10 Things You Might Not Know About Burritos


10 Things You Might Not Know About Burritos

(Source: Libre Mexican Cantina Facebook Page)

To call a burrito mere food simply doesn’t do this culinary masterpiece, composed of delicious fillings wrapped in a warm tortilla hug, justice. Perhaps writer Lisi Harrison put it best when she said “A burrito is a delicious food item that breaks down all social barriers and leads to temporary spiritual enlightenment.”

At Libre Mexican Cantina, we love burritos. We offer a variety of different types, including a breakfast burrito, as well as chicken al pastor, carne asada, and grilled shrimp varieties. If you love burritos as much as we do, then you’ll enjoy learning these unique bits of trivia about one of the world’s most perfect foods!

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(Source: Libre Mexican Cantina Facebook Page)

1. They’re named after donkeys. Did you know that the word burrito translates as “little donkey”? It comes from the Spanish word burro, which means donkey. But don’t worry: it doesn’t mean that your burrito actually contains donkey meat. It’s more of a visual play on the donkey’s appearance.

How so? Some say that the appearance of the rolled-up ends of burritos vaguely resembles the ear of a donkey. Others say that the burrito (food) resembles the little bedrolls or packs carried on the donkey’s saddle. What do you think?

2. The word “burrito” was first seen in print in 1895. While the origins of the burrito are hazy, it’s said to have developed as an easily transportable food favored by farm or field workers.

1895 is the year that it was first mentioned in print to refer to the food. In the 1895 Diccionario de Mexicanismos, the burrito was referred to as being from the Guanajuato area, and was defined as a rolled tortilla with meat or other items inside.

3. Burritos are different in Mexico. If you go to Mexico hoping to find overstuffed, platter-sized burritos, you’re likely out of luck. In Mexico, burritos tend to be far more modest in scale. They are small and thin, and contain usually only one or two ingredients, such as a type of meat, potatoes, rice and beans, cheese, or perhaps even chile relleno.

In Mexico, burritos are mostly associated with the Northern part of the country; in the central or southern parts, you might see similar concoctions called “tacos de harina” (wheat flour tacos).

4. We owe a lot to the Mission District. As for the origin of the delightfully overstuffed shape that we typically associate with burritos? That style actually evolved in San Francisco’s Mission District in the 1960s and 70s.

A gentleman named Febronio Ontiveros claims that he is the first to have offered this style of burrito, at an establishment called El Faro in San Francisco. His “super burrito”, filled with rice, sour cream, guacamole, in addition to the traditional meat, cheese, and/or bean burrito took off, and grew first locally, and then nationally. Today, this style of burrito can be found in restaurants, fast food eateries, and of course, still in the Mission District.

5. Deep-fried burritos are a thing. If you thought that deep frying was only for chicken and French fries, you’re wrong. You can, in fact, deep-fry a burrito. This Mexican-American adaptation of the classic burrito is called a chimichanga. Once rolled, it’s deep-fried to golden, crispy perfection and served, often on a bed of lettuce (you know, for health).

By the way, where the name “chimichanga” comes from isn’t definite, but there is a funny story which may or may not be true. According to one account, a cook accidentally dropped a burrito into a deep fat fryer one day. She began to say a curse word beginning “chi…” but cut herself off and uttered “chimichanga” instead of the offensive word she had started. Apparently, the results were delicious and the name stuck.

What you may not know about burritos

(Source: Libre Mexican Cantina Facebook Page)

6. Rolling a burrito is an art. You probably didn’t need to be told this if you’ve ever seen someone roll a burrito, but there’s an art (and a bit of a science) to doing it properly. In a nutshell, what you want to do is start by placing the fillings in the center of your tortilla. Once they’re in place, gently bring the bottom half of the burrito upward to meet the top half. With the top flap still flat, fold one side in, and then the other. Now, with both sides folded, tightly roll the tortilla until it is held in shape. If you don’t succeed, try, try, again: this deceptively simple technique requires a lot of practice to get just right. Luckily, even ugly burritos are still delicious!

7. That’s a big burrito! Even on your hungriest day, you probably couldn’t defeat this baby. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest burrito ever made weighed over 2 tons and spanned over a mile long. It required the participation of 54 restaurants and 3,000 volunteers, working over 9 hours to create this edible masterpiece. Oh, and since you were probably wondering, it was filled with fish, onion, chile, and refried beans. Hope someone remembered to bring the chips!

8. They’ve disrupted film sets. Most people are familiar with the comedic “pie in the face” trick. But on the set of the film Pitch Perfect, the prank was inadvertently pulled with a burrito! According to actor Adam Devine, when his character Boomer was throwing a burrito at love interest “Fat Amy”, the cameraman told him to actually throw the burrito toward the camera for cinematic effect. Apparently, the actor’s aim was a little too good, because he ended up accidentally hitting the cameraman in the face! “That’s why that scene is slightly out of focus”, recalls the actor.

9. Burritos aren’t just for dinner. Perhaps inspired by the classic convenience store treat known as the Choco Taco, a few years ago ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s debuted a product called the “BRRR-ito”. In this sweet concoction, a molded waffle cone acts as the tortilla holding together ice cream, hot fudge, and cookie crumbles. While it certainly sounds creative, we think we’ll stick to the delicious classic Mexican desserts on our menu!

10. Celebrities love burritos. If you scan celebrity Instagram feeds, Facebook pages, or interviews, and you’ll see burrito mentions a-plenty. One favorite tale? The Myth of Kristen Bell’s Burrito Clutch. On Oscar night, Bell accessorized her gown with a clutch; on social media, she joked “When you see me on the red carpet of the Oscars tonight, just know…there’s a burrito in my clutch.”

Have you worked up an appetite? Come on down to Libre Mexican Cantina and get yourself fed with a perfect burrito, better yet with a homemade margarita on the side!

What’s your favorite bit of burrito trivia?