Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Tucson Homeskillet presents: The Worst Burrito in Tucson!




Now this particular idea came to me one day while I was at work. It was slow, kind of quiet, and for some reason George Carlin kept running through my mind. I kept hearing in the recess beyond the rusty hamster wheel that is my brain, the comedic legend going on with:

"Somewhere out there is the worst doctor. Has to be. Process of elimination. And the worst part is...is that someone has an appointment to see him tomorrow!"

That notion alone got me to thinking: there has got to be the worst burrito in Tucson. Has to be. Process of elimination. 

And the worst part is...someone is buying one right now!

Why the worst burrito? I don't know. Because it takes a lot to really mess up a burrito. Plus I like burritos so...I got that going for me. 

Immediately I logged onto YELP and started snooping around. All I did was type in "worst burrito", made sure I was in the Tucson, AZ field and hit send. It did not take long to garner a decent list but one particular establishment kept coming up. 

With a consistent rating of one stars, this place had Yelpers saying:


 "I threw away my burrito after the first bite afraid for my health. This place needs to seriously consider their food. GROSS."

"Too bad I can't do 'NO stars!  No stars.....service was clueless, burrito was awful."

"The food quality was subpar. One of my containers had a live ant. Surprise health inspection recommended."

 "Seems they are using left over scraps to fill burritos, avoid this place and save your $."

"It's open on Christmas. This must have been some sort of revenge for not visiting family."


And this goes on and on. So then I got to wondering: Maybe I should go to this place, order one or some of these burritos, eat them and then chronicle my journey with what most folks online are chatting up as "the worst burrito in Tucson". 

After double checking with some other review sites, I was convinced. This one location did, indeed, as proclaimed by the general burrito eating public of Tucson, AZ, apparently harbor the worst rated burrito in town. 

As a food writer, sometimes risk taker and all around complete idiot, I put it upon myself to seek out the foulest of the foul and let you know how it really went down. 

Ready? Ok...

Here's the thing, we (well....me) at the Tucson Homeskillet like to have fun and doing a piece such as this is, in my eyes, goofy fun. But seeing as I am still in the early stages of getting my website and point of view out there, and also being a fairly nice guy, I will not give out the real name of the "restaurant". I mean, people do work there, I don't want to come across as too much of a butthead and in the end it just seems like a low blow to just make fun of a place while pointing a finger, giggling. It's not our/my style. I hope you understand. 

So, after saying that, if you really want to know the name of the restaurant, literally just Google "worst burrito in Tucson", or visit Yelp or Zomato and see for yourself. 

Okay. It was a bright, sunny, rather breezy and warm day in Tucson, when I got in the car and drove a good path out of the way to obtain this hated tortilla roll of meat slop and regret. Like a few miles. Man, this burrito better suck major ass or I'm going to get peeved. Finally, I arrived at my destitute destination, the corner of River and La Cholla (another clue) parked the rig and got out. 


You have arrived at your burrito. And may the Mexican food gods have mercy on your stomach...
The area itself was subpar; sort of desolate and acrid and the restaurant was in a broke down strip mall, sandwiched between a low end "vaping" smoke shop and this abandoned bit of furniture.


Seems cozy. And....appropriate.
To be honest I almost considered eating the burrito on that sofa but my better instincts told me that one bodily abuse would suffice for the day. Having to return home with whatever nits and creepys evolved deep in those neo-Southwestern cushions would not make the wife, cat and, well, myself very comfortable for the next few days. So I cleared that idea and went inside.

At 1pm on a Wednesday, what is typically the lunch rush, this is what I was hit with:

(insert wind noise and tumbleweeds)
Nothing. The place was empty. That, dear readers, is always a clue as to what I am about to be privy to. If there is no one here, let for a scant of employees, I suppose the reviews have caught up with them and their reputation is now clearly visible. In a town where you can get a good, if not great, if not outstanding, burrito at all hours why would you waste your hard earned dollars and eat time with something that might give you the sobs of remorse? It's just not worth it, especially here in Tucson. But, still, I had an assignment to fulfill so I bellied up to the counter and placed my order.

Since I was here, I had made the effort, the drive and had a few bucks in my pocket, I decided to be more impartial and order two burritos. Hey man, maybe the guys on the internet have just been eating one particular burrito, the one that sucks donky shafts, with the rest being of edible estate.

I ordered the "California burrito", which promises carne asada, potatoes and pico de gallo. Sounded okay, and seeing that I hail from the golden state I was curious as to why there was no avocado or guacamole on it. Potatoes? Shouldn't that be the Idaho burrito? Whatever. I also ordered the chicken burrito because, for reals, if you screw up a chicken burrito in Tucson there is little to no reason why your eating establishment should even be standing.

After a few minutes, my order was ready and I headed out to sample the wares.



My first impression before eating the food? The service was actually pretty decent. The girl at the counter was friendly and the food arrived rather swiftly. Plus it didn't smell too horrible as I made the lengthy drive home. In fact, I was starting to get really hungry.

Shotgun burritos....
When I got home, first order of business was to see what our cat, Lil Poundcake, thought about the burritos. You know, the cat's keen instinct and sense of smell and all. All she did was lazily look at the paper wrapped meat tubes as if I had just shoved two rolls of fart under her nose. Maybe it was just the post nap sleepy state she was in, but our girl wasn't having it...

Lil Poundcake is already unimpressed...
So I took the two burritos to the kitchen, assessed the pre-damage, and then went for it.

So far, so....good?
The first burrito I decided to sample was the California. Taking a chef knife I split it open to see what I was going to be working with. And this is what I got:

So when did California become associated with potatoes?
Yeah. Potatoes. Lots and lots of potatoes. With a scrim of carne asada. And...where's the pico? I don't see no stinking pico. I want my pico! C'mon man. It really didn't matter too much at that moment because I was quite ravenous. If the burrito was filled with those ants that one dude on Yelp proclaimed were, I'd still tuck in.

Then, the moment of truth: I took a bite and closed my eyes to see if the terror was as vibrant as I anticipated it would be.

And the answer is...not really. Yeah, it was a lot of potato with each bite ratio, nearly nil of carne asada and, as expected, there was no pico de gallo to be found, but it wasn't that bad. Was it because I had only had half a bagel for breakfast and that was, like, hours ago, that I was hungry enough to enjoy even the foulest of the foul? Or was this burrito actually, in a sense, edible? It was both I think. After another bite and my hunger subsided I began to really think deep about this supposed worst burrito in Tucson.

So I took the burrito into the one room where I knew I could dissertate with objectivity and equity.

The bathroom.

Sitting on the toilet. Sitting on the toilet. And...shoulda flushed it.
It was here that I realized that the California burrito was all filler. And it didn't deliver on it's promise of "pico de gallo". Using potato is a cheat in the food biz because the starchy root is cheap and can easily absorb the flavors of its surrounding components. The potatoes were actually rather toothsome; not exactly crunchy but not exactly cooked all the way through. The loose salsa they provided in plastic ramekins wasn't too shabby to my surprise. In fact, the red sauce had a bit of a kick to it. Luckily that aided in my drab disappointment of the burrito as it wasn't the worst burrito I ever had nor was it the best. Far from the best come to think of it. Trust me, I have had some gnarly burritos in my day. Hoo doggies. This particular burrito might go over well in a state that thinks mega chain taco fast food is in fact "Mexican" food, but here in the old Pueblo it was a lame side show in the great carnival of flavors to be had with burritos.

I wanted HORRIBLE! I got...adequate. Oh well.

"Yeah. No." - Lil Poundcake
So I prayed to the aformentioned Mexican food gods to give me strength, give me hope, give me...well. Either give me a surprisingly good burrito from a location everyone has deemed a shopping cart filled with mournful cheese or give me something so repugnant that all I have to do after is roll down the hill to the sadness buffet where I will happily ingest grout, a McRib and an old terrycloth robe from that creepy neighbor of yours.

I just want burrito extremes here!

God. If you're listenin'...HELP!
Instead, I called upon this god to give me strength to carry on.

Gonna need all the help I can get...
Next up: the chicken burrito.



Alright. Upon first inspection it just looked like big hunks of chicken rolled up in a tortilla. Because, in fact....that's what it was! No if's, and's or but's. Chicken. Tortilla. Got it. Done.

The first bite of the chicken burrito made me oh so happy. Why you may ask?

Because it sucked! Oh man. This flavorless piece of turd poultry was so bland and dry that I had to result to alternative measures to make it somewhat palpable.

The chicken was so stale that maybe adding some water to it might bring it back to some form of moisture. But,alas, it just made the barren heap of protein damp. Crap!

This might help...
It was still too dry. So then I tried adding some moisturizer to it. All that did was act as a weird sour cream, with an emphasis on the sour. And possibly life threatening. It didn't matter. I had finally found what I had been digging for, the cursed beast of the Tucson burrito wasteland.

It was the chicken burrito! THE WORST BURRITO IN TUCSON!

Damn you piece of crap chicken burrito. Damn you!
Stumped but not defeated, I attempted to add a bunch of ingredients to spruce up the gobbled terror of non-awesome. Nothing. Just a heck spread of mutated flavors and textures that did nothing to aid in my gleeful animosity. I mean, Nutella and bacon bits? How can that not work?

The worst burrito vortex is nothing to be contended with...

Still didn't help...
Then I got Mr. T involved. Perhaps he could gut punch it enough to make it somewhat feasible. It just made the T man more pissed off because it actually fought back. And here I thought my man didn't take no jibba jabba from no punk ass burrito.

We were wrong. We were oh....oh so wrong.

I pity the burrito that sucks wet drippy camel balls...

Slightly defeated, I left the chicken burrito out to pasture hoping the summertime wildlife would take it back to its den, nurse it to health and eventually call it one of their own.

All I got was a squirrel who gave me a small clawed thunderfinger after sniffing it a bit.

Really my furry woodland friend? I thought we were bros, bro. Not even in my desperate hour of need did those bushy tailed jackanapes come to my rescue. Fine then. Be that way. You're off my Xmas card list squirrel! See if I care!

Even the squirrels took pity on me...
Feeling sneaky, I then tried to mail it back but all the postman said was: "Not this time Metal Mark! Not this rancid piece of Satan taint. Now you go back home and think about what you were just about to do."

Man. Unprecedented heaviness from my local usually merry mail carrier in the late afternoon.

The postman always rings 'screw you!'
Forget that. The only humane effort on my part then was to burn the thing. My taste buds have already endured enough. My stomach was churning with indignation. My senses were failing as were my bowels (only slightly) so I poured fuel on the poor sumbitch and torched it. Sent it back to Hell where it belonged. Bye wack ass burrito.

Burn! Burn foul demon of flavorless Hell!
In the end, I was sad to see the thing go. I had, indeed, found and (mostly) eaten the worst burrito in Tucson. It was a steady pilgrimage to Flavorless town but my mind and body could not endure any more torment.

In my final moments parting with the burrito, I could faintly hear the ghostly call from beyond...

"I will return... I will return..."

And, it did. About an hour later.

I was, at last, relieved of The Worst Burrito in Tucson.



Typing and Camera
Metal Mark
Early July, 2015

Metal Inspiration
Carcass "Symphonies of Sickness"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7NkGG9_8aU


2 comments:

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    1. Why does it say "Removed by author"? I am the author and did not remove this. Very strange...

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