Burritoville (2055 Bishop, corner Maisonneuve) is at least worth knowing about, as it has probably the best burritos in Montreal. however favourable that sounds, it amounts to damnation by faint praise.
for it is one of those restaurants that i find tolerable in practice but unacceptable in principle. if you feel no qualms about paying 7 dollars for that which you could not help but make as well or better at home; for the most forthright of peasant fare (rice & beans), further reconfigured by history and geography (the burrito as we know it being not itself indigenous to Mexico, but rather to California – to San Diego and San Francisco’s mission district), and its price inflated rather unforgivably by the twin engines of exoticism and scarcity; then by all means, go ahead. but if you’re asking me?
knowing full well the snobbishness of my explanation (“if you’ve ever had a burrito in San Francisco…”) i still feel no other option, for it is very much the crux of my inability to reconcile myself to most Canadian burrito establishments. there is no way out for me. because the mission burrito succeeds in resolving both the issues of price and and of honour: you are not paying 7$ for something you can just as well make at home because
1. you are paying $3
2. you somehow cannot make it at home (most of us, i mean. i mean me. and maybe you). you are not acquiescing, therefore your honour is not compromised. there is something particular – i suspect a combination of cultural familiarity and fordism – about the mission taqueria burrito that defies reproduction, for most of us. i can remember distinctly the feeling, as if i had never really eaten a burrito, when i tasted my first El Farolito burrito, as indeed i had not, or rather i had never had a “real” burrito, should we be willing to allow any arguments from “authenticity” (which i usually abhor). from which point on, as a plowed through mounds of parcels of beans and rice and salsa, be it from Pancho Villa or Papa Lote or whatever happened to be within stumbling distance, i knew i would never tire of them. nor, granting that it has been years now since i was last in San Francisco, have i, however romantic and likely faulty a claim it may be.
but fuck it. one needs to hang on to something.
here (“the North”), i find inevitably the proportions are all wrong or there is too much attempt to tart it up with all manner of vegetables, beyond the requisite rice – beans – salsa, perhaps avocado, or the beans or the rice themselves are tasteless, disrespected, lost somehow in the shuffle. it is awful and saddening in the way that all unwarranted disappointments must be (for a burrito should never disappoint, right? particularly if one has only paid 3 dollars for it, and been given chips as well, which i admit, Burritoville does, to their credit, were it only sufficient).
all this not to say that it’s bad, but i can never enjoy them in god conscience, because there is nothing in that burrito that can convince you that you are not being had, and that there is not a trail of bodies, robbed and murdered, in its desert wake, however delicious it may in the moment seem. sorry.
also (not that Burritoville does this), but wtf up with mexi-fries? that shit is tater tots. seriously.
and give it up for hannah mae.