1 (Thu) March 2012
Bacon Breakfast Burrito + Chicken Burrito + Salsa
-Oksu, Seongdong, Seoul, Republic of Korea-
with W and DJ
Gringos is a Tex-Mex food delivery business. They receive orders for burritos and various items over the internet or by phone, accept payment via electronic transfer, make the food at some undisclosed location, freeze it, and ship it to the customer. The brochure claims “by waigooks” (외국s),” presumably to indicate that foreigners are somehow involved in the process, but no additional information on their identity is provided.
I ordered the 12-pack combo, allowing me to sample nearly everything on the menu, including 4 chicken burritos, 2 bacon breakfast burritos, 2 chorizo breakfast burritos, 2 (450-ml) tubs of chili, 1 tub of bean & cheese dip, and 1 tub of salsa, all for 55,000 won. The only menu item that I didn’t choose was the veggie burrito. Shipping an additional 7,500 won.
4 items were tried on this first occasion.
1. The chicken burrito, their signature product, was okay (2.5). After thawing the burrito on the counter, I removed the plastic and paper wrappings, rewrapped it in foil, and popped it on a tray in the oven at full whack for about 30 minutes, inadvertently but fortuitously resulting in the side of the tortilla touching the tray to come out crispy (and slightly burnt). Inside, it had all the necessary components: shredded chicken, rice, beans, cheese. The chicken and rice were spicy, which provided a nice kick. Otherwise, nothing to rant, nothing to rave, though pretty good as far as frozen burritos go.
Here, I should disclose that I’m not particularly amenable to frozen burritos. My less-than-enthusiastic tone here, and previously in the Fog City review, may be attributable largely to having grown up in the San Francisco Bay Area, home of the famous Mission Burrito, where burritos are a proud part of the culinary culture and taken very seriously. When I was in college at Berkeley, burritos could be found in the cafeterias and catering trucks and takeout joints all around campus, some open 24 hours. As a result, I have a high standard for burritos.
2. The salsa wasn’t so good (1.5). Although labeled as “homemade,” it had the taste and texture of salsa from a jar, maybe because of the tomatoes, which seemed like the canned variety.
If I had to choose between Gringos and Fog City (see 3.036 Chicken Burrito with Pico De Gallo Salsa Fresca), the call would depend on the circumstances. In terms of flavor, with the spicy chicken and rice, a slight advantage goes to the burrito from Gringos. On the other hand, in terms of quality, the advantage goes to the Fog City burrito, which was also a bit bigger. As for salsa, Fog City’s fresh tomatoes and heaps of cilantro get the clear nod. So, if I had only the burrito itself, then I might take the Gringos, but if I had the burrito and the salsa, or even the burrito with a packet of hot sauce, then I’d definitely take the Fog City.
3. The bacon breakfast burrito was good (3.0). It included bacon, cheese, scrambled egg, hash brown, salsa. As and along with the chicken burrito, I warmed it up in the oven. Whereas my aversion to frozen burritos in general has to do primarily with the absence of fresh ingredients, I discovered that the components of a breakfast burrito work fine on their own, and in fact likely better on their own, even without salsa or hot sauce, all inherently soft and mushy, warm and gooey. Here, Gringos got the balance of salty-savory-sweet-spicy-tangy just right. Very well done.
4. The chili, plated separately, was decent (2.5).
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