Mexicali Burrito at Technology Sq.
I went the second day it was open (walked right in, but I eat lunch late - like 2:00). In a word: meh. I got the chicken roja (?), guac and cheese, had to pay extra for pico de gallo, all for $7 and change. A lot of beans, no particular flavor jumped out. Not actually bad, but I think I'm just spoiled by Villa Mexico. I'd do the trucks if I needed cheap/fast & Villa Mexico if I was willing to wait and haul over the bridge.
Was on a strange schedule today and happened to be walking by when the place was practically empty, so figured I'd give it a try.
First: yes, it's the same owner as Baja Betty's. The giveaway--other than the fact that he was actually there, rolling burritos--is the "Watsonville Burrito". (If you've ever been to Watsonville CA, you will no doubt find this highly amusing; but I get the feeling they're counting on people *not* having been to Watsonville)
Anyway, got the chile relleno burrito. The guy making them informed me solemnly that I'd be getting "East LA-style chile rellenos". (I've lived in both LA and Santa Cruz, and wasn't aware that there was a difference, but whatever...) I want to like this place, since unlike some other not-to-be-named supposedly mission-style burrito places, these guys understand the concept of the salsa bar. But the burrito was a disaster-- poorly wrapped, watery, falling apart tortilla, completely tasteless pepper in a bland batter coating, beans that were too salty but otherwise didn't taste like much. I couldn't bring myself to eat more than half of it, even with liberal amounts of salsa. I hope for their sake that the meats are their specialty! Convenient or no, I don't think I'll be going back. (In fact, I may have been cured of ever trying another Boston burrito)
I have no direct comparison, because they've always been out of chile rellenos when I've tried to order the same item at Baja Betty's. I find the other offerings that I'd tried quite equivalent (boring, salty/bland), though I'd not had the same problem with the integrity of the tortilla and the folding before. My burrito @ mexicali was wrapped by the owner, though, so couldn't be a training issue.
You're right, though, that since they're just open, it's perhaps not fair to write them off for good. I really would love to like these places, since they're near where I work and where I live, and I mostly dread the other games in town, too... (And the hype about Santa Cruz and Watsonville, though quite random, is also kind of entertaining for those of us who have lived there) I myself won't be the one checking back to see how things are progressing, though :)
El Pelon is about the only mex-type places in Boston that doesn't make my soul feel sad, but that's mainly because I like their fish tacos, which are not strictly in the usual SoCal style, so I can dissociate it from any expectations and just enjoy the hot crispy fish morsels with pickled cabbage :) I can't vouch for their burritos, though.
Just finished eating a burrito from MexiCali, and just registered at this site so I could tell everyone it's not worth it. For some reason, Boston loves its burritos and I'm no exception, so here's my assessment.
What I ordered: Watsonville style, comes with rice/beans, 2 fillings (I got carne asada + squash), and all toppings (pico de gallo, sour cream, guac, lettuce, cheese).
-Quantity of food: weighed in about the same as a super burrito from Anna's, Advantage: BoLoco.
-Burrito cross-section: Even amounts of each ingredient, read: almost no meat. BoLoco is about half rice, so... Advantage: Anna's.
-Quality of construction: poor. They go for the short and fat style of wrapping which makes it difficult to eat, same as BoLoco and sometimes Chipotle. Bad foil wrapping resulted in drips. Advantage: Anna's.
-Taste: I get black beans because they aren't as salty or mushy as the refried, so when you leave them in the gook they are stored in and add tons of salt, that's not a good thing. Also, the meat was non-discernible from the rest of the ingredients in the center. Overall, meh.
-Value: terrible. Advantage: Anna's over and over again.
Wow, totally less than mediocre.
"in the style of the San Francisco Mission District" says it's website. Don't make the comparison if you aren't even going to come close.
Just had the good fortune to have an al pastor burrito from Pancho Villa, 16th and Valenica in SF on Monday. So the goodness is fresh in my memory. And PV for those who know, is average by SF standards.
Shares some of the same issues as Boca and Anna's, Boca in particular, imho:
- flavorless rice (vs. Mission)
- uneven distribution of ingredients
But mexicali takes it down a few steps further and create a new low for east coast burritos -
- several of their burritos call for two fillings. Why on earth would anyone want to mix two fillings? chile colorado with "pollo rojo?" And as a restaurant owner interested in quality. Why would you craft a guajillo sauce worth of serving, then let customers mix in another chile sauce and ruin the main ingredient?
- The wrap! OMG! Worst I've seen this side of qdoba. Barely a fold. After unwrapping, the thing started to full apart.
- Hot salsa, flavorless.
- black beans or refried. no pinto?
- the two tortilla watsonville. Hah. With Watsonville in the name I thought it was going to be an artichoke burrito. Like poster above, not sure what Watsonville has to do with anything. But hey, that's nitpicking at this point.
maybe they are trying to differentiate from Anna's and BG, but it would be better off if it just didn't suck.
I work right around the corner, so I was thrilled at the prospect of getting a good burrito for lunch without making the arduous trip to, er, any of the 10 other burrito places in a 1 mile radius.
Oh, man. Woeful. Tried an achiote chicken and a pork something (two different burritos; why on earth anybody would combine two whole different flavors in one gloppy mess I have no idea), and both were flatly dreadful. My wife described them as what you might come up with at home if you'd read about burritos in a book, but never actually eaten one, and lived somewhere where none of the correct ingredients were really available. The black beans tasted freshly dumped out of a can, the rice was dry and awful, the meats tasted like something you dumped an Old El Paso flavor packet on. Even the tortilla was bad, and the whole thing was ineptly assembled. The pork burrito resembled a sloppy joe more than anything Mexican or Californian, and the chicken burrito had an inexplicable range of temperatures among its ingredients, like sometime in the past it had been frozen whole.
I rank them right down there with BoLoCo, and Baja Betty's for that matter, all considerably below Anna's, which is my reference point of minimum quality below which I will not willingly eat. Even the Jose's truck, a block away, is plainly better. And Villa Mexico or Olecito, in either direction, are whole different worlds.