Food: March 2007 Archives


March 3, 2007

Bay Area burrito classic El Burrito Real just closed its doors. I must have eaten hundreds of burritos there and while I'd seen them made I thought before it went out of business, it would be interesting to see things from the other side of the counter. Cisco, the manager, was kind enough to teach me the basics and let me work a shift last Monday. Plus, I got a nifty shirt. No hair net, though.

The setup at EBR is simple: there's a long line of ingredients on a steam tray. You walk down the line and point to what you want. They pile it on the tortilla and then wrap it all up at the end. This turns out to be the tricky part of the operation, so they teach it to you first. I showed up at 4:30 and Cisco pointed me to a tortilla piled with rice and beans. He showed me how to do the wraps and set me to practicing. After about 50 wraps and more than a few ruined tortillas I was pronounced ready to try making a whole burrito.1 My first official burrito was for Mrs. Guesswork but then I stuck around and worked the counter for a while. I'm also fully qualified to make tacos and combo plates, so if the whole security thing doesn't work out...

1. The important things to know here are (1) get the fillings centered on the tortilla (2) once you get the tortilla half-rolled to collect the filling and pull it back into the roll (3) fold the edges of the tortilla back in before you give it one final roll.