A while back, after my first review of Café Azteca, the owner got in touch with me on Facebook – I was really impressed at how quickly he figured out who I am. He had an idea, which he proposed to me: I’d tell him what’s in my ideal burrito, and he’d make it. If I liked it, he’d put it on the menu.
So the day came, today, when my burrito was ready to try. I’ve been looking forward to this for a while – and the fact that it came the day before my exams begin is a good sign for me, right? Café Azteca have decided to call this burrito Simon, Simonazo, in my honour (my name is Simon for anybody who doesn’t know).
The phrase Simon, Simonazo has a meaning in the Spanish language, as well, so the owner was telling me. ‘Si’ means yes, in Spanish, and ‘Simon, Simonazo’ means a very positive ‘yes, of course, absolutely’. The ‘-azo’ part of the word ‘Simonazo’ also means to hit – ‘Simonazo’ means to hit Simon, from my understanding. He wasn’t being violent here, he was describing the burrito as something that stands out, that will strike you as being different. I quite like it!
Aside from having a good discussion on Mexican food culture with the owner of Café Azteca, I ate my burrito too. My burrito consisted of thin pieces of beef steak, guacamole, Swiss cheese, pico de gallo, rice and refried beans. I came up with my own salsa to go with this burrito, as well – Azteca took their Omacatl Salsa and added pineapple and mango to it (among other ingredients). The owner added a few of his own touches to the salsa, too – there is fresh orange juice in it, plenty of garlic, some lime juice and some authentic Mexican ingredients which I can’t pronounce, let alone spell! There were eight habanero chillis in a batch of this salsa – I asked for something spicy and Azteca certainly delivered!
Omacatl is a deity in Mexican culture – he is the god of feasts and celebrations. It is said that anybody who dishonours Omacatl by not enjoying themselves during a celebration will be cursed. An apt name for a salsa, I think – if you don’t enjoy it, it becomes a curse.
So I’ll get down to what I thought of my burrito:
- The consistency of this burrito was pretty good – the distribution of ingredients was, in classic Azteca form, spot on. On the outside, this was a crunchy and well-formed burrito, while the insides were soft and warm. It was very moist and a little bit messy – not bad though! Its toasting certainly helped to hold it together much better. (9/10)
- As far as size goes, this was a decent sized burrito. I was getting full about two thirds of the way through it, and my hunger was well and truly satisfied when I was finished; this was a perfectly sized burrito for dinner. At around €7.50 for all of their burritos, Azteca are slightly more expensive than other restaurants, but you certainly can’t complain about the serving sizes that they dish out. (9/10)
- The meat was absolutely beautiful – it was cut into nice sized flakes and marinated in chilli and lime, which gave it a good – no, scratch that, it had a GREAT – fresh, citrusy, acidic flavour. It was perfectly cooked to how I like my beef cooked – still a little bit pink, but hot all the way through. Azteca clearly used good pieces of steak too – there was no fat to be found on it, and it was perfectly tender. (10/10)
- The salsa was something that’s on a different scale to anything that I’ve had so far, in my quest for Dublin’s best burrito. In Azteca, the salsa is not put into the burrito, but the customer chooses how much they want to add. So when a small bowl of salsa was placed in front of me, I could smell it, and it smelled absolutely fantastic, and quite unusual. Upon tasting it, I noticed that it had a refreshing kind of flavour at first, followed by an intense, flavourful heat. And it was hot – not for somebody who can’t handle a good level of spiciness – with a long lasting heat. But the spice didn’t overpower the other flavours, which is something that the owner prides himself on. It was also a fruity and sweet salsa, despite the heat, and there were some fantastic chunks of pineapple through it, which gave it an amazing texture. I think I’ve found a winner for my favourite salsa of all time! (10/10)
- I cannot find a single thing to complain about in the remaining ingredients, either: the rice is well cooked, nicely flavoured and there was some sweetcorn thrown through it, which was unexpected but certainly tasty. The guacamole was absolutely delicious, with just the perfect amount of citrus and salt to it – it was refreshing and cooling. The pico de gallo was, as Azteca always make it, very fresh and refreshing, with a nice herbal flavour to it, while the refried beans were pretty good too, and in just the right quantity. I agree with the owner that Swiss cheese goes very well with beef and with spicy food, although many people think otherwise – it added a nice smoky flavour to the background of the burrito, while melting perfectly throughout. (10/10)
So Café Azteca challenged me to come up with my perfect burrito, and helped me along the way with that, and those of you who are adding up the scores with see that this was as close to perfect as any burrito that I’ve had has come. A ridiculously high score of 48/50 – I genuinely don’t think that any burrito will beat this. I have a feeling that I’ve found Dublin’s best burrito, and that I have the honour of having it named after me!
- Consistency & Texture: 9/10
- Size: 9/10
- Meat: 10/10
- Salsa: 10/10
- Rice & Other Ingredients: 10/10
- Total Score: 48/50