In Search of the Great Burrito
If there’s anything that I am an expert on it is burritos: the kind of Tex-Mex hearty burritos that come wrapped in white flour tortillas and do not have the pretense of yuppie “wraps.” Hell, I was eating burritos when I was a baby. My mom would dump a cheese & bean burrito into the blender and then feed it to me with a side of jalapeños. Later I was inaugurated to tripe and brain barbacoa burritos. So I know of what I speaketh.
We in White Center are blessed with a bounty of Mexican and Latin American restaurants. Way back in time when White Center actually lived up to its reputation as Rat City I discovered Taqueria Guaymas on the corner of 17th and Roxbury. Guaymas serves mission-style burritos which, strictly speaking are not actually a Mexican product. Mission-style burritos originated with California’s Chicano community. These burritos are defined by their hefty girth and the prodigious helping of rice and beans. In this regard, Guaymas makes the best mission style burrito around, Spanish rice, whole beans and your choice of fillings. Guaymas has locations in more upscale neighborhoods but the original one is still the best, especially when it comes to authentic meats.
At the other end of the spectrum is the taco trailer between 15th and 16th Avenue SW, otherwise known as Taqueria La Fondita. The burritos here leave good grease stain on your plate and hefty piece of lead in your belly. In other words, this is the real deal, Tex-Mex burritos as I recall them. Unlike mission-style burritos, these are not as packed with carbs but what they lack in grains they make up in flavor. You can taste this morning’s huevos rancheros in the grease they use to fry the carnes for your burrito. This is the stuff you eat when you need to cure a Tequila hangover. The salsa they use is nothing to write home about, but the side of grilled carrots and jalapeños is excellent.
More recently El Paisano, WC’s great Mexican butcher shop, has opened a restaurant by the same name close to the intersection of 15th and Roxbury. The meats used are excellent and include my favorite barbacoa de chivo (goat meat barbeque). These burritos are more authentically Mexican. The red meats are succulent and leave no doubt that these were made with a very fine grade of meat. The roasted chickens are coated in a red adobo sauce that permeates the chicken with a subtle spicy flavor. The red salsa is excellent and is strongly recommended.
If you want to explore there are more Mexican and Latin American restaurants in White Center. I did not review these others, because they are somewhat outside of my orbit and are more in the nature of sit-down restaurants; these include Restaurante Del Rio and Viva Mexico (both on 17th Ave. SW). In any event, it’s hard to go wrong when it comes to burritos at WC.
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