"[C]ritics Casey Deeha, Chipp Oatlay, Sal Savirdy and 'El Presidente Mole' promise to provide 'not merely a description of burritos, but a more writerly experience that gives the attention to burritos that they deserve.' Yep. You heard it here, folks. - Jay Barmann, SF Grubfest
"[Casey Deeha] also thinks it could be a matter of cultural heritage and sense of place why a Mission-style burrito is thought to taste the best in San Francisco." - Tamara Palmer, Zagat
"Bay Area Review of Burritos -a must read for anyone remotely interested in foil-wrapped tube food" - Kevin Montgomery, Up Town Almanac
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Casa Gourmet Burrito, Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette
Written by Chipp Oatlay (the picture is as bland as the carne asada)
I know its a bad meal when the best part is the poisonous soda that I am drinking. How did my meal end up like this? I don't even drink soda. It's awful stuff. Soak a tooth in a cup of it for a few days and it will dissolve. Phosphoric acid gradually leaches calcium out of bones, leaving them brittle. Did you know that minimally diluted soda syrup is used as an industrial cleaner to wash out the cargo holds of the most popular cola brand's delivery trucks?
Somewhere between my garlic lime steak burrito being given to another person as part of their to go order, and the guy saying, "You wanted pinto beans with that, right?" something went terribly wrong. First of all, the lady said she didn't even order a garlic lime steak burrito. Secondly, I was never given a choice of beans. It's a classic artifice of Imperialism to pretend that a choice was given post hoc. My burrito was taken out of the to go bag and to go container and flung onto a disposable plate like tribal enemies forced to live together in a newly formed East African country.
I had high hopes for the “Garlic Lime Steak” burrito. Cooking steak with lime juice is a technique that is not uncommon in parts of Mexico and Central America. Some of the best carne asada that I've ever had was seasoned only with sea salt and lime juice. This carne asda con ajo y limon was not good. The garlic and lime flavor was discernible, but the steak was dry, overcooked. The steak, dessicated like the apples, bananas and pears my dad and I put in the dehydrator when I was a kid, was moistureless. It was was dry like my mouth after the first time I smoked weed in the 12th grade. It was so dry, I observed a minute of silence for the poor cow whose contribution to the endeavor was wasted--which is more than I gave for the bellicose one named Thatcher. It was so dry, I used two containers of salsa verde and not because the salsa was amazing; the burrito itself was large, but the lack of juices from the steak and other ingredients made my mouth tire in the first three bites.
What work it was just to get to that first real bite of dry garlic lime steak!
Those initial arduous bites of tortilla, rice, and some pinto beans--everything not steak--are the hallmarks of a truly poor burrito. I did not order a salad, but there it was in my burrito, masquerading as shredded lettuce. I prefer cabbage. Even after I discovered the garlic lime steak, the roll made it impossible to consume a single bite that simultaneously included all of its elements. When a burrito is this lousy, you really have got to compliment the creators because it takes effort to make a burrito this poorly.
One last thing. When I have to rip a burrito this much, I like to be able to say something nice about the place: maybe the venue is charming or the workers are gracious and affable. The best thing about Casa Gourmet Burrito is that the parking lot shared with Subway had many open parking slots.
Salsa Rating: ketchup with onions