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ISO Best Burrito in PHX compared to NYC...read on

My dear BF from NYC always complains to me about the burritos here in Phoenix that they don't have enough stuff (rice, beans, cheese, sour cream, etc.) in them compared to his fave place in NYC - La Paloma Burritos on 45th between 8th & 9th. He ordered a chicken burrito at Carolina's & all that came in it is chicken. I guess he wants something like you can get at Chipotle, only really good of course. So does anyone here know about La Paloma in NYC & can make good recommendations for similar/better places here? I am not the greatest Mexican resource here because I don't love it, but I do enjoy any good food. Help me put this big city boy back in his place ;-)

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  1. Sounds like he wants what I think of as a "Mission-style" burrito like a person would find in San Francisco. I'm not a big fan of those 3-lb combo-plate-in-a-tortilla burritos, so I haven't really sought them out here. La Tolteca on Van Buren offers a "super" burrito that has the salad in with the meat, but I don't think it has rice or beans, though maybe one could pay extra to have them added.

    Really, it seems to me that around here, the most likely source for such a thing is a national chain like Chipotle or Someburros, but maybe others know of high-quality, locally-based sources for Mission-style burritos.

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    La Tolteca
    1205 E Van Buren St, Phoenix, AZ 85006

    1. He needs to adjust his thinking. Really.

      Think of it like pizza... do you (he) want to buy a slice with 12 toppings? As good as each of those toppings might be, they get muddled when folded together. Or a NY hot dog. Add every possible topping and at some point it becomes a mob.

      Believe me. I was once there. The dream burrito was the one with the most stuff. Having 10 things going on seemed the best value. But here's the rub... it's too much. The taste buds can only discern so much at once. Imagine spending years creating the best tasting piece of chicken or refried beans. If you did that, why add 9 more competing flavors? Also, many places use the other stuff as fillers. If you want a carne asada burrito, do you really want to hunt for the beef pieces?

      I'd suggest a better burrito philosophy. Start with the main ingredient of desire and seek who delivers the best of that. Carnitas? Shrimp? Chicken? As far as I can tell the fave chow places discussed here will serve it pure or accompanied by rice, beans, guac, etc. on request.

      1. if he's ever had carolina's red chile and still wants a burrito with rice and beans, there's no hope for him. :)

        1 Reply
        1. How about Chino Bandido?
          http://chinobandido.com/about.html

          Short of that, there's always Taco Del Mar, which markets themselves as a purveyor of "mission-style" burritos.
          http://www.tacodelmar.com/

          1 Reply
          1. re: ipsedixit

            Heh, I'm sure Chino's would be glad to do a Jade Red Chicken and machaca burrito, that'll fix him!

            I have found the Taco del Mar burritos to be excessively gloppy. Perchance Hippies Cove on Mill Ave, formerly a Taco del Mar, managed to fix the problem.

            As far as great burros with lots of ingredients... Phoenix isn't the place for 'em. Tell your friend asking for mission style burritos around here is like asking for deep-dish pizza in NYC. The best multi-ingredient burro around is the Oaxaca Special at Carolina's, with chorizo, potato, beans, and cheese.

          2. Unfortunately, the "mission style" burrito that is popular is really not part of the Phoenix Mexican dining scene (although I am sure a few places to cater to that, but none that I know of that stand out).

            Although it won't satisfy his craving, your BF can at least take some solace in knowing that the burritos in Arizona are more authentic than the mission style. JK, who has great food knowledge, has reminded us before that burritos were invented in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico and pretty much contained just a couple of ingredients.

            I do agree with azhotdish, though. The red chile burrito at Carolina's is fantastic.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Seth Chadwick

              basically any burro at carolina's will rock yer world. i also love the burro's at rito's, esp the green chile. be careful - its like a soup burro, and if you aren't careful you'll end up wearing it

              1. re: winedubar

                And be sure to get extra tortillas, maybe some red or green chile to take home, assemble with whatever "extras" you might desire! I just used one of those tortillas for today's lunch...