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Hot Shop, Albany

Has anyone been to this little burrito place on San Pablo a half-block south of Solano?

I'm not much of a burrito person, but I was in the neighborhood and gave it a try. The "special" burrito menu is apparently the main attraction - and what the owner eagerly steers you toward - featuring meats marinated in unusual sauces like garlic/lime and honey/curry (the "Tropical"). I tried the former, and now I think I need to come back for the latter...the meat was definitely above average for a burrito, and the salsa was very flavorful.

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  1. i've lived in the area for most of my life and have never tried it. but it was mentioned in the chronicle's "bargain bites" section. let us know what you discover.

    1. I've tried the Tropical chicken burrito as a plato and I really liked it. The owner/cook uses Halal chicken breasts and marinates them in a honey/curry sauce til the meat is very tender.. then I think sautees the chicken chunks in a pan. It's a bit greasier than I expected but it made for a satisfying meal.

      The black beans served taste a bit different so I asked the owner what he puts in his beans, and he said "oregano." The owner's not trying to cook authentic Mexican fare, rather he's putting an Afghan spin on everything he cooks... and all the meat he uses is Halal (therefore, tastier and more natural in my opinion)

      I liked how clean the place was and how the owner is down for a chat. I also didn't mind having my food served on a partitioned plastic Solo plate.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Sophia C.

        I went for lunch today. The (apparent) owner said "First Time?" He told me I wanted to try the kebab, or if a burrito, the "Tropical" although I was leaning to the BBQ. He was eager for me to like my food, and asked how I learned of the place. I told him I have walked by it frequently, and live nearby, but usually it is on a Sunday. He said he'd be likely opening on Sundays soon, and I mentioned how there aren't many places around open for lunch on Sunday. We also discussed some other local places, like when I said Christopher's is open on Sunday eve, but not for lunch, and I find their food really bland. He then mentioned the "lines out the door" at Gordo, and neither of us could figure out why. Now, back to the food.

        I ordered the Tropical to go, with some hot sauce. I thought it was very good, but in a "this is not mexican food" way. More like something you would have gotten at World Wraps way back when, but better, and cheaper. What could have been better was the hot sauce because the food didn't call for a mexican salsa verde, but rather, maybe something like the hot sauce that Sophia Cafe has (made freshly) - it would have been great on the lamb.

        I'll go back to check out some other things.

        1. re: lmnopm

          Great. I'll be interested to hear about what else they have. A friend has been trying to get me to stop there for quite a while, but I'm not so big on burritos. Not to derail this thread, but if you are there, make a stop at House of Bread about a block up. There are free samples of everything so you can decide if you like it or not. Next time I'm at HOB, I'm going to trot down the street and check out Hot Spot.

          1. re: rworange

            house of bread is great. however, just had the tropical burrito at the hot shop and it was fab.

            1. re: choctastic

              i forgot to say that i got my burrito with beef not chicken. beef was better, very tender yet with a good chew. i don't like beef because it gives me heartburn and whatnot but i was told by co-worker to get it this way

      2. Since Hot Shop is a fusion of Halal and Mexican cooking, they should change their name to Halalpeno, and watch the crowds pour in.

        1. Gordo has a line out the door because it's close to Albany high school. The line's mostly teenage boys.

          I tried Hot Shop today because this post made me curious and I live nearby. The "tropical" was pretty much curry in a tortilla, with nice black beans and just okay rice. I don't like cheese in a burrito, so that was fine. The sauce was creamy and a bit spicy, a bit sweet. Nice, but I doubt I'll try it again. I'd like to know if anyone else has tried the other burritos. Artichoke, anyone?

            1. Thanks for the post. I tried the tropical plate a few nights ago. It was tasty and definately something I'd order again.

              1. Oh, *that* Hot Shop.

                I stopped by quite a while ago, and was underwhelmed. It was unmemorable enough that I don't remember quite what it had, but it took a long time. I was the only person in the store, and it must have taken 10 minutes. I was expecting some kind of flavor explosion, and the burrito was a somewhat standards beans-n-rice with a light marinade on the meat. Ho hum.

                I was constantly going to Gordos, and I'm happy to tell why. The carnitas there is just how I like it - crispy, juicy, yum. It stood on its own, so you could easily get a regular burrito (with hot sauce) and have a party in your mouth. Just carnitas and beans. Besides, in and out in 10 minutes (even with the line). Sure, there are better burritos - but not on Solano, not at that price. Cactus is a pale imitation of its previous self.