m reasonably happy with the consistency of my burrito from Tolteca. The ingredients were moist and freshly cooked, but the burrito was not soggy (until the end, when the juices made for a sloppy last bite, but this was only a minimal intrusion of sog). The ingredients did not mix very well throughout the burrito (along the length of it was fine, but the circumferential distribution of ingredients was poor), which, coupled with quite a dry (but not stale) tortilla, has cost Tolteca a couple of points. (7/10)
  • The size of the burrito that I received from Tolteca was average enough – it was nothing particularly notable, although this may be due to the deal of the week. I was impressed to see that Tolteca, like Mama’s Revenge, use the largest available tortillas, but they are much more sparing with their ingredients, and there is a lot of tortilla folded over itself. For a €5 student deal, this was fine, but I would not be happy spending €7 to €8 (the prices from the menu) on this, as my hunger was not entirely satisfied. I would say that Tolteca burritos are probably more suited to lunch than dinner. (6/10)
  • There is not much that I can say about the meat – either good or bad. The beef was moist and succulent, as is to be expected when it is stored in warm gravy. It was also full of flavour, and the portion was reasonable. The one thing that I can complain about is the fact that it was all in the centre of the burrito, making for a very dense column of meat in the centre, contrary to the softer salad ingredients around it. (8/10)
  • I was quite disappointed with the salsa, to be honest. Not having experienced any serious heat in this challenge, so far, I was not expecting a mouth-melter this time, but I found the salsa to be very mild. It was also quite a flavourless salsa – the other ingredients seemed to dominate the flavour of the burrito, while the salsa left a (disappointingly small and short-lived) tingle on the tongue after each mouthful. (5/10)
  • While I am disappointed with the salsa, I have no major complaints to make about the remaining ingredients – apart from the fact that the rice was a quite dry. I am quite happy with the rest of the ingredients, despite the rather small portions. I have to say that the peppers were certainly a nice touch. (8/10)

This was a reasonably good burrito, all in all, which the score it has achieved will attest to. A total score of 34/50 is none too shabby, although I believe that there is room for improvement. I will be trying the spicier salsa on my next visit to Tolteca, in the hopes that this is an improvement. Despite the salsa, this was a very tasty and enjoyable burrito.

I have also had some comments on the burrito ingredients, from my favourite McGinn, which I did not allow to interfere with the rating of my burrito. Jenny says that the steak (which she had in her burrito) was quite chewy and tough, which made eating the burrito more of a chore. She also says (although I disagree) that the black beans were a little bit too hard for her liking – so if you would rather less crunch in your burrito, the pinto beans may be the way forward.

So now you have had input on burritos from Tolteca from two ‘experts’, and Tolteca have fared well. I might fit another review in this week, but it is more than likely that it’ll be next week before I get a chance to try somewhere else.

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