The carnitas burrito

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We’re starting to taste test burritos here in the office. That and pulled pork sandwiches, which seems to be the quintessential BBQ sandwich for summer. But let’s get back to the burrito.

We had a lot of discussion on what type(s) of burrito to test because burritos are one of those dishes like sandwiches; it can come a zillion and a half ways. How to decide, how to decide … we chanted that around for quite some time before settling on the basic to-go (foil wrapped) carnitas burrito with the basic fixings: rice, beans, salsa, sour cream and cheese—hold the guacamole.

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Why carnitas? Because it’s a traditional Mexican pulled pork meat that is fairly difficult to get right. If overcooked it’ll dry up like jerky. Yuck. If done well though, it will be soft and succulent, and loaded with flavor. We figure if a joint can deliver the carnitas, they’re probably going to get the other easier-to-cook meats done right as well. No guarantees here, just a hypothesis.

Here’s our second (or maybe third) test … a burrito from Alejandro’s Taqueria, a popular hole-in-the-wall down the street from our offices in Fairfield. Alejandro’s is a local’s fave and while they don’t do everything right, their burritos, especially their mojados, can be yum-yum good. Yes, that’s the technical term. So, of course we wanted to know how they would stack up in this latest smackdown.

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Here’s the verdict as per Halpin’s review. She our resident carnitas afficionado. She’s picky, picky, picky!

Her’s only had the carnitas meat and salsa inside the burrito. She opted for beans and rice on the side. According to Halpin, “It was fantastic! It was moist. It had that nice little crust from the cooking. Not too salty. Not too oily and there wasn’t a lot of fat in there, which was good. It was also already shredded, which makes for easy eating. I love their rice! It’s tender, fluffy and moist with lots of flavor. Portion size was generous. I felt like I had a good sized burrito even though it was only the meat. And the service is always really fast despite. That place is always jammed packed and yet you can still get in and out quickly. I also like the salsas that they offer at the salsa bar. It added some good heat to the burrito although wasn’t really necessary. Also they sell beer there, which is nice since not all taquerias serve alcohol. Overall, one of the better places to go for carnitas.”

We compared it to Baldo’s, another local’s fave. It’s a drive-thru establishment that is open 24-hours and has two locations: one in Vacaville, one in Fairfield. Personally, I’ve never been to the Vacaville stop, but magazine staffers frequent the Fairfield location at least weekly if not more. (In fact, this morning’s breakfast came from there on my way into work.) According to Halpin their carnitas suck. Too bad. My favorite is their regular chicken burrito, which has NOTHING but moist, spicy chicken in it. No rice, beans, etc. Just chicken. Nobody else serves it this way and I love it. Plus the marinade is spicy enough to make your nose run … always a good sign.

So. Three joints down, nine billion and twenty seven more to go. Hey, it’s a seemingly impossible mission, but someone’s gotta do it.

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