8/4/09

Border Crossings - Burritos in Mexico City

I can’t say I ever ate a Tex-Mex meal I really liked. The concept seems to me like the worst of both worlds. And at the risk of alienating my Bay Area Buddies, I’ve always secretly hated burritos. I mean those two pound sinkers containing mushy beans, watery guacamole, flaccid cheese, weird orange ‘Mexican’ rice, chili-less salsa and more. I know they are made, sold and eaten by Mexicans, but does that make them Good Food?
Burros (better known by their diminutive burritos ) are really another name for tacos, only in the northern states of Mexico are made with wheat tortillas rather than corn. It is rare to find them in La Capital.
That’s why I was curious about a stand I pass all the time on Av. Insurgentes which always seems to have flocks of people around it: Los Burritos.
This neighborhood institution is set against a triangular city block which houses a lone, shuttered Porfiriato mansion which has sat forlornly for years like Madama Butterfly waiting for her Pinkerton, hoping to be rescued from the encroaching glass and steel forward-looking-only madness of the newly energized Reforma.
Los Burritos is always crowded with office workers, policemen, housewives and hipsters and I discovered why. The burritos are made Sinaloa style. There are eighteen different choices, from costillita con champiñones, a simple hash of pork rib and mushrooms, to the more exotic flor de calabaza and the redundantly named poblano de Puebla. Whichever you order, the combination of ingredients is sautéed fresh, covered with a hand-made 78 RPM record-size flour tortilla to steam for a minute, anointed with bean paste to give it some body and doused with one of five salsas, all unusual - I like the naranja con chile, the orange juice giving it a nice zing. Or the roasted morita especial, deep and dark. They are then wrapped, tucked and served – happily for the environment, on a re-used bag-covered tray. Not exactly what I would call a light repast, they are hearty and filling, not nearly as weighty as their full-figured northern neighbors.


And if you have burri-cravings and find yourself below the D.F. Mason-Dixon line of the Viaducto, there is always Los Burritos de Fuentes, in Coyoacán, whose fast food ambiance tries to Mc-emulate other plasticized chains but whose food is real. And they serve a beer I've never seen before called 'Malverde'. And they are open until well after the party has lost its spark.

Los Burritos
Calle Havre, near the corner of Insurgentes, Zona Rosa
open Monday - Friday 11-7 PM
Saturday 12-8 PM

Los Burritos de Fuentes
Miguel Angel de Quevedo 482 (accross from the Comercial Mexicana), Coyoacán
Open Monday-Thursday 1PM-1AM
Friday, Saturday 2PM-4 AM

Text and Photos © 2009 Nicholas Gilman - all rights reserved.

5 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Michael Parker-StainbackAugust 5, 2009 at 3:14 PM

    Oh, Nick...I love it when you lube up and try something you didn't think you'd like...MP

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh man -- I LOVE the burrito place on Havre. A burrito and a Squirt from that stand are just about the most perfect things a girl (or guy) can eat, ever. The best thing is: They deliver! My husband just ordered some for his office the other day.

    There's another burrito place in Roma -- I think it's near the Palacio? -- but a friend told me it's not very good. Thanks for the info on the Coyoacán joint. I'll have to try it out!

    ReplyDelete
  4. The salsas sound superior. Thanks for the tip; it's a place to keep in mind if we are in that area.

    Saludos,
    Don Cuevas

    ReplyDelete
  5. My friends in the U.S. are confused that we don't really have burritos here. And I do love them, when they are well done. You're right,many are marginal and cheap ways to fill up with 11 pounds of beans and rice. So I'm excited to try this place out.

    But my random question is - how did the burrito craze develop in the U.S.? And who told us Americans that it's a Mexican staple? Finally, how did it not get transplanted here? It's all a bit odd, no? I don't expect you to know, but I've wondered for a while.

    ReplyDelete