Friday, December 26, 2014

5 Best Burrito's in Madison! (and some of the worst)

I lived in San Francisco for almost 6 years. That is the land of the burrito. I've eaten fabled under-the-overpass burritos that would make a grown man weep, gnash his teeth, and rend his garments with a single bite. I've tasted Rubber Taqueria Burritos so good they could actually be responsible for the virgin birth.

I only exaggerate a little bit.

Madison has some real contenders in the burrito category. Spanning from the truly authentic to the truly Madisonian, the list is solid. However, there are some... others. Burritos so bland, Low-grade, and sad that they should be avoided except to satisfy a deep sense of self loathing.

Scroll to the end for the worst burritos in Madison.

5  Best Burritos in Madison!

#5 Best: Pascal's Cantina: Pueblo Anasazi Burrito carnitas with a cowboy Mole option $9.95 + $1.50

Getting the Cowboy Option means they slather the outside with cheese, green onions, and your choice of red or green chili sauces or mole. Being a mole obsessed man, I got the mole option. The carnitas were flavorful and tender and the burrito on the whole was tasty. The burrito wasn't exactly smothered in mole sauce, as they seemed to be skimping and it only had partial coverage. The mole isn't as good as La Mestiza's but that is a fairly high bar.

#4 Best: El Dorado Grill: Chicken and Mushroom burrito $12.99

El Dorado is a uniquely Madison joint on Willy Street. It is well deserving of a full review, but that will be another post. The Chicken and Mushroom burrito was a delicious surprise, creamy and filled with the wonderful flavor or mushrooms. This is clearly not a traditional burrito, and I applaud their creativity. Originally I was tipped off to try their Machaca Pork Burrito, and while that was a tasty burrito, I was blown away by the harmony of flavors in the nchicken and mushroom.

#3 Best: Bulgogi Korean Taco truck: Bibimbap Burrito $7 - chicken

This was a delicious departure from traditional burritos. Kimchi, fried rice, bean sprouts, egg and Korean chili paste make this burrito an Asian fusion dream. Even the tortilla they use is an Asian variation which takes on a slightly more gummy texture under steam then a traditional Mexican Tortilla. I grew up eating this type of Asian tortilla at family dinners. Not too spicy and full of sweet and savory flavors, to be honest I don't understand how Korean burritos aren't on every street corner.

#2 Best Habanero's Mexican Grill: Pastor Burrito $5.95

This place drips with authenticity. A few of the guys behind the counter speak English, and all of the meats are fabulous. Plus this is their website. How can you not love that homemade full page of COMIC SANS! My favorite burrito is a pastor burrito. Marinated pork simmers in a fabulous juice which soaks through the beans and rice in the burrito to flavor the whole thing. The Carne Asada is similar. Bursting with flavor and dripping with juices it makes the whole burrito taste of marinated meat. The service style is similar to Chipotle or Qdoba, which allows infinite permutations and you can make the burrito exactly how you want it.

#1 Taqueria Sabor Queretano (AKA Taqueria La Hispana): Carnitas burrito $10

This place would stand up to most of the burrito joints in California. This place has absolutely massive burritos, and perfectly fresh ingredients. And it is authentic authentic authentic. Crumbly salty farmer's cheese replaces shredded Monterrey Jack. Fresh avocados, tasty salsa, and a 100% complete lack of the English language leads me to call this burrito joint the best in Madison. Located in a run down strip mall across from the East Towne Mall behind a McDonalds... this burrito joint could revive the dead.

First off the food is massive, if that wasn't the best burrito I've eaten in years, I could have eaten it for 3 meals... but it was so tasty I scarfed the whole thing down and thought about buying a burrito to keep for dinner... or maybe to eat in the car on the way back to work... Don't judge me! It's that good!

On to the dishonorably mentioned

La Bamba's Mexican Restaurant -WORST in Madison!

Infamous for their "burrito as big as your head." This ends up being more a punishment then a postive quality. This is drunk food at its worst. Even as you step through the door, no one wants to make eye contact with anyone else. Drunk, hungover, or just plan at the end of their rope, drawn to trough like burritos like a fly towards a shiny bright light. The quality of ingredients is not high nor is it designed well. Low-grade beef, soupy re-fried beans and soggy lettuce come together to make this burrito hardly edible without the masses of super spicy but ultimately flavorless hot sauce given liberally with every burrito. I ordered a regular and I couldn't wait for my burrito to end. Eating the head sized burrito option seemed like too much punishment even for my many sins.

El Jalapeno's - Carnitas burrito - 2nd Worst in Madison!

This is a shame, because this place isn't bad... Just their burritos are. This was supposed to be filled with Carnitas(present) beans(absent), cheese(absent), onions(absent), lettuce(very very wet), and tomatoes(absent). Basically I got handed a soggy mess inside a tortilla. The Carnitas was pretty tasty, but waterlogged from the wet lettuce. Nothing else was present in the burrito. lettuce and meat. This burrito doesn't even rate half-assed.

Instead of going out, why don't you make them at home!

Cilantro lime rice

That's just steamed rice with minced Cilantro, a squirt of lime and a healthy pinch of salt!

Berkshire Pork Carnitas

Topped how you like it!

You're dang right that's some emmental cheese!


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