Created: The Slugkiller
I’m a big fan of Chipotle, but I like to try and keep an open mind. There are people out there, perhaps you are even one of them, living in towns without a bona fide taqueria who prefer Moe’s. But try as I may, I just have never had a good burrito at Moe’s.
Perhaps, I thought, I was ordering wrong.
Certainly that seemed to be what the two off-duty Moe’s employees were implying when I sat down next to them with my Art Vandalay. For those who don’t speak Moe’s, Art Vandalay is the name of their vegetarian burrito. Honestly, most of their meat just sketches me out.
Moe’s has all kinds of wacky names for their food. Their loaded burrito is the Homewrecker. Another option is the Joey Bag of Donuts. I still don’t have a solid understanding of the ordering scheme; it is a thousand times worse than trying to order coffee at Starbucks.
Anyhow, I asked these two young men if they would brainstorm with me, and together perhaps we could come up with the ultimate Moe’s burrito. The idea that was I would order it on my next visit. Being full of passion (and possibly beer as well) they enthusiastically agreed.
Here is what we came up with.
The filling had to be the pulled pork. Even though it comes delivered in giant plastic bags, which are then steam heated, it was considered to be tastier and less salty than the beef or chicken.
We all agreed that certain proteins called for certain beans. The duo was dismayed that I had chosen black beans for my Art Vandalay, and I appreciated their perspective. But they also understood my choice when I told them I look to see what is the largest tub of beans on the burrito line, as that is generally an indicator of what type of bean a joint does best. However when it came to the ultimate Moe’s burrito, it was a unanimous decision that pintos work better with pork.
Now here is where it gets weird. I was told, “Instead of cheese, get queso.”
It took a few minutes to untangle this riddle, but Moe’s has something that may or may not be cheese, but is certainly called queso. It is a warm white cheesy sauce that typically goes on top of nachos, and can be ordered on the side. The stuff has a cult following. It is tucked far away from the grated cheese on the burrito assembly line, and getting it in a burrito is unusual to be sure. But my advisors insisted this was absolutely essential for getting the best out of Moe’s.
Guacamole and salsa were also required. Sour cream was optional. I thought we were done. But there was one last thing.
Just talking about the sautéed mushrooms made one of the guys swoon. He actually swooned. And he didn’t seem to be the swooning type. I though there was a fighting possibility he was going to start drooling. This fellow loved the mushrooms. I was advised that they cost extra, but it would be well worth it. How could I say no?
We didn’t spend any time thinking of a name for the thing. That only came to me after I ordered and ate the thing on Wednesday as part of All Over Albany’s lunch week. There should be a picture of the monstrosity going up on AOA sometime around noon today.
Holy cow, that thing was salty. Pretty much it was all salty. And I love salt. I salt everything. Salted caramel. Salted chocolate. But this was like salted salt. When I use Moe’s handy dandy nutrition calculator, I can see that my burrito weighed in at almost 3,000 milligrams of sodium. To put that in context, my standard burrito at Chipotle weighs in at about 2,100 milligrams.
Thus this ultimate Moe’s burrito will forever be known as the Slugkiller.
I tried to sample the individual components, hoping for some of that magic. But the queso tasted like melted American processed cheese spread. The sautéed mushrooms were tasty but certainly not swoon-worthy. Nor did they go particularly well with the odd smoky flavor of the pulled pork.
There are some of you who like this place? Some who even prefer it to Chipotle? What do you order that is delicious? What on earth is the appeal to you? And if you say free chips and salsa I’m going to flip my lid. One of the five salsas was better than cheap supermarket bottled junk – the El Guapo – with its assertive notes of cumin. And the chips were nothing special. Plus Chipotle will give you all the salsa you like, all you have to do is ask.
Maybe my trusted advisers had more beer in them than I suspected.
You must be careful about who you choose to trust. Lesson learned.