"[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 2, 2013

El Agavero, 2071 Mountain Blvd, Montclair

Written by Sal Savirdy

Montclair geographically hovers over quiet Piedmont and thrusts temptation in the face of it's less adventurous resident neighbors like a renegade older sister.... '' You don't need to go to to that Jazzercize class this evening / put down that Lacrosse stick, I have a friend I want you to come meet… we'll have some mexican food, maybe a little margarita, it's OK, I won't let it get out of control, NOBODY'S going to tell mom...''

….and where better for your older sister to show you the way, than El Agavero, a buzzing family-friendly mexican restaurant, where you can either opt to slump at the well-stocked bar and harass the passing locals with slurred tales of your 'totally brutal' rush week at Harvard, or instead disguise yourself amongst the resident family locals like somebody's teenage cousin, forced to sit on an adjacent table for lack of space..

Finally seated, my totally brutal bad sister opts for the chicken burrito, and (given the special occasion) I splurge and order the chicken fajitas. Through mouthfuls of chicken, rice and tortilla (with a side of fermented agavero- don't tell mom), my sister reminisces that this burrito is only passably better than when she snuck out the back of Sunday school, hitched a ride on a large custom sleeper to Fresno with some guy named Frank and got mexican at a small roadside place in Bakersfield. But she also admits that one tasted particularly good because it was 'laced with the spirit of adventure.' I resort to just shrugging and awkward giggles, ponder whether my Lacrosse stick really is safe leant on the restaurant window outside and hope she doesn't start showing random strangers her tattoos like the last time.

My Fajitas arrive and they are clearly still Harvard-rushing because this chicken is sizzling hot, perfectly spicy and definitely worth missing Lacrosse practice for, even if I do have to run 50 laps of the pitch next time. Thankfully, there is such an abundance of food that my (now reasonably fermented) older sister can further line her stomach in preparation for her final drink before she attempts to drive me back to the bosom. While she stuffs her face in an ugly, desperate manner and slaps the server on the ass every time he passes our table, I stare into the perfectly creamy guacamole and wonder whether I shouldn't have pushed the boat out a little further just this once with the agavero. 

We finish, and as I physically escort my sister out to her car, I pledge to always try new things, even if they are out of my comfort zone and never again to say the word bosom, even if it is only in my own head.

Salsa rating: HOT TAMALE. 

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