Do you remember the time you had your first burrito ever?
Neither do I.
But I do remember the first burrito I've had in basically 7 months! (The last of which was the Flaming Hot Frito burrito from Taco Bell. ...which was absolutely amazing! ...it had Flaming Hot Fritos, rice, and warm nacho cheese in it. Need I say more? :D...).
Glory be the friend (American J) who follows the foodie trends of Helsinki, and who, after several hours (yes, you read that right) of glasses shopping, thought that we should have lunch at a new Mexican restaurant that just opened up. It's called Cholo.
It serves delicious Mexican street food. In a restaurant.
After I ordered my carne asada burrito (with my mouth watering...so I also ordered a delicious for realz sugar Fanta), American J ordered her burrito and the guy asked where we were all from (since clearly we were American). Turns out one of the owners is from Arizona and the other is clearly from actual Mexico! They were delighted by our North American accents and hilarious to say, I think we all felt a little more at home. :)
Awesome it be, though under normal circumstances it would not be, they were so popular that day that they had run out of everything but burritos! And only certain flavors of burritos were available (not that it really mattered because they were all still delicious flavors anyway): queso fresco, carne asada, and chicken. I was foolishly trying to order carnitas (my favorite type of Mexican meat), so the guy threw me a bone and gave me a sprinkling of carnitas in my burrito, despite the specialty meat being normally reserved for their tacos (which they were clearly out of).
The place was small but after waiting for only a minute or two a tiny table in the back opened up and we were able to squeeze into it (there were four of us). And after chatting for maybe another 15-20 minutes, our bounty showed up, warm in its Chipotle-like glory:
Yes, I know it is slight sacrilege or somewhat like being in league with the devil, but I do actually miss Chipotle and Taco Bell, despite them being completely unauthentic. There's just something about being able to get a completely filling burrito at any time of day that just rings true with the human soul. Or maybe just mine.
In any case, as soon as our food arrived, our table went silent. Mouths were full of food, there was no time for talking.
And gloriously, they came with homemade salsas:
The red one is a roasted salsa and was deliciously spicy and tasted of cilantro (despite showing no visual evidence of such a thing), and the green one was, naturally, salsa verde made from tomatillos. I smothered my burrito in both as I gobbled it down. It was heaven. Absolute food heaven.
Despite my love of fine dining, there really is nothing like chowing down on home food. Not that I'm Mexican, but comfort food is comfort food. And I was getting comfortable. Really reminded me of San Diego. Maybe that's what it was - feeling good about food again. Even if it was only for 45 minutes (yes, it did take me that long to eat the whole thing...yes, I did eat the whole thing...despite the fact that it probably weighed the same as my forearm).
I mean, how could you not love a face like that? Black refried beans, rice, guacamole (which had real lime in it!), lettuce, pico de gallo (I loved them just for that, it was so refreshing to have real salsa in there), melted cheese, my carne asada plus sprinkled carnitas...ah, all wrapped up in a hand-toasted flour tortilla.
Yes, I devoured it. And it was amazing. I didn't even feel particularly full afterwards, my body needed it so much. Craved its very existence in my being. It was incredible. I heartily thanked the chefs afterwards...they had certainly made my day. If not my month.
Apparently they also have a sister restaurant, Patrona (there is an accent over that "o", similar to the wondrous tequila that I smuggled back to Finland in my suitcase...all two liters of it from Costco...). It is a real sit-down restaurant, reservations required. Clearly will need to be checked out...