Monday, November 4, 2013

Everything In A Burrito

So in one of my many contemplative days trying to dream up ways to make immense amounts of money with minimal amounts of effort, I began thinking about food. Specifically, how the food industries in America make the most by smoothing out the bell curve of taste (or, in real-person talk, serving up junk that everyone loves). One would think that an easy way to start sleeping soundly on a huge pile of money was to provide the people an innovative comfort food.

One of the current booming restaurant trends is the lowly burrito place. I have already pledged by undying affection for a local chain called Hot Heads, but any such place (like Chipotle or Qdoba) also qualifies. It's almost like a Subway-style setup only for burritos: you start off with a tortilla, get the workers to start loading it up with all sorts of stuff such as chicken, steak, rice and beans, salsa, guacamole, and so on. Add some unnecessarily salty tortilla chips and a Mountain Dew and you have yourself an authentic Mexican dinner!

Which, of course, is a joke. These meals have taken what I'm sure is a quaint Mexican meal, infused it with all sorts of blandness and remove it of all charm, and shilled it to the public as ethnic food.  The real kicker in all of this is that these restaurants are all charging 6 to 8 bucks a burrito for a meal that was specifically designed to use the cheapest ingredients available. With the exception of the meat and possibly the guacamole, you're looking at the bargain basement of foodstuffs. You can buy a brick of rice for pennies on the dollar at the Chinese auction, and they're feeding corn to crows as sport out in the Midwest. But doll it up with equal parts false Mexican legitimacy, self-congratulatory green do-goodery, and promises of unlimited nacho chips, and you have yourself a fast-food empire.

So we've established that burrito places are Americanized bastardizations of Mexican cuisine, and yet most of these places cling to a set list of ingredients that everyone is expecting. Everyone has steak, chicken, and (for the more adventurous) barbacoa. So I say, corner the market by handwaving away the pretense of Mexican authenticity and just start offering everything possible on the market to wrap up in a burrito. You want a pizza burrito? How about ham and cheese? Forget the chorizo, just start shoving bacon and turkey and pastrami and cheese and pineapple and anything else you desire. We've already started it by offering  breakfast ones. Don't tell me y'all wouldn't just eat the hell out of a steak and potato "burrito."

Sure, there may be some logistical issues, and, yes, maybe there's a regional chain somewhere in America that I'm unaware of, and, sure, what we are doing is little more than making on-demand Hot Pockets, but let's face it: huge businesses have been successfully formed with a lot less.


  1. I went to Hot Head Burritos for the 1st time Saturday night. My burrito was cold. I think the warm tortilla and meat were overpowered by the cold ingredients. Do you have this problem? Would it be gauche of me to ask them to microwave my burrito before handing it to me?

  2. Huh. That's odd; I've never had any issue with them. Granted, the nearest Hot Heads to us is over an hour away so we don't go there too terribly often. I hope that's not a typical experience for you.

  3. Because I am gluten intolerant, I get the burrito bowls, and never really have much trouble. Hopefully it was a blip on the radar. Perhaps Steve and I should go do some field research.