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September 13, 2014 posted by

America’s Best Burritos

America’s Best Burritos

Reference posts are common on my blog but this is the first time I’ve posted one for myself. This series of articles is a search for the best burrito in America. For me, and many of my friends, it’s about useful anything I can imagine. Why, you may be wondering, is  any of this relevant, much less vital (make no mistake, it is), on a fitness/nutrition/sports blog? Because burritos are special; the perfect food item. I’ve gone weeks at a time in my life eating nothing but burritos. Along with  coffee and beer, they are the holy trinity of sustenance. For me, the stuff that dreams are made of consists of beans, rice, salsa and other assorted items, wrapped in a tortilla.

Before we delve into the article(s), let’s talk about health. I’ve yet to deconstruct the Outside article about me. While it’s slightly misleading, the one thing that isn’t is my adherence to beans and rice as an athletic staple. Historically and world wide, beans and rice (or variations of) is the working class’s breakfast of champions. If you want to get shit done, mixing these two foods is the perfect place to start. It’s nature’s power food for those who need to be active. In one of the more ripped periods of my existence, I was training in front of a large group when someone decided to pay homage to my physique. “Jesus, man, what the hell have you been eating?” a comment to which I’d generally ignore or give a self-depricating reply. Except, in this case, where the truth was not just easier but more fun. “Burritos!”

My group was so passionate about them that we kept notes long before there was an internet, with designs on a larger-scale project. Years on the road featured appearances of many of the taquerias appearing in these pages, along countless others. Bob mainlined a web site for a while, and a burrito app would be a stroke of genius (a project I’d love to take on if I were retired). You simply can’t have too much information about where to find a good burrito when on the road. And, thus, today’s Psyche post is a veritable pot of gold.

Early this year, FiveThirtyEight evaluated 67,391 burrito-selling establishments, huddled with food experts and selected 64 of the nation’s finest burritos to compete in the search for America’s best burrito. Since then, this burrito correspondent has traveled more than 20,000 miles around the United States and eaten 84 burritos in two rounds (to say nothing of the dozens of extracurricular burritos I polished off).

I journeyed from Key West to Hawaii in search of gastronomic nirvana. I snarfed breakfast burritos, burritos with french fries, and an avant-garde burrito stuffed with Cap’n Crunch-encrusted tilapia. I gobbled burritos from trucks, stands and brick-and-mortar establishments (not to mention a couple of vending machines). I bought a six pack of burritos in New Mexico for $11 and a haute burrito in Phoenix for $18.50.

Cynics will fault the rating system, missing restaurants, and, of course, the winners but let’s be clear. No matter who you are or what your taste, you are somehow represented. This is seminal work on a massive scale. Yes, it’s biased. No, I don’t agree with all of it. But, frankly, it would be downright scary if I did. It’s a brilliant piece of research that leaves me salivating throughout. I will reference it often and it won’t be judged obsolete until I’ve tried every place on the list.

For perspective, here are some words from Todd Mei, my longtime partner in the quest of the perfect burrito, now salsa-exiled as a professor of Philosophy in Scotland. The piece hit him hard, and I feel his pain.

I can’t even look at the article. Those pictures . . . too much burrito. I mean the things I can get here that pass by that name–like comparing MLS to the English Premiere League. 

Bravo, Fivethirtyeight.com. You are my current favorite web site.

 

2 Comments

  • Delicious.
    Perhaps I’m not your target audience, but probably the most informative and useful post you’ve ever put up.

  • I completely agree. Like I said, a personal reference post. At some point, a burrito road trip is in order. Maybe something like Neuman’s challenge, but adding burritos to it as the only food you can eat. And beer. Boy are we gonna drink a lot of beer.

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