cross street: 3rd Ave./Hillway
Map Visits: 4
Shrug: beans (7); cheese (7); vegetables (7); spiciness (7); meat (6); sauciness (6); ingredient mix (6)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 1 (of 2)
Our panel is never super-eager to get to Carmelina’s, even though we’ve only been subjected to one truly ghastly burrito here over the years (9/25/2003, from the looks of things below). Still, this time through was the third consecutive case of hey-alright-that-didn’t-completely-suck. The nicely grilled tortilla cradled a satisfactorily passable collection of ingredients, none of which made us rudely frowny-faced. At the bottom end of the mustache spectrum was the uninspired, sorta-dry beef, the fortunes of which improved whenever it contacted Carmelina’s salsa of mysterious origin. Ms. Slabmaker Gal stuffed a hell of a lot of rice into our lunch, but we can’t grouse about it too much since it tasted and looked pretty good; same kind of thing with the Jack cheese grates, which were almost entirely melted, although they suffered from globbiness. Veggie report: OK enough, shrug. Occasional hints of spice reared up throughout, but things were too well-behaved on the pepper-fire front overall. Bites grew somewhat cooler in the lower reaches of our slab, where most of the refried beans had coagulated to create some very serious ingredient adhesion. Stone-faced intangibility was the kitchen’s order of the day, but we couldn’t complain about the construction of the wrap even if paid to do so. Can we complain about the constant barrage of pigeons scratching around on the floor around us, though? Ew.
Shrug: ingredient mix (7); temperature (7); rice (6)
Clang: cheese (5)
Intangibility bonus: 1 (of 2)
Had this humongous burrito not fallen victim to the scourge of semi-melted / semi-relevant grated jack cheese, it would have crested our eight-mustache Mendoza Line, and that would have been an unlikely and impressive achievement. Mildly irritating burstage issues such as beany seep and saucy soak-through notwithstanding - more napkins, Carmelina, please – we liked certain things about this burrito’s look, such as its considerable length and heft. As for the most crucial factor – taste – it fared pretty well, particularly the pre-grilled tortilla and generous vegetable contingent, which drew upon the power of tomato-speckled guacamole, chopped onion and cilantro, and much pico de gallo. Meanwhile, Carmelina’s shredded chicken was dunked in salsa roja and accompanied by green pepper and tomato, so we had sauce coming at us from all kinds of angles; fortunately, drips were minimal, even if the tortilla’s exterior didn’t stay dry. The micro-grain rice was bland, overabundant, and the opposite of spectacular. Spice remained mighty persistent throughout, but everyone knows spice-heat doesn’t necessarily translate to temperature-heat - and this burrito should have been hotter all around.