"[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

Friday, April 19, 2013

Gordo Taqueria, College Ave, Berkeley

Written by Casey Deeha

Performance can be a nebulous word when considered critically. For the brevity of this review, let's just consider that performance, as a word, involves the showing rather than the telling. And when it comes to Gordo's Taqueria in Berkeley, performance becomes an important word - for if there's anything that characterizes Gordo's in Berkeley, other than the food, it's how small the place is, so much so, that I myself felt like I was stuffed in a burrito, in a performative sense. In other words, not only did Gordo's want to serve me a burrito, but wanted to show me a burrito by making me feel like a burrito - in a performative sense.

Stuffed inside the small shop, amidst College Ave, a somewhat gentrified street where people line up in the masses for an ice cream cone at an ice creamery that serves some sort of magic ice cream which generates lines up to one hundred people strong, I opted for a veggie 'super' burrito with pinto beans. I squeezed into a small caveat which was situated between the wall and the entrance; if I leaned back on my stool, I would literally bump my head on a fellow taquerian behind me. But this was ok as it was a welcome break from the ice cream line which seemed to grow exponentially like a Chia pet.

I told myself, 'Gordo wants to show me the full experience and I appreciate this.'

'It's all about method,' I told myself - Gordo is showing me the experience of a burrito and this is unquestionable as I exhale to make enough room to turn my head and watch their methods - firstly placing the cheese on the tortilla that lay on the grill to provide a melted layer of cheesy happiness that would seep into the blend effortlessly - in order to prevent compartmentalization of the ingredients including a small section of cold grated cheese. There was a good blend indeed, but good enough to warrant another italicized word - I'm not so sure. I ate the burrito happily in order to have a quality burrito intake for the day and could easily do so if I were to live in close proximity.

The final and brief analysis? A good burrito that would top an average chart, but nothing that would lull me into building a lexicon around. One thing's for sure, I squeezed myself out of the shop to notice an array of carne asada being cooked to what appeared to me as professional standards - perhaps the pot of gold at the end of Gordo's taqueria rainbow has meat in it? Perhaps Chipp Oatlay, the carne asada expert, will lay down the guantlet. For the time being, I'll try the ice cream line and wait for my hair to grow.

Salsa Rating: Warm with an everyday satisfaction 

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