"[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

Sunday, April 21, 2013

la Salsa Fresh Mexican Grll, Marina Blvd., San Leandro

Written by Casey Deeha

Along with Chipotle and Baja Fresh, La Salsa Fresh is the third national mexican taqueria chain that I have looked at - a battle of the chains thus far within BARB (Bay Area Review of Burritos). The analogy for this battle is simple given that The Nordstrom Rack lies next door within the same strip mall in San Leandro for which I choose to lay my La Salsa Fresh scene:

Two burrito reviewers, both alike in fashion taste
In Fair San Leandro where we lay our battle
From modern grudge break a new dispute
Where discounted shoes make civil minds uncivil

For under dispute, between Sal Savirdy and I, were one pair of Jack Purcell Converses - brown - they were earthy and we considered ourselves to be earthy but urban - an oxymoron I know - but it encapsulates the human condition. The dispute, obviously, was that there were one pair. We laughed, we cried, we fought, we fell in love all over again. And how does this relate to burritos and the taqueria chain battle? Well - there's only one burrito - the concept of the burrito. And for any institution to attempt to lay claim to this concept is inherently contradicting itself - in much the same way that Sal and I fight over a pair of shoes that (we feel) convey our earthy urbaness. I harbor this sentiment upon entering any Taqueria chain - yes, I know that I am biased, but I am human and to say that you are not biased in all areas of life is to simply express what you are - a contradiction.

With this in mind, I entered La Salsa Fresh with as much skepticism as going into a battle with Sal over a pair of shoes at the Nordstrom Rack. Of course, no room for choice - a set menu with a set understanding of what they conceive as the ultimate burrito to package and sell to the masses. I keep in mind that La Salsa Fresh is a smaller beast to Chipotlesauras and Baja Freshidactyl, and has their humble origins in LA, very unlike the pseudo-humble origins of Chipotle in Colorado (read my exclusive interview with Hugo Ontiveros on the origins of Steve Ells). While LA's version of the burrito is much different than the Bay Area's, I still give credence where credence is due; I've eaten some good LA burritos. I went with the veggie with black beans and 'huffed' when I was called to retrieve my burrito for I was cynical. In the same vein, I saw Sal lurking on the other end of the isles searching for Mr. Jack Purcell. I sat, garnished my first bite with their salsa and was... pleasantly surprised. All in all, not a bad burrito for a chain. Yes, it certainly leaned on the lean side of the burrito world in that, like the other chains, they were attempting to create a healthy alternative to the Big Mac - although they were able to retain some roots in good SoCal burritos. 

In the end, Sal won the shoes. But... I walked away thinking that the concept of the perfect shoes is one that is forever amalgamating into nothingness, and with this thought, I pondered whether Sal actually ever really won those shoes.

Go hence and have talk of these ponderous things
Some shall be pardoned and some punished
For never was there a story of such idea
Than this of Sal and her Casey Deeha

Salsa Rating: Surprisingly Warm - (but still skeptical)


No comments:

Post a Comment