the burrito and i became acquaintances on my first trip to chicago in the nineties. it was my cousin z who introduced me to taco bell. i don't remember much about them, perhaps an indication of the fact that they didn't taste that good. but all said and done, it was the nineties, we were teenagers and we thought we were so cool eating taco bell. we would also much prefer eating bean burrito's than home-cooked pakistani food. these ones came from the supermarket and were frozen. a short whizz in the microwave would reduce them to a crumpled mess of slimy and gooey cheesy and beans mashed to baby food consistency. we ate these too.
i am certain i would never want to rewind the clock to those days. chipotle though is another matter. it was my sibling who introduced me to chipotle when we lived in scottsdale, az. it was a staple of his college days. it's the slow braised barbacoa beef that did it for me and i missed it dearly when i stopped travelling stateside. but then strangely, when chipotle arrived on british shores last year i didn't make a beeline to it. instead i watched the online chatter about it. in the meantime i tried chilangos, tortilla, benito's hut, freebird burritos to name a few but nothing measured up to the barbacoa.
for some reason state-side imports don't always taste as good when they travel and i wanted to retain the memory of the barbacoa as is. today however, the craving won and i asked o to take me for a chipotle burrito before we went to see the help. i had the barbacao burrito bowl (only because a recent visit to the dentist demanded a more manageable eating style) with a choice of brown rice, black beans, guacamole, salsa and some greens. for some strange reason o had the chicken burrito. i find that the meat is too mild to stand up to all the other ingredients in a burrito.
|barbacao beef burrito in a bowl|
it was worth it. the barbacoa was just as i had remembered it, juicy and almost like tiny strands of pasta. the guacamole had just the right balance of texture and although one pays extra for it, chipotle is quite generous with the servings. i asked for the hot salsa but found the chili a bit subdued. i did sneak a bite of o's chicken and as i suspected it was very mild. i should have probably stuck with the cilantro-lime rice rather than it's healthier and denser brown cousin but no worries. there is always a next time.