Now, we all know that I’m a NorCal boy through and through. Pretty well established, born and raised there, blocks from the beach in the country-hood (I really think thats the best description for my hometown, and if you’ve visited and spent time with me there, you’ll agree). Anyway, there are few food things I’m picky about, my burritos, are not one of them. To me, a burrito should have, meat, rice, beans, sour cream, guac and cheese (I don’t like salsa in my burritos, I feel like it messes with the flavor which should stand on it’s own as a good mix of ingredients, but I digress, to each their own).
When I finally decided that Chicago was the city for me, two months before I actually set foot in the city, I started doing research. What did I find? A TON of Mexican people live here. AWESOME! I was so scared that I was going to be without a good burrito somewhere in the neighborhood that I would wither and blow right out of the windy city.
Well with all the Raza rollin’ around this city, I figured I’d have my fill of burritos and I would never be far from my long adored carnitas. I was wrong…Oh how wrong I was.
My hunt for a good NorCal style burrito, one fitting of Vallarta, Cancun or Castillito level praise has not materialized, and its not for lack of trying. When I got here I was unemployed and pretty much homeless, so it was a great time to explore my burrito options. I always get the same thing on my first trip to a new mexican restaurant. We all have those foods we use to base our opinions off of, for some, Eggs Benedict, a meat scramble or biscuits and gravy…mine, carnitas…duh. My mantra is, “A carnitas burrito a day keeps the boyfriends away,” and it had really become more of a way of life than just a saying…just sayin’…but here, there are no carnitas. Thats right folks…seasoned shredded fried pork doesn’t exist in the midwest, and it’s a cryin’ shame.
As of now, that mantra has become but a distant memory. I have given up…I am no longer trying to track down good Mexican food here. Thats right…I’m done.
When Chipotle is considered good mexican food, the taqueria waitresses look at you crazy when you tell them to put rice and beans inside the burrito or they’re so shocked that spanish just flew out of the white-boy’s mouth they can hardly respond…it’s time to call it quits. Yes, I’ve been to the far reaches of Bucktown, Belmont Gardens even the north part of Clark street…no dice…except hanging from the mirror, and no carnitas either.
That being said, I will just stick true to my NorCal roots and inhale as many of my favorite burritos I can and maybe pack a few away on my return trips home…as long as TSA doesn’t think they’re something explosive and confiscate them (I would go carnival freak on them, seriously, it would not be pretty). Luckily…I did find good dim sum…more on that later.