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Burrito Wednesday

I’m writing this up a lot later than I meant to, mostly cos I got delayed coming home from the Tiny Donkeys on the bus…not that there was any real reason for that, I’m just letting you know that I’m not (just) lazy! Maybe the crappy, wet, non-sticky, late-March snow is the reason for my delay…or maybe I’m just bitter about the snow cos it’s not real snow (until it stick) and because it’s not the right time of year for snow.

But anyway, I diverge from the real reason that I logged into my computer; to review yet another burrito. I’ve been back to Pablo’s today, with a larger group than ever before. Being Tiny Donkeys day, Craw and Aidan were with me, as was Craw’s younger sister, and two fellow engineers, who were to join us on the radio, due to our lack of normal hosts…

IMG00079-20130327-1706So my trip to Pablo’s was an interesting one today – I was feeling brave. And we all know what a combination of bravery and Mexican food means; the hottest salsa available. In the case of Pablo’s, that would be the Super Picante salsa… Oh yes, I went for it!

I had the Mexicali Mince burrito, which contains minced beef and chorizo as meats. Aside from these meats, there is rice, black beans and cheese in this burrito. I opted to add some guacamole to the mix, since I’ve been trying the guacamole elsewhere. And like I said, Super Picante salsa…

So let’s get to it! I’m going to talk about the salsa first, since that had the strongest impression on me today:

  • When I took my first bite, my reaction was something along the lines of ‘Sweet Jesus, that is hot…so so hot’, and everybody around the table will vouch for that. The difference in heat between Picante and Super Picante salsas is ridiculous, in terms of heat – this was on a completely different scale of heat. That said, after a few mouthfuls, it became more manageable (but no less hot) – I don’t think I’d fully psychologically prepared myself for the Super Picante! When the time came to leave, a large bottle of chocolate milk was very much needed to quench the fires in my mouth, throat and gut. That said, this was a tasty salsa – there’s some sort of mystery flavour to it, that is incredibly tasty, if you can handle the fire. This is definitely not one for the weak-hearted! (8/10)
  • In terms of consistency, this burrito was fine, but nothing particularly special. The distribution of ingredients was good, except for the guacamole, which I’d imagine was added after mixing the ingredients. My burrito was also somewhat messy – not soggy or sloppy, but it kind of just fell apart as I ate it. I think it was badly wrapped, which is something that I wouldn’t expect from Pablo’s; they’re usually quite good. (7/10)
  • When it comes to the size of burritos, I’ve always said that Pablo’s is better for lunch than dinner, simply because their burritos follow the mantra ‘quality over quantity’, for the most part. And, while this burrito was larger than the last time I dined in Pablo’s, it was still not a large burrito – I was somewhat hungry afterwards.  (7/10)
  • I very much enjoyed the beef in my burrito; this was the meat that there was most of in the burrito. It was tender and tasty, and had a nice herbal flavour to it. I wasn’t even sure that there was chorizo in the burrito until about half-way through, when I noticed a few small little pieces. It would seem that Pablo’s were less than generous with the chorizo. That said, it was incredibly tasty, just the portion wasn’t large. (7/10)
  • I’ll just run quickly through the other ingredients now: the black beans were a tad overcooked, but not too badly so. The guacamole was fantastic – it had the perfect mix of citrus and salt to it. The rice was a bit plain, but the herbs in the beef made up for that, and the cheese melted perfectly when it was toasted. (7/10)

So you’ll see that Pablo’s have done reasonably well with a score of 36/50. They’ve also given me the hottest salsa that I’ve ever had – my stomach still won’t settle, and it’s been nearly four hours since I took my first bite… Well, I guess that’s what I get for trying to be brave, and having the hottest salsa on the menu!

All in all, this is how the Mexicali Mince has faired:

  • Consistency & Texture: 7/10
  • Size: 7/10
  • Meat: 7/10
  • Salsa: 8/10
  • Rice & Other Ingredients: 7/10
  • Total score: 36/50
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It’s March and yet it’s snowing…

On this cold and snowy day in March (the end of March – seriously, why is it snowing, it should be warm and sunny and really tempting to avoid study by sitting outside), some of us were in the mood for a burrito for lunch. While we sat in the Mechanical Engineering department computer labs, we discussed where would be worth going to:

We wanted to walk as little as possible, but get the best possible burrito we could. It was decided (pretty quickly and easily, actually) that today should be Tuzo’s Tuesday. So just before 12, we trecked off down Nassau Street and up Dawson Street to get to Tuzo Mexican Kitchen. We left before 12 in the hopes of getting there before the lunch crowd, which worked quite well for us.

I was hungry; very hungry, in fact. So I decided ahead of time that I was getting everything I possibly could in my bundle of goodness. This should explain exactly why my burrito was so packed full of ingredients.

ImageBefore I get into my review of the burrito, I wanted to point something out to everybody who reads this. One of the biggest criticisms that I’ve made about Tuzo’s before is the fact that their ingredients are stored in water and juices, which makes for a sloppy and messy burrito. Well, I noticed today that the staff were ensuring that there were no excessive fluids in their burritos – it looks like they’ve taken my reviews under advisement. I’m actually quite proud of this!

Anyway, I’ll get to the point – my burrito. Inside my burrito, I went for the usual kind of ingredients – rice, pico de gallo, sour cream and cheese. The meat I went for was the barbacoa beef, and I had black beans in my burrito. I had the green chili salsa, and added peppers and guacamole to the mix. It was a magnificently full and round burrito…

The usual student deal in Tuzo’s is €6 for a burrito and a drink. Well, with the two additional ingredients that I had in my burrito (peppers and guacamole), I only paid 80c extra. So, including my drink, I spent €6.80 on a very large burrito. And here’s how it was:

  • The texture was not entirely consistent throughout the burrito – it was moist (but not sloppy or soggy) at first, and for about three quarters of it. It was during the final quarter that the consistency fell apart, as did the burrito – it was a bit of a liquidy, soggy mess, where the liquids had all settled as I ate it. It was not the messiest burrito I’ve ever had, however, just slightly messier than expected. The distribution wasn’t too bad either – the ingredients were layered on top of each other, so biting it in the correct orientation meant a good mix of ingredients in each mouthful. (7/10)
  • I can’t think of a burrito who’s size is more deserving of a perfect score than this one. It was large and well-stuffed with very generous helpings of ingredients – even as I continued to pile more on. For lunch, this was one of the more filling burritos I’ve ever eaten, and I would have been more than satisfied after having this for dinner, too. I am still full after eating this, having finished it two hours ago. (10/10)
  • Barbacoa beef is probably my favourite meat to have in a burrito (except the pulled pork that my mum cooks, but nowhere comes close to that!). While the beef from Tuzo’s today was very tasty – it had a good smokey, barbecue flavour to it – I was a bit disappointed. It was quite tough, and a little bit fatty (not too bad though). The meat was very dense and close-packed – it came out in large chunks, rather than pulling apart easily with each bite. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it, I just expected better (6/10)
  • As far as salsas go, this was a mighty fine one. There was a good amount of background heat off it, but it was not so spicy as to overpower the other flavours in the burrito. There was a nice green chili flavour from the salsa, but the flavour didn’t last very well. (8/10)
  • My first bite of burrito gave me an opinion on the guacamole; it was tasty, but far too cold – it should have been warmer, so that it blended with the rest of the ingredients a bit better. While it was tasty, the flavour was a bit lacking – some more salt would have brought the guacamole to life. The beans were absolutely perfect – the shells were hard and crispy, while the inside was soft, which is just how I like black beans. The rice was good – the portions have improved, and it wasn’t dry, but there was no notable flavour. I very much enjoyed the peppers, they were very tasty, while the pico de gallo was fine, but just a tad bland. (7/10)

You’ll see, adding up the scores, that Tuzo’s have fared as well this time as they did the last time I visited them – getting a very respectable score of 38/50. They seem to have found a good place to rate, and are maintaining their consistency of score, and certainly offer an enjoyable burrito!

There are two reasons that I did not take another picture of the burrito:

  1. I was enjoying it too much, and didn’t want to stop eating it
  2. My hands were covered in salsa, and I didn’t want to ruin my phone

So all in all, I had a very tasty, very filling lunch from Tuzo’s today, and I’ll be trying somewhere else now tomorrow, being Tiny Donkeys day.

  • Consistency & Texture: 7/10
  • Size: 10/10
  • Meat: 6/10
  • Salsa: 8/10
  • Rice & Other Ingredients: 7/10
  • Total Score: 38/50

The beginning of the weekend

Yesterday evening I was due in work at 7pm, and really fancied a burrito beforehand. So I decided to go into town a little bit early, and grab myself a tasty one – I needed to enjoy it before the nine hour shift that I had ahead of me! So, since I wanted to be guaranteed to enjoy my burrito, I decided that Little Ass Burrito Bar was the place to go.

LAB recently started their delivery service, and, while the burrito bar wasn’t particularly busy, the cashier was busy on the phone with customers who were availing of this service. It’s good to see that people can get a burrito without leaving their house! If I lived within the delivery radius, I’d definitely make use of the delivery service quite often.

ImageBut anyway, I should get to my experience with LAB. As usual, the staff there were delightful. The cashier was clearly busy taking orders on the phone, but she stopped talking on the phone just to apologise and ask me to wait a minute, and was as friendly and as cheerful as I’ve come to expect from LAB.

Being a student, I went for the student deal, which is €5.50 for one of several burritos. Adding the cost of the can of coke that I had with the burrito, I spend €7 on my burrito – the Pukka Poya. This particular burrito contains lime rice, chicken, pinto beans, jack cheese, sour cream and coriander. The salsa that I went for is the mango salsa, the number three salsa on the LAB menu. I also added some fresh jalapeños and crushed up nacho chips to my burrito, which are free of charge on the LAB menu.

I’ll get straight to business, and rate my burrito experience:

  • The first bite of my burrito was fantastic, in terms of texture – there was a bit of everything in there. It was soft and moist, but not messy, with a solid crunch from the tortilla chips. While the first bite wasn’t messy, it did get slightly sloppy as I ate it – nothing too bad, but worth noting. This was a well-wrapped burrito, too; it didn’t fall apart, right down to the very last bite. The distribution of ingredients was fantastic, for the most part – the last few bites weren’t great, and consisted mostly of rice. (8/10)
  • The first thing I noticed about this burrito is that it was a large, round burrito. As I ate it, I couldn’t help but take note of the very generous helpings of all the ingredients in it – especially meat. It was a filling dinner too – my hunger was perfectly satisfied before work, and I’d been quite hungry going in for my burrito. (9/10)
  • As far as the meat is concerned, it was good, for the most part. There were some decent chunks, cut to the perfect size, and it was clearly some good quality chicken. The marinade that LAB use is something special, it really brings the burrito to life, adding another layer of flavour to it. That said, there were pieces of chicken that were quite overcooked – it was tough and charred in places. (8/10)
  • I picked the mango salsa because it is probably my favourite salsa in any burrito bar, so LAB had a lot of expectations to fill with this. But they did not fail to maintain my expectations! The salsa was quite hot – bearably so, but hotter than I’d expected for a middle-range salsa. The reason that I like this salsa, however, is because of the brilliant fruity flavour from the mangos in it – it somehow counters the heat of the salsa, without making the burrito too sweet to enjoy. This salsa is perfect for somebody who enjoys a good kick of heat from their food, but with a notable flavour from it, too. (9/10)
  • For the first time in any burrito bar, I think I had the perfect rice in my burrito. It had a great flavour off of it (as usual for LAB), but was also sticky (but not too moist or too dry – it was just right). I was afraid that there would be too much coriander in the burrito – it has happened before in LAB – but this fear was unfounded; there was just the right amount. The pinto beans were a bit disappointing – they were undercooked, and quite hard and tough. The jalapeño peppers were very tasty – clearly fresh and they added a nice bit of heat to the burrito. The nacho chips are something nice in a burrito – I’d never tried that before, and I really enjoyed that addition. As far as the cheese is concerned, there was probably enough of it, but the burrito could have done with more toasting, to melt it better. (8/10)

ImageSo you’ll see now, adding that up, that LAB have got something good going on – they are very consistent in their burrito scores. Another very impressive 42/50 – just one point off the top spot that Café Azteca still holds. Nonetheless, this was a very enjoyable burrito.

  • Consistency and Texture: 8/10
  • Size: 9/10
  • Meat: 8/10
  • Salsa: 9/10
  • Rice and Other Ingredients: 8/10
  • Total Score: 42/50

A change of pace

Yesterday, after a week long hiatus from burrito reviews, I promised something special for my readers today. It’s still food related, and it’s Mexican food, but I will not be reviewing a burrito today. I’ll be reviewing something that could potentially be the next big thing in the world of proper fast food in Dublin.

What I’m talking about is tortas, specifically those from the (relatively) new torta shop that Pablo Picante have opened in Clarendon Market. I believe that this shop has been open since December, or thereabouts, but I’m not exactly sure when it opened. I’ve been meaning to give it a try ever since, having read about it on Twitter on more than one occasion, but I never got around to it. Until lunch-time yesterday, that is.

Before I go into my review of the torta that I ate in Pablo’s, I’ll explain briefly what a torta is. In Mexican food culture, a torta is, for want of a better word, a sandwich. But it is not, however, your everyday slice of ham and slice of cheese between two pieces of buttered white bread. A torta is a sandwich that is filled (to the brim) with the types of toppings that one would expect in a taco or a burrito. And in the case of Pablo’s, the torta bread is a large piece of ciabatta bread, although (according to an article on Huffington Post), traditional tortas are served on a bread that is called bollilos. Not being sure what bollilos bread looks like, I’m assuming that ciabatta is a more than adequate replacement!

OK, so let’s get to business; what torta did I have? And what did I think of it?

Well, I had the Tinga Torta, upon the recommendation of a manager at Pablo’s. Inside the ciabatta bread for this torta, there was some slow-cooked, pulled pork, a jalapeño alioli, a purée of black beans and some spinach and rocket. I opted to add some cheese and jalapeño peppers to the mix, too.

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A torta from Pablo’s, which I’d recommend to anybody and everybody

I was very impressed with how the torta was presented to me – on an individual wooden chopping board. It was quite rustic, and the sandwich looked phenomenal. It looked almost too good to eat, in fact. But you all know me, I wasn’t going to allow food to go to waste! It was also a large sandwich – for €6.50, you could do a lot worse in terms of value for money.

And so I took my first bite. It was magnificent – to steal the cliché, it WAS like a party in my mouth AND everybody was invited. I was (and still am) incredibly impressed at how tasty my torta was.

Despite the fact that this was delicious, my torta was very messy. Reuben, Stephen and Niamh can all attest to the fact that tortas are, much like burritos, not to be eaten by those who fear getting their hands dirty as they eat. The messiness isn’t something to slow me down – I ate it quickly but I enjoyed every mouthful.

I was glad that I went for the extra jalapeño in my torta – I was in the mood for some spicy food, and even with the extra, this was more of a mild, background heat than anything outstandingly hot. Not that there wasn’t a good flavour off of it; the fresh jalapeños really do make a huge difference in flavour when compared to the jarred, pickled jalapeños that are available in most shops. This would be perfectly safe for those who do not enjoy their spicy food.

I also have to point out the quality of the bread; the ciabatta was incredible. It was fresh, lightly toasted (just enough that it was crispy at the edges), and held the sauce from the meat very well. I’d be surprised if I found out that the bread wasn’t homemade – it certainly tasted like something they’d make themselves, in Pablo’s.

And so I finished my torta, quicker than I’d like, but I just couldn’t stop myself – it was too tasty to eat slowly. And I was quite full after it, too – it was as big and as filling (for lunch) as a burrito from Pablo’s or from many other burrito bars. And I’d recomment Pablo’s torta’s to anybody who asked, as I’d recommend burritos.

This was a good lunch, and you can consider it a fact that I’ll be back for another torta soon!

Don’t worry, I haven’t gone away

I realise that I haven’t been posting about burritos much lately – only one last week, and this is the first time I’ve posted since. Don’t worry though, it’s not that I’ve lost interest, or become bored of burritos (as if that were possible!), I’ve just been busy with college and St Patrick’s weekend at work.

But now I’ve got something to post about. And, to make up for the lack of posts lately, I’ve got a something special lined up for tomorrow. Something that isn’t quite burrito related, but that I think you might find interesting. But I’m not going to give it away (to those of you who don’t already know) now, you’ll just have to wait until tomorrow.

As I’ve mentioned countless times, Wednesday is Tiny Donkeys day, and so the traditional burrito was to be had. As per usual, Craw promised to come find us in the burrito bar at some stage during our meal, but instead just showed up late to the studio. Reuben was too busy working on an assignment for a burrito, and @Radiiqur wasn’t able to do the show today. So it was just myself and ACon for burritos.

As ACon has never been there before, and since I wanted to go back (mostly the latter), we went to Tuzo Mexican Kitchen for our dinner today. After today, I’ll have had every meat that is available in Tuzo’s, meaning that I may be finished with my first burrito bar, for the competition anyway. There are several ingredients I have yet to try there – the guacamole among them. This will be something to try out before I close the (competition) books on Tuzo’s.

However, this was not about discussing where I stand in my burrito quest (although that is coming along nicely), this is about my latest burrito. And for that reason, I’ll get straight to it!

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I went for pork today, being the last meat that I’d yet to try in Tuzo’s. Aside from the meat, I had the usual rice, cheese, sour cream and lettuce combination that I’ve always had in Tuzo’s. I chose pinto beans and the hot salsa, coupled with some pico de gallo.

And boy does this burrito look good, don’t you agree? Well-presented to the customer, I have to say!

  • In terms of consistency, the first bite was absolutely great. There was a good crunch from the lettuce (which I’ve never had just from lettuce before), and a good mix of ingredients. As I’m sure you can tell from that, the distribution was pretty good, there was a great mix of ingredients throughout the burrito. While it was pretty good in terms of consistency, it was not great – this burrito was one of the sloppier and soggier burritos that I’ve ever eaten – it was incredibly messy. What a shame too, because if not for that, it may have come close to a perfect score. (7/10)
  • The size was very reasonable, for a burrito (and drink) that cost €6. It was a good, large burrito, which left me quite full after it – the portion sizes were pretty decent, especially the meat. While it wasn’t a dense burrito, it did not compress at all as I ate it, so it retained its size pretty well. It’s somewhere between the perfect size for lunch and for dinner – too much for lunch but not quite enough for dinner. (9/10)
  • The meat was quite tasty, if a little dry. There was a good, generous helping of pork, which was a little bit tough, but not too bad. It seemed to be slightly overcooked, which is a shame. (7/10)
  • The salsa was better this time than the last time I ate at Tuzo’s. While I had the same salsa, this was not as overpoweringly spicy (a smaller portion, distributed more evenly throughout the burrito certainly helped). It was some nice background heat, in terms of spice, which complimented the flavours of the pork, the beans and the pico de gallo, without masking them. It could have been spicier, as one would expect from the hottest salsa on the menu, but that is not a huge complaint. All it did was add a peppery, smoky flavour to the burrito, which was certainly very enjoyable. (8/10)
  • The rice was as good as usual, a small portion, but not as dry as the last time I ate in Tuzo’s. The coriander was in just the right proportions, meaning that it wasn’t an overpowering flavour. The lettuce was a bit yellow and old, or possibly from the centre of a head of lettuce. Either way, it was quite bitter, despite the nice crunch it gave. The cheese, on the other hand, melted perfectly, while the pinto beans were large and perfectly cooked – they fell apart in my mouth, without the need to be chewed. The pico de gallo was delicious too, and was mildly peppery, as with the salsa. (7/10)
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I couldn’t not show the beautiful ingredient distribution

Tuzo’s have done well for themselves this time, resulting in the highest score that they’ve yet received from me in my quest – 38/50. Certainly something to be pleased with!

The one thing that I’d mention about Tuzo’s is the lack of consistency between staff members there. A different member of staff made Aidan’s burrito, which was much smaller than mine, and had a much smaller portion of meat in it. That said, his was a lot less messy to eat, so he managed to keep his hands clean while he ate, whereas I looked like a savage who’s never learned to eat properly.

All in all, I’ve had a good day for food, but you’ll hear about the rest of my day tomorrow. Until then, good night!

Tiny Donkeys day again

It’s Wednesday again, which (as we all know) means that the Tiny Donkeys is back on. It was good to have most of the usual crowd in the studio tonight – lacking the young Mr Tapley, but sometimes, college work has to come first.

This means that it’s also burrito day, although I mixed things up a bit – I had a lunchtime burrito, and had my sandwich for dinner. Shocking, I know!

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Reuben and Craw partaking in the traditional pre-burrito toast to each other

That said, I did sit in the burrito bar of choice while Craw and Reuben partook in their wrapped bundles of magnificence. They went to the same place that I dined at for lunch, the same place that I got dinner from for my last review – Tolteca on Suffolk Street. What can I say, I was in the mood for a trip there, as were several of my friends (Paraic, most of all).

I’ve not been to Tolteca during it’s busy lunch hour before, so I can’t be sure if it’s normally that busy, or if their widely publicised free burritos last week have done them a world of good, in terms of attracting customers. What I can say, however, is that the group of us (six in total, at first, followed by another shortly after that) got to Tolteca just in the nick of time. We were at the front of the queue as it built up, and we just managed to grab a couple of tables to seat us all.

I sincerely hope that Tolteca remains as busy as it was for lunch today – they have a good location, and one of the largest areas to seat customers. The only correction that I’d make to the layout would be to have more tables and chairs, so that more people can sit down.

Since my last burrito in Tolteca, I’ve been in correspondence with them via Twitter. In that time, I’ve been challenged to eat three burritos in Tolteca, in one sitting. If I manage to do this, Tolteca have promised to reimburse me for my burritos through food vouchers for their stores. I have to say that I’m very, very tempted to take them up on this challenge – although it is suddenly becoming a lot like Man Vs. Food… And as we all know, food always wins in the end…

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Food always wins in the battle of Man Vs. Food

If I am to do this, I’m likely to try it next week, and I will (of course) post the video/photographs here for the world to mock me!

Anyhow, I should get back to my burrito. Today’s burrito consisted of white rice, stir fried vegetables, black beans, chicken, pico de gallo, cheese, sour cream and lettuce. The salsa I went for was, once again, the lightning chipotle salsa.

  • My first bite of the burrito was actually quite disappointing. The tortilla was quite tough and difficult to bite through (although this improved after the first three or four bites). There was a great crunch from the vegetables, which is something I quite enjoy. I found this particular burrito quite dry (a first, I know!), which accounts for the fact that it was not even slightly messy, as well as the fact that it held together very well, right up until the last bite. The distribution of ingredients, as it was last week, was very good indeed. (7/10)
  • This was a good sized burrito, filled up well with ingredients. The portions seemed a little bit small (for the rice and meat, anyway), but I was still satisfyingly full afterwards. For €5, I was happy with the level of full-ness that I got for my money, and this is a very good sized lunch – possibly too much though. I was more full this time than I was the last time I ate in Tolteca. (9/10)
  • The chicken in this burrito, if I’m perfectly honest, was pretty average. It was cooked well – it had a nice char-grilled flavour off it, that wasn’t too overpowering, and it was cut into good sized chunks. It was, however, very chewy and fatty, and quite dry. I was disappointed with this, considering how good the pork was last week. (5/10)
  • The salsa was also a bit disappointing, this time around. It was not nearly as hot or as well flavoured as it was last week – it was just noticeable in the burrito. And that’s not to say that I had more sour cream this time around, because I had the same amount – I was just expecting something a good deal better. Perhaps it was not their best effort… (6/10)
  • The other ingredients seemed to be fine, but not as good as last week’s. The rice was a bit dry and lumpy, and there could have been more cheese. The beans were slightly overcooked, although they were still incredibly tasty. I was very happy with the vegetables, which were fantastic, as usual. The lettuce was also perfectly good. I quite liked the pico de gallo that Tolteca offer, and I would recommend it to anybody. (7/10)
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Just after my first bite. You can see just how good the distribution was

I feel like I complained about that burrito quite a bit, which does not do Tolteca justice. This was a tasty burrito, and I enjoyed eating it, I just thought that it lacked the pzazz that was offered last week. That said, they were busy today, and that must account for something. Still, a score of 34/50 is not bad at all!

I have also been asked to mention, in terms of the atmosphere in Tolteca, that Paraic was very happy to sit there and eat. He was happy because, mid-burrito, Queens of the Stone Age began playing in the store. So if anybody from Tolteca happens to be reading this, keep the good music playing!

  • Consistency and Texture: 7/10
  • Size: 9/10
  • Meat: 5/10
  • Salsa: 6/10
  • Rice and Other Ingredients: 7/10
  • Total: 34/50

Caoimhe’s first time

Since we’d missed National Burrito Day, a group of us decided that, before our trip to the pub for a few drinks, we’d stop by Tolteca and pick up a burrito for dinner yesterday. Tolteca had been on our minds because of the free burritos the day before, but we knew that the queue would be much more manageable yesterday evening.

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The offering from Tolteca

So five of us went for burritos in Tolteca, and it was the first time that Caoimhe had a burrito – we were certainly hoping that she’d enjoy it too! She is a picky girl, in her own words, so she was worried that she’d be letting us down if she didn’t enjoy her burrito… But I’ll come back to her opinion on burritos later on.

The staff in Tolteca seemed to be in a great mood when we got there – I’m amazed, because I’d have been exhausted and cranky after the day they’d had on Thursday. According to their Twitter account, Tolteca were making 72 burritos ever twenty minutes for National Burrito Day – that’s almost 1300 free burritos that they gave away between 1pm and 7pm!

We had a laugh with the staff about how busy National Burrito Day was for them – we told them that the queue was too big, so we decided to be paying customers instead. They certainly didn’t mind that, and I think that they put some extra effort into our burritos for that.

One of the things that I really like about Tolteca is their free refills policy on drinks – they give their customers a cup, which we can fill from their soda machine. That said, maybe it’s not such a good idea to let customers get their own drinks; I stopped paying attention for a second, and accidentally poured Club Orange all over my hands (I wasn’t even drinking Club Orange)!

OK, I’ll get to the burrito. Tolteca do a student deal, for €5, which gets their customers a burrito and a drink. On my burrito I got white rice, pinto beans, stir fried vegetables, Carnitas (pork), pico de gallo, sour cream and cheese. The salsa that I went for was the lightning chipotle salsa – their 4-chilli rated salsa.

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The napkins that Jen was so pleased with

As with the last time that I ate in Tolteca, the burritos were presented very well; perfectly wrapped in foil, and placed in the red plastic baskets. Jen was quite impressed with their napkins, which are 100% recycled, although Niamh reckons that this didn’t make up for the size of the receipts – she reckons that they’re a waste of paper! OK, now I’ll get to how the burrito was:

  • My first bite of burrito was fantastic – there was a solid crunch of vegetables, with a mouthful of every ingredient. The distribution was almost perfect, from the beginning, and it didn’t change until the last bite, which was a mouthful of salsa and tortilla. It was quite moist, but managed not to be soggy, for the most part, which meant that the burrito held together well despite not having been toasted. It was only in the last few bites that the burrito became soggy and fell apart, and this is the point that I made a mess of myself with the burrito. Still, in terms of consistency, this was a pretty good burrito (8/10)
  • For €5, this was a good sized burrito. It was quite round, and not too short at all. The ingredients didn’t compress all that much as I ate it, and I was quite full afterwards. Admittedly, I wasn’t all that hungry going in, but this was certainly a bigger burrito than one would need for lunch. I reckon that this particular burrito fits between the perfect size for lunch and dinner. (8/10)
  • The pork was absolutely lovely, and that is probably the second thing I noticed about the burrito (after the great crunch in the first bite!). I chose it because it looked so good in the contained – shredded perfectly, moist. It tasted as good as it looked, and was very succulent and tender. It was clearly some good quality meat, and I was very glad that I chose it. The only problem I’d have with it is that it was a bit cold, and they didn’t drain enough of the water off of it. (9/10)
  • The salsa was good – it was quite hot and a little bit smoky. It tasted kind of like habanero salsa, rather than chipotle salsa. Honestly, I think that without the sour cream in my burrito, I wouldn’t have been able to deal with how hot it was – at one point it was so hot that it overpowered the rest of the flavours in my burrito. That said, I’d recommend this to anybody who enjoys a reasonably good, hot salsa (7/10)
  • In terms of the remaining ingredients, I quite enjoyed them. The vegetables and the pico de gallo were clearly fresh and were made very well. I’d have been surprised if they hadn’t been fresh, though, to be honest – I’d imagine that they had very little left after National Burrito Day! This is the first time in a while that I haven’t had to complain about the rice being dry – Tolteca are doing something right in their storage process. The rice also had a good coriander flavour off of it – not so strong as to be overpowering, but just enough to notice it. The pinto beans, in my opinion, were undercooked – they were quite hard and tough, the whole way through. It’s just as well that I only asked for a small scoop of beans -this would have been much more disappointing had there been more beans in the burrito. I thought that there wasn’t enough cheese in the burrito, either, but the cheese isn’t the most important ingredient, so I’ll survive without it. (8/10)
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Some good ingredient distribution, I think you’ll agree

You’ll note that Tolteca have upped their score by quite a bit since the last time I ate there – this was an incredibly enjoyable burrito. My friends agreed too, that Tolteca were after becoming a serious contender for burritos – and with a score of 40/50, that should be clear to you too.

And now I’ll get back to Caoimhe’s opinion on her first ever burrito. She says that she enjoyed it, although she was too full to finish it. It’s just as well we had S-Dawg there to do the honours for her! So even though she was worried that she’d be too picky for a burrito, she seems happy with our decision to bring her out for burritos. At least, here’s hoping that she wasn’t just being polite around the rest of us, anyway!