Thursday, March 22, 2012

Burrito Beginnings with Kristofer Jenson

The burrito just may be the world's most perfect food. Not the best, not the only, but most perfect. The economy, the presentation, the content, the appropriation of already familiar ingredients into something magical; it's pretty much The Godfather Part II of cuisine.

Boston, with its English/Irish/Italian heritage, may seem like an unlikely place to find decent Mexican food, but we're fortunate enough to have both quality variety in almost every neighborhood. We have classy restaurants, neighborhood fixtures, college joints and greasy-yet-satisfying holes in the wall. I'm on a weekly mission to find the best, worst, most interesting and most exciting burritos this city has to offer. Join me, won't you?

This week was my first excursion to El Pelon, a place I'd long admired for its terrific ads that both play on and feed this generations burrito addiction. In the picture you'll see the Carne Asada Burrito, the Carnitas Taco and the Chicken Quesadilla. The first thing that struck me was the taco; this is no ordinary ground-beef-and-cheese-fuck-you deal, this is the product of some serious taco ingenuity. The combination of spices, vegetables, salsa and meat was so tasty that I'll never be able to host my own taco night without hanging my head in shame.

The burrito was substantial and packed to, gills?...with goodies. It's one of the most substantial I've ever eaten, and for less than $5 it's an absolute steal. I topped it all off with the quesadilla for desert, which dutifully mopped up the various rice and bean bits that had fallen on my plate, then cheesily reined in all the competing forces in my stomach. I then went into a full-on food coma and awoke to find this column fully written. Spooky, yet delicious.

This enormous meal, with soda, was only $15.85. Do your stomach, and your wallet, a favor, check out one of their two locations around town.  - Kristofer Jenson