Baja Betty’s “Burritos”

A Critique of an All-American Attempt at Preparing BurritosImage

When I take a trip to a burrito eatery, especially one that is notoriously known for their burritos (and has “burritos” as part of its name), I expect, say, a burrito? Well folks, I regret to inform you that that is not what I found over in Brookline Village at White Betty’s Baja Betty’s Burritos. Maybe white people should not attempt to make burritos.

Before I even go into the concoction they call a “burrito” over there, allow me to critique the basis of this establishment. First of all, Betty is an all-american name. Image“Baja Betty’s Burritos” is a contradiction in itself, but okay, it’s worth a try, why not? If you examine the photo to the right, this mural on the main wall of the establishment has a Native American man (with blue eyes that are not visible in this photo), holding a gypsy who is swinging a sombrero, and a little white girl (perhaps Betty?) in the central bottom area. Also, note the three American flags hanging proudly as the clock nears noon. What is this mural trying to say? Is it an attempt at cultural decor in a non-ethnic burrito eatery? I don’t plan on going back to find out, but fill me in if you do.

I should have sensed the disappointment after my first trip. On a pleasant afternoon, a friend and I trekked over to Brookline village to visit what we heard was a pretty good burrito place only to find that it was closed. It was one in the afternoon on a Saturday. It was not a special weekend. There was no sign, no explanation. When I called to make sure it was open another time, I voiced my dissatisfaction about my failed trip the week before. The owner responded to me as if I were crazy. I should have taken this as an omen.

I returned on my birthday, excited to try a new burrito place. The options were pricey for a decent combo, but I didn’t want to get stuck with a wrapped up mess of rice, beans, and meat (read: sad excuse for a burrito). Unfortunately, that experience was inevitable.

I thought I came to a burrito joint, but clearly I was mistaken. What I actually got was an all-american wannabe burrito wrap. What could go wrong with guacamole, yogurt sauce, and a variety of hot sauce options on the side? Gosh, where do I begin? How about the tortilla wrap. Fatal error. After the first bite, I almost expected crispy chicken and honey mustard to be in the next. McDonald’s snack wrap wraps taste more like tortillas than Betty’s. I got a nice big bite of lettuce and wrap.

In the next bite, I got tomatoes and shredded cheese. Again, totally wrap-like. The tomatoes were fresh, and I guess that’s great with the right burritos, but not when the burrito you ordered is actually a wrap. Let’s get this party started with some pico de gallo. No? Guess not. The cheese didn’t help; it tasted like shredded mozzarella. Can you get any less mexican? I don’t think so.

Oh, but you can. Betty can. There was a pocket of guac. I love guac. But in this “burrito,” it tasted kind of like the new guac at Subway (which isn’t very good, don’t try it), but oh, I’m sorry, I forgot I was eating a turkey wrap from the white people store.

Speaking of meat and fillers, I got a choice of two with my wrap “burrito” option. Normally, steak is my go to, but that was not an option. I chose chicken and grilled peppers and onions. The chicken was dark meat and had the consistency of pulled pork. I did not enjoy it. I didn’t like it as chicken or as part of the disguised wrap. It didn’t flow with the other fresh ingredients; it was very awkward. The grilled vegetables were better, but they taste just like grilled peppers and onions at a traditional Fourth of July barbecue. Can you say America?

The rice and beans core followed the pattern of an americanized attempt at preparing mexican food. Tasteless white rice and beans. There was talk of yogurt sauce in my particular burrito selection, but I tasted none of that. I think it got lost in all the whiteness.

I guess I’ll commend Betty’s hot sauce and jalepeno bar. The jalepenos managed to be soggy, even though they were served on the side (they tasted like they came out of a can in the back of your pantry that you forgot to donate to the last Thanksgiving food drive). There were three different types of hot sauce that you could help yourself to and a bottle of hot sauce waiting for you at the table. Thanks for the options, Betty.

Overall, I did not enjoy my birthday burrito experience. Baja Betty’s is a completely white washed burrito joint. Amy Winehouse was even playing the whole time. Nice try, but I think they should stick to wraps. “Wilma’s Wraps” sounds far more suitable for this establishment.

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