SUCKter 5, the final chapter... Enter the Burrito
During the last half of 2008 the East End of Toronto was shocked asunder by the opening of a new restaurant at the corner of Greenwood and Queen East.
With Ghalis kitchen closing up shop midway through the summer
Rumors filled the foothills with talk of Mexican food.. yet others spoke whispers of Chinese cuisine. Finally on one fateful day as i stepped off the oh so reliable Greenwood 31B i came face to face with new signage in Ghalis window. Where before there was a scribbled note on a piece of cardboard from Ghali himself... something about being thankful for the patronage, now there was a bright colourful sign boasting a curious name.
"Chino Locos", with an even more curious side note read underneath
-tasty good burritos.
Concaleath and i talked about what kind of burritos we'd like to have.
Con pointed out that the name quite literaly meant the crazy chinese.
hmm, chinese... burritos? really? has the world gone mad?
how would the two come together? would they have refried beans?
funny how the same location that once sported Jamican style Italian food would have a Chinese take on Mexican right after... hmm. East End is all about the melting pot.
When the store finally opened and was up and running smoothly we found that all of us staff at the Film Buff (British lads excluded) had become addicted to these delicious treats.
for only 6 bucks you don't get to just enjoy a burrito that is pushing the envelope of what makes or should be a burrito. No, a Locos burrito quite frankly destroys all boundries and envelopes in place of existing burrito guidelines. It's food that exists on its own plane of existence, a meal wrapped into a whole wheat tortilla shell that brings you from one side of the Earth to the other and back home again. It's a godsend for East Endies who were torn between Canadian Chinese local Sea Breeze and heart palpatating fried chicken at ChickenJoy. Both restaurents do have their own charm but it's Loco that's carved a real niche in the void between The Beaches and Leslieville.
Like the foreign masterpieces we rent out at the Buff most people will bite their thumb at what Loco has to offer.
And indeed i have found in my experience that customers with a broader taste in film are more likely to enjoy a Chino Locos burrito, while more mainstream customers seem to have their taste buds and film tastes pretty much in tune with one another making them dislike the burrito. But that's a generalization and i have neither the bravado or proper length of tools to make such assumptions strongly. maybe i have the girth tho... ah well.. for another post maybe.
Here is my take on the best 5 burritos to order up at Chino Locos
#5 The Weekly Special
The "special" burrito changes quite often and feels more of a daily occurence more than a weekly affair. Since the special is so broad and takes many different forms it is only fair that it takes the top spot of the list. Although it must be said that some of the best edible things i've ever put in my mouth are included under the heading special. A prime rib special is not only rib meat but also is packed with mashed potatoes, cheese, and corn. Making it more of an American burrito, and quite literally a whole dinner in a shell. What's better though, but will cost you a little more, is the lamb burrito. Lamb instead of prime rib with all the fixings is incredibly delcious although pretty rare. Other great specials include jerk pork or chicken. Both can be amazing but i would never walk away from the pulled jerk pork. Really something special. Also an assortment of curry burritos which are takes on their regular burritos but given a carribean feel leaving you wtih a taste of having a roti but still holding on to such goodness as cilantro and cheese.
#4 Paradise Vegan
This slice of vegetarian heaven is really something to get excited that you watched Babe too many times as a kid about. This baby has got tofu steak, eggplant, and shitake mushrooms. Fixings you won't find in any burrito. It's a buck more than the other burritos but hey, it was your choice to not eat the cute animals now you gotta pay for it.
The house signature burrito. The one that started it all. I advise first comers to try this one out. Slow roasted pulled pork with ginger relish is what got me hooked to these bad boys in the first place. Best had with noodles and the extra fixings.
#2 Pollo Loco
Their chicken burrito cooked in a Mexican tinga sauce. A terrific stand by and something anyone can get up close and personal to. If the fusion idea freaks you out too much try this one out with rice instead of noodles. You'll find yourself in familiar burrito territory yet still have half your body in unfamiliar waters.
#1 Off Da Hook
The mother of all burritos. Quite easily wins the award for best burrito I've ever had. Seared steak with black beans best had spicy with noodles and the extra fixings: sour cream and cheese. Your taste buds will love you for trying it out.
All burritos come with great fixings like cilantro, edamame, and avocado but it's their signature chipotle sauce that really brings these suckers ahead of the pack when it comes to amazing cheap eats.
other things on the menu that didn't make the list are
The Finest: this basa fish burrito looks good and got a great write up from Eye Weekly i just can't eat fish. so there.
Dessert Burritos: i've yet to try any of these. I'd like to give it a go one time but i never have room for anything else after i've had a full burrito.
An honourable mention to their take on ice cream. I had the pleasure of testing it out, a corn and cheese ice cream doesn't sound (or look for that matter) too appealing but it's a subtle delicious little treat that i hope they go somewhere with.
When they first opened the Now gave Locos a pretty unfavourable review giving them two N's out of a possible 5. I chalk that up to the boys still getting up on their feet. Yet the Now did like the dessert burritos.
Eye Weekly recently gave them the once over and gave them a glowing four star review out of a possible five, stating the only thing that didn't sit well were the dessert burritos.
Funny, if you mix the two... like i do then you got a glowing 6 star review out of a possible five. i like that.
Eye Weekly's - great pic too!
Well old sports that wraps up this little Sector experiment. I'm not really sure how it came about but it sure as hell was fun writing it. 2009 looks to be an exciting year for us here at the Buff and for the worldwide economy in general... i mean yes we can change things right!?
for all ya'lls