“A burrito is a lot like sex. Everyone insists it’s just like pizza, except they’re wrong, because they don’t realize that Americans do some REALLY weird shit when making burritos.”
~Also, even when it’s pretty bad, it’s still pretty good
Like the pizza, the hamburger, or pretty much all of our favorite foods, America did not invent the burrito, but we sure as shit put our stamp on it to make it uniquely ours. We don’t really know where burritos came from, apart from the fact that they were either developed in Mexico, or by the Mexican-American community in our fine nation. There are a lot stories about the invention of the burrito, one of which involves a Mexican street food vendor who used a donkey as transport and decided to wrap his food in tortillas to keep the contents warm. People like this story since it explains the name “burrito”, which is Spanish for “little donkey” which, by the way, just a lousy name for a food product. Just a crappy name. Though, the name probably proves that the burrito was in fact invented in Mexico, because if it had been invented in America we’d have called them like, well, not Hot Pockets, but… yeah probably Hot Pockets.
In retrospect, “little donkey” is fine.
Anyway, in Mexico, they’re traditional to Ciudad Juárez, just across the border from El Paso, though they’re pretty basic, containing only a few basic ingredients. And while burritos have only found popularity in the northern part of Mexico, once they got brought over to America, we went ham with that shit. Like, as in, literally putting ham in it sometimes. And that’s what we want to bring your attention to with today’s article.
The moment burritos began to make their way across America, starting in California in the mid-20th century, we Americans realized we could put anything we wanted in there, so long as the end result tasted good. Why limit yourself to pork, chicken, and beef when you can put whatever you want inside that tortilla? Well, usually because pork, chicken and beef are the best tasting options. But that hasn’t stopped our entrepreneurial spirit. And so, we have dozens of variations of burritos that range from “delicious” to “delicious but also really fucking weird, guys.”
We’re here to focus on the weird ones made by the chef with the crazy eyes. Because even though these burritos sound absolutely insane, they also sound absolutely delicious.
America’s Weirdest, Strangest Burritos (That We’d Probably Eat)
Before we launch into these burritos, which are definitely strange and also almost as definitely delicious, we do want to make one quick clarification. This is not going to be a list of burritos that can be made, or that some jackass made on YouTube for their Vlog. Because you can literally make a burrito out of everything. Hell, we’re going to write out the word “cigarette butt burrito” right here, and can guarantee that someone is going to eventually find this page on a google search, furtively mumbling to themselves, “Dammit, I hate these longform recipe articles.” Besides, just because something can be done doesn’t mean it should be done.
So we are focusing specifically on burritos that have been made available for purchase within the United States at some point. Because while anyone can make a crazy absurd weird strange unusual burrito, not everyone can actually make a crazy absurd weird strange unusual burrito that’s still good enough that people would pay money to eat it. So as much as we want to include the spaghetti burrito, or, blessed be the internet, pizza burritos, those haven’t been sold in any restaurants or food trucks. Yet. So they don’t make the cut. Don’t worry, we’ve still got plenty to munch on here.
Honorable Mention: Drug Burrito
As always, our legal counsel wants us to point out that we are not saying that you should eat a burrito full of drugs. Eating a burrito full of drugs is dangerous, reckless, and will make you insanely attractive and popular in the eyes of your peers. Try and sue us NOW, Joel.
But yeah, Back in February of 2018, apparently the LAPD found a bunch of burritos stuffed with meth. That…well, that has nothing to do with this article, but how often do you get a chance to talk about drug-filled burritos?
Anyway, don’t eat drug-filled burritos. You shouldn’t even go near drug-filled burritos to begin with! What would people think? That you were some rebel, wild and full of passion, willing to cast caution aside on a whim, and maybe, just maybe, they could change you, or at least tame you enough to hold on with both hands for the thrilling ride? You wouldn’t want that. No siree.
Okay, now to the actual burritos.
If you are reading this entry and thinking, “Holy shit, they make sushi burritos? That’s a thing!? I had no idea! That’s wild!” then there’s a good to fair chance you’re reading this in 2016, which holy shit, how? Sushi burritos have been an increasingly popular addition to most major cities for the past few years, first popping up in San Francisco in 2010, then showing up in Cincinnati in 2014, Chicago in 2015, and appearing in New York and Austin by 2016. Listen, it’s probably in your city too, we just didn’t want to google every major metropolis we could think of (as you ask yourselves, “Wait, but they thought of Cincinnati?”).
So even if it’s been around long enough to no longer seem novel, we have to at least give it credit for ingenuity. Taking fish, rice, various other ingredients and wrapping them in seaweed as if it were a burrito is a brilliant idea, as well as a delicious one. It doesn’t matter that there’s no tortilla, it looks like a burrito, it’s built like a burrito, it’s a damn burrito. And it’s a pretty great one too.
Lately Poke burritos have also become a thing, but come on. A poke burrito is a sushi burrito for restaurants that were late to the sushi burrito game and were like, “Well, Poke was kind of popular for the first half of 2017, let’s make a burrito out of that,” despite the fact that the difference between a sushi burrito and a poke burrito is negligible at best. Granted, both are delicious. But come on, they’re the exact same fucking thing.
Now, speaking of Asian inspired burritos…
According to folk lore (a.k.a. the restaurant’s website), Chef Erwin Tjahyadi of California-based Komodo made a decision in 2014. He was sick and tired of people asking him to create a soup special for his Asian Fusion restaurant that he decided to stick it to the customers by making a soupless pho, in burrito form. Now, what probably actually happened involved Chef Erwin Tjahyadi thinking “hey, phoritto is kind of a pun right?” (it isn’t) and just making a pho burrito for the free publicity. Either way, he decided to take rice noodles, jalapenos, onions, thai basil, sriracha and hoisin sauce, put that all with some sliced ribeye, and grill it in a burrito. So, essentially, all the ingredients of pho, minus the broth.
Which…honestly, that sounds pretty good. We’d eat it. Frankly, this is probably the first time we started researching for a “Ha, people make this food weird” article where we’ve been like, “…Actually, I’d love to try that” for just about every entry. This one is included. It’s only available seasonally, which is a shame, because we want a Phoritto right now, give it to us Komodo.
While a handful of restaurants have run with this idea, My Ceviche in Miami is probably the most well-known example of a grilled octopus burrito. And, hell, that looks delicious. It’s a bit jarring to think of seafood in burritos, maybe because we’re more used to fish tacos, but octopus seems like an especially unique ingredient. But again, delicious. So long as you don’t go crazy with the fillings, if you cram a tortilla full of octopus and put it in front of us, we’d absolutely eat it, and not just because we have a long held belief that if we eat animals that can solve puzzles we absorb some of their intelligence.
So yeah, if we find ourselves in Miami, we’ll have to get on this.
No, a jamburrito does not refer to a jam-filled burrito. That’d…that’d probably be pretty gross, right? No, don’t worry, Mexicue in New York City won’t do you like that. Instead, they take smoked chicken, chiles, chipotle sauce, black beans, cotija cheese, and tortilla strips to make a jambalaya stuffed burrito. We’re surprised that this didn’t originate in Louisiana, but it still seems like a delicious idea. And it’s only like, seven bucks up in New York, which, if we use our “New York to the rest of America” currency exchange calculator, is the equivalent of a free burrito in any other city (excluding Washington DC and San Francisco).
You might be noticing a trend where a lot of these have names that are trying to be puns but are actually portmanteaus? Yeah, that’s…like, really common. Apparently people would rather spend more time coming up with interesting tasty new takes on burritos than to put some effort into naming them.
Deep Fried Chocolate Chip Burrito
We actually wrote about this in 2013, but hey, it still is a burrito. This was never a restaurant offering, but it was at the 2013 Texas State Fair, which is enough for us to include it in this list. It’s chocolate chip cookie dough fried inside of a flour tortilla, because everything’s bigger in Texas, especially the heart attacks.
Another burrito entry from 2013, Burrissimo is a fast-casual Italian restaurant based out of Southern California. And one of their better selling items is, pictured above, the Italian burrito. It…kiiind of looks like a normal chicken burrito? Only it’s not. That’s not rice there, mind you—that’s angel hair pasta. Which, seems unusual right? But also something you’d not be freaked out to try. It’s…intriguing, let’s say. Currently they have three different Italian Burritos you can choose from. You can go with the Snappy Chicken, with chicken, pasta, peppers, and a spicy diavolo sauce. Or you can mix it up with the Steak N Peppers burrito, which sounds exactly like what it is (only, yes, still with angel hair pasta). And there’s the Chef’s Fave, with chicken, pasta, diavolo sauce, sautéed zucchini and mushrooms, with peppers and feta cheese.
Either way, it’s a fresh approach to a burrito that…admittedly comes pretty close to being a wrap. But if they’re going to call it a burrito, so will we. We’ve got deadlines to meet (read as: one of the interns just opened a bottle of bourbon and we got the shakes setting in).
Pad Thai Burrito
Several places make a Pad Thai Burrito, which, obviously, takes Pad Thai ingredients and…stuffs them in a burrito, but we’ll just focus on Elmyr’s entry, since their menu page has dancing tacos on it. On one hand, this seems like a bit of a stretch- adding more carbs to a Pad Thai doesn’t really seem like the best approach to take, but on the other hand, why overthink it? Pad Thai is delicious, burritos are delicious, we’ll take three, scarf one down, and then furtively pick out the meat from the second two until we get too full to continue.
Though we will say, we can guarantee that Elmyr’s spent a good solid hour trying to find some way to tie in the words “Pad Thai” to burrito. “Padthaiiiriito, no, doesn’t quite work. Parito? That sounds like a parrot. Thairito, no, that’s not it. DAMMIT, just call it a pad thai one.”
In May of 2017, Bob Ramen in Connecticut decided to celebrate Cinco De Mayo by making a ramen burrito and really stretching to name it a ramenrrito. Which…like, is it racist? Like, “we do ramen noodles, but it’s like, a Mexican holiday, so let’s make a burrito for no reason?” Is that? We’re not sure. Is it delicious? It looks…pretty good actually. The burrito was filled with ramen noodles, a protein of choice, scallions, bamboo shoots, garlic paste and nori, and it came with a ramen broth for dipping. Which, again, we came into this thing fully expecting to take a ramen burrito and go, “Look at this chef and his hubris, he tried to reach the sun but lo his wings melted.” Except…no, we’d eat that. They were free on Cinco de Mayo, but then were added to the menu in Bob Ramen’s two locations. It’s almost enough to make us want to swing by Hartford to check it out. Like, let’s not get carried away, we said almost, we can also wait for someone closer to our offices to decide to make one of these themselves instead.
…Okay. So. This one…is a bit of a stretch for us. We’d probably try it, but…we’d not be happy about it? Apparently some fine folks at Foodbeast, who encountered this monstrosity at Surfin’ Donuts in Mission Viejo in 2016, really liked it. It’s a breakfast burrito featuring eggs, salsa, a protein of your choice (in this case/the only correct choice, it was bacon), and a glazed doughnut just…like fucked in there or something? The writer for Foodbeast equated the doughnut to softer, sweeter potato cubes, but we’re not sure we’re buying it.
Again, given how good all the rest of these burritos look, we’ll at least try it, and let ourselves be surprised. But, yeah, besides the “mashing pastries into your burrito” maniacs in California, we’re feeling pretty proud of America’s ingenuity when it comes to burrito. Give us all of them. And like, a taste portion of the last one.