Welcome back inebriated readers to the Pot and Pan Handler’s Taco Tuesday Take Down installment three. Where we pit 8 taco dives in the UNC, area all located within 1.7 miles of each other, against one another in a take-out chicken soft taco challenge. As most of this blogs readership is low to mid functioning alcoholics let us remind you that thus far in the challenge the Corporate Lime Fresh Mexican Grill and local Armadillo Grill sent Cosmic Cantina and City Bus to the loser’s bracket.
On tap today: the many headed corporate hydra Chipotle takes on the little local taco dive that could Carrburrito. First off as you might imagine there is nothing authentic about either of these tacos. Rather these tacos are of the drunken frat boy variety, and about as authentic Mexican as Lefse. But we are firm believers that it doesn’t have to be authentic to taste good, just ask German chocolate cake born in the states or Philadelphia cream cheese made in New York. Now here are some links for your ignoring pleasure. http://chipotle.com/ http://carrburritos.com/
First on tap Chipotle: you’ve all eaten at a Chipotle, remarkable in their consistency they all have the same sterile, modern, marketing driven, design of a quick, casual, dentist’s office. Another remarkable feat of consistency that Chipotle manages to maintain, is the bold indifference of their surly, yet somehow aloof employees and this location is no different than the rest. It’s really quite remarkable how Chipotle’s corporate training manages to foster such apathetically dispassionate quality to the malleable, young minds of their employee rosters, nationwide.
After procuring the aforementioned Chipotle chicken soft tacos we went the couple of blocks to Carrboro NC’s own Carrburritos. This location is one of two locations for the small regional chain and has a quirky, local, vibe that is a refreshing change after the sterile, plastic atmosphere of the Chipotle. The tattooed and bearded hipster employees, only slightly impatiently waited for us to get a grasp of the menu. When we did get a grasp on the menu there was an unforeseen predicament. At this Carrburrito there is a choice of styles of chicken preparation, marinated, chopped chicken breast or shredded pollo ala Mexicana. Bringing a hint of authenticity to the hipster tacos we went with ala Mexicana… Duh.
When we got back to the taco tasting facility most often referred to as home we tore into the tin foil pockets containing the Chipotle tacos and encountered fascinatingly enough, two Chipotle tacos. Topped with standard taco dive, shredded white cheese, too much sour cream and a delicious green salsa these were the typical, textbook, by definition, chicken tacos.
The diced chicken was judiciously seasoned, with not too much spice as to make sure not to alienate a target segment of the population as marketing would suggest it might. The sour cream similar to a Mexican crema is lighter in texture than the stuff from the fridge and the tortilla is a standard factory made flour made fare. This taco was good, would go great with a beer and wouldn’t offend anyone but the green salsa was a bright spot in an otherwise fairly standard taco. We made short work of the leftover salsa later in the day with a plate o’ nachos, it was delicious. This salsa was easily the best salsa from any contender, in this challenge yet.
Next we opened the plastic clam shell that housed the Carrburrito’s chicken tacos and encountered pulled chicken breast, shredded, melted white cheese topped with lettuce and tomato. The chicken in these tacos was more boldly seasoned, not yet spicy enough to offend anyone living outside of New England (where it would be considered wicked hot). The cheese, the predictable taco dive, shredded white. The tomatoes were fresh and bright, the lettuce brought a little crunch to the texturally challenged soft taco and the green tomatillo salsa brought a little tangy acidity to the picnic. All of this wrapped in a similar typical soft flour tortilla affair (although larger) like we found at Chipotle.
While we would enjoy binge eating either of these tacos accompanied with plenty of libations on any given summer day, the more boldly seasoned chicken helped loft Carrburrito’s chicken soft taco to the winners bracket while Chipotle falls and will duke it out with the others in the losers bracket. Which makes us the real winners… Because we got a lot of tacos to eat, so we’ll see ya’ next week.
Coming soon Two contenders left in the first round of the Taco Tuesday Takedown, up next Asian fusion gets in the mix when Lucha Tigre takes on Bandido’s who will reign chicken soft taco supreme? Also coming soon, we’re introduced to common core math when we learn the equation smoke+protein+ tortilla=yummy.