Taqueria El Carrizal

As a burrito master, I was pretty sure that there was only one burrito place that’s something like a 5 minute walk from my house, but it was brought to my attention that there’s another place a couple blocks down on Brighton Ave. And it’s like, a legitimate restaurant. I didn’t know that until I got there and I wasn’t about to have a one man fiesta, so I took it to go, but this Mexican, Guatemalan, Salvadorian restaurant won my tastebuds over.

As I’ve mentioned before, I am a lover of all things flavorful and this burrito was just BURSTING with flavor from all sides. Tangy, spice-y, and full – I didn’t even know what flavor to focus on, there was literally a fiesta in my mouth. I felt rice, beans, guac, and steak dancing around my oral cavity and my taste buds couldn’t help but join in.

What really got me was the authenticity. Clearly, I’m no Latin food guru, but I’ve had a solid amount of home-cooked Latin food. This burrito was far from Americanized. Rice and beans is a staple in Latin cuisine and this burrito nailed it. Instead of the traditional brown or white rice and black, pinto, or refried bean base, there was a rice and beans toss-up that lined the circumference of the tortilla. This perfect distribution enveloped a generous amount of steak and guac. Seriously, some places really cheap out on the guac, but this was not one of them. It was the perfect creamy neutralizer and went hand in hand with the steak, which they also were not stingy about.

The steak was something like what you’d envision regular steak to be. Well, at least my image of “regular” steak. It was hearty and chewy. Prominently chewy, but not overwhelmingly so. Tender enough to have flavor that contributes to the burrito. The guac enhances it with a great intensity. With every bite, you get some steak. When you take a bite from the center, you get a mouthful of steak drowned in creamy, flavor-blasted guac and a distribution of rice from one or more of the sides.

The rice lines the tortilla in a way that ensures that you will get a dash of flavor-enhancing rice with every bite. And it’s not just the spice-y staple we know and love in Latin cuisine. This rice and bean mashup is decorated with more anticipated flavors including melted, shredded cheese and fresh salsa. These ingredients are scattered throughout the rice, modestly contributing to the flavor while letting the rice and beans, guac, and steak take charge.

If I were to suggest any modifications, I’d say slap on another spoon of sour cream and, as I am forced to ask about way too many burritos, WHERE ARE THE JALEPENOS?! Also, I believe that it could’ve used another scoop of salsa. While salsa isn’t meant to be the primary focus of this burrito, it could have remained a modest ingredient even if there were a little more of it. It was just so good, I found myself wanting more.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the hot sauce. It had a distinct, potent flavor of various spices, but it tasted a little too fishy for me. Not like mystery sauce, a literal off-taste of fish. But I think that was just my perception of the combination of spices. I could see people diggin’ it, I just wasn’t. There was enough spices and flavor to go around, though, so it’s alright. I didn’t need to drown it in hot sauce to get my insatiable flavor fix; it succeeded in  satisfying the craving as it was.

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