Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Burritos at their fiercest!

With the Patriots' loss at the Super Bowl on Sunday evening, it made for a bit of a sad ending to an otherwise great weekend. Monday, a hard day by any stretch, becomes that much more difficult when you know your team came so close to winning that shiny trophy....however, it would be an even bigger shame to let this bump in the road overshadow a different kind of Super Bowl that was in fact, a tremendous success this very same weekend.
On Saturday, at Poe's Rattlesnake Kitchen and Bar, the Burrito Bowl was held for the second year in a row.  This event is thrown in honor of the Super Bowl, bringing together some of Boston's finest chefs and their own renditions of the infamous 'burrito'.  With good food, friendly faces and some fierce culinary competition, this is the kind of Super Bowl I can really get behind!

The competitive spirit started early as I raced to get in line before the doors opened to the public.  The event had sold out a couple of days I knew I had to be on my A game;)
  Luckily, Justin, a kindred food blogger, was in line just behind me, it was a nice opportunity to catch up without being distracted by endless burritos:)
Once the doors did open, I wasted no time trying to get a few good shots in before the rest of the crowds filtered in. 

The Boloco team had prime real estate, with their station set up right up front and center. Jason Hutchison had prepared a 'Chorizo con papas' burrito, served with tortillas and some very spicy salsa. It was a great way to kick off:)
The way the Burrito Bowl is set up, each Chef has their station where they prepare their concoction and hand out sample-sized portions (although some of the 'sample' sizes are incredibly generous...not that I am complaining!).  Guests are given a voting card and just before the end, all votes are tallied to determine the winner and esteemed Burrito Bowl Champion.
Although everyone performed well, a couple of Chefs really stood out and made my final decision difficult. Chef Jon Gilman of Church made a mean 7-layer dip burrito. It was a seven layer goblet of intrigue that came garnished with a spinach tortilla chip and a piece of pork belly. I really loved this number, the pulled pork at the bottom was absolutely delicious. I think it would have been much stronger if it was somehow easier to get all the flavors at once... 

Chef Marc Orfaly from Pigalle made a really delicious and subtle Kimchi burrito.  The kimchi made for a delicious hint of tangy spice and the spicy mayo on the side was the perfect 'moist maker'.  I would have preferred it if the rice was more seemed to be a bit of a bland filler that took away from the killer kimchi.

Chef Erwin Ramos of Ole was busy firing up some of the world's most complicated burrito bowls. I can't actually remember what all went into them. I can recall a layer of rice and black beans, two different kinds of meat, (pork I think...), fried plantains (boy am I a sucker for those!), jicama slaw....some very delicious corn lasagna and various salsas...

Although some elements of this bowl were really fantastic (plantains and corn lasagna), there was a bit too much going on for it to be truly effective...

The Chef I was most impressed with turned out to be the Crowd favorite. (The judge's award went to Andy Husbands of  Brian Roche of Lolita somehow managed to create a bowl that kept me coming back for seconds...and maybe even a third;)

On a bed of truffle risotto, we had sauteed mushrooms, a beautifully cooked beef (I don't know how they managed to cook this meat just so at such a big event!) drizzled with a sweet sauce.  Here and there you would find a crunch from crispy fried pork rinds and yes...that dusting on top is a cluster of gold specks.
This dish was really top notch, the flavors were different and creative and worked together to bring about a wondrous ensemble.
Chef Roche managed to circumvent all the challenges that are inherent in such off-site competitions - his bowls were all presented in the same, consistent manner, each was treated and garnished individually, each produced the same high level quality and taste.
At events like these, I always come out feeling completely full - but not just from the food, but also from new, fresh takes on some of my favorite restaurants in Boston. I am also always filled with new spots to check out. Freshly added to the Foodista Archives are restaurants Church and Ole. Repeat visits are also in order for Pigalle and Lolita:)
So even though one Super Bowl did not turn out quite right, I can get on with my week in peace knowing that at least Burritos are properly attended to:)
Congratulations and thank you to all participants of the Burrito Bowl II, it was a fantastic event and I cannot wait until next year! A special thanks to Brian Poe for hosting:)


  1. This. Sounds. Amazing. I'm actually salivating. What a cool event!

  2. We now have to wait a whole other year:(