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An Old Friend

January 29, 2013

I quite like the bag that my takeaway was presented to me in!

I’m going to be honest with you here; I’ve been putting off going to Pablo Picante’s to get a burrito since beginning my quest, simply because Pablo’s is where I ate my first burrito. And because I have never not enjoyed a burrito there. Pablo’s holds a special place in my heart. I mean, they’re not perfect, but they are indeed glorious burritos…

Today’s trip to Pablo’s was a trip to the heart of Temple Bar, a journey which took me all of 5 minutes to complete, beginning at the front gate of Trinity. Quite the journey, I’m sure you’ll agree. And like all journeys, it was wrought with danger – pedestrian lights, cobbled roads that appear to be pedestrianised until some mad delivery van careens towards you, other sets of pedestrian lights, and even the occasional dragon. OK, I may have made up the dragon part (then again, I may not have made it up), but it does make the story seem much more interesting and exciting. In reality, I was hungry and I wanted a burrito.

So I went to Pablo’s, one of the two remaining places on the South Side of the city that I was yet to try, as part of this challenge. I shall venture to the North Side later in the week, but that is a story for another day. So I arrived at Pablo’s, wondering which of their burritos I would try…

OK, this is my fifth burrito in the challenge for Dublin’s finest, and you may notice that I have neglected one type of meat until now…chicken. So my choices were limited by the fact that today was the day for a chicken burrito – and I chose the Sonny San Diego.

The Sonny San Diego is a burrito which comprises of (besides chicken) rice, refried beans, cheese and salsa. I chose the Picante salsa, the second hottest on the menu – Super Picante being a foe I have yet to master. I know, it seems like rather a plain burrito, nothing particularly exciting – but sometimes, less is more.

What I love about Pablo’s is the way that they wrap foil around their burritos. In no other restaurant can one get a burrito that looks like a Molotov Cocktail, which is filled with spicy, fiery goodness. It’s also simpler to wrap the burrito in foil this way, and easier to eat from it. The picture of the Molotov burrito does not do it justice, however, as it got a bit battered on my trip back to college… Pablo’s also have wooden bowls, in which the burrito is presented to their customers, which are quite tasteful – although I could not avail of this, as I took my burrito back to college with me. I still award Pablo’s a 4/5 for presentation, even without the bowl.

So now comes the important part of my story, the review of the burrito itself…

  • My first impression of this burrito was that it was a bit dry, not to mention a bit plain. There didn’t seem to be any outstanding textures, although this improved as I ate it. The distribution of ingredients was poor – many being to one side or the other, but a couple of small bites from either side fixed that. I will say that the burrito was well-packed, without being overly dense (7/10)
  • This was a reasonably sized burrito – quite large and filling for lunch, but not too large! It was definitely more filling that the effort by Tolteca, and left me feeling comfortably full. Considering I paid €6 for it (and a can of Fanta) as part of their student deal, I am relatively happy with how full I am. (8/10)
  • I am pretty sure that it is the chicken that is at fault for the dryness of this particular burrito – it was slightly overcooked. I quite like how fine it was cut, however, making it easy to take bites of the burrito without taking half of the ingredients out at the same time. Aside from the meat being a little dry, it was reasonably flavourful (7/10)
  • I can describe the Picante salsa that I had on this burrito with one word: HOT! I am always (pleasantly) surprised at how hot the second hottest salsa is at Pablo’s – much hotter than any salsas that I have tried until now. While the few efforts that I have made with Super Picante salsa left my mouth numb and void of the ability to taste, Picante is mild enough that I can taste everything – and this is a flavourful salsa. It really adds another level to the burrito, with the tomato and onions in the salsa being the source of the good flavour (9/10)
  • As far as the other ingredients are concerned, there is not a huge amount to say. The rice was rather plain, as one would expect of white rice, and the cheese could have melted more – although it certainly helped to take the edge off the salsa. I quite liked the refried beans, which were evenly spread throughout the burrito, and tasted quite nice (7/10)

Pablo’s certainly have a serious contented with this burrito – having scored more than acceptably in every section. I award this magnificent piece of Mexican food a well-deserved 38/40

My first burrito of the third week of my challenge has been consumed, and I am excited for what the next location that I have in mind will have in store for me…

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