Burritos: How Can a Culinary Opinion be Wrong?
Apparently, the folks at the Los Angeles Times took issue with this. Deputy editor Jenn Harris, writing on the paper's Daily Dish page ("The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles"), published a critique of our ranking under the perhaps slightly exaggerated headline "There's a new list of the best burritos in the U.S. And it couldn't be more wrong." While we always welcome — and in fact invite — feedback about our content, we're frankly not quite sure what Harris is talking about.
She takes issue with the fact that the bean and cheese burrito from another LA spot, Al & Bea’s, wasn’t included, but that their combination burrito — which took the #16 spot was. We have nominated the combination for at least two years now, which means it either came as a suggestion from one of our experts (such as Jonathan Waxman, who weighed in last year), or we saw more positive reviews about that menu item than others on their Yelp, Foursqaure, and Facebook page. We acknowledge that Al & Bea’s bean and cheese burrito gets a ton of online praise, but we can only include one item from each nominated restaurant; perhaps next year, we’ll pre-poll our experts to see their preference between the bean and cheese and the combination.
“The Tito's Tacos burrito also beat the chile relleno burrito at La Azteca Tortilleria in Los Angeles (No. 5)," wrote Harris. "If you've tried this burrito, you'll understand the frustration.” That’s just the way the cookies (carnitas?) crumbled this year, according to our panel (La Azteca did snag the #1 spot last year, by the way).
“Then there's the L.A. Times staff favorites.” We reached out to Times representatives — as we do every year — but didn’t hear back this time around. We really would have loved their insight, so perhaps we’ll hear from them in 2016.
Harris also wonders how we could have omitted the El Chato truck on La Brea and Olympic and the Kogi truck. I lived on 3rd and La Brea from 2012 to 2014, and I loved the El Chato truck; and a sighting of a mobile Kogi always got me excited. Unfortunately, as we obviously should have noted in our introduction, we only considered brick-and-mortar joints, not trucks. We cover all of the country’s best meals on wheels, burritos and otherwise, in our perennial listing of America’s Best Food Trucks (Kogi came in at #10 this year). That’s just the way the cookies (carnitas?) crumbled this year, according to our panel.
As for the other Times staff favorites Harris mentions, we’ll be sure to add them to our list of nominations for next year's ranking, and will also include recommendations appearing in the Comments section on the Times site. Thanks for the tip!
For those of you who speak Spanish, see what Telemundo — the world's second-largest provider of Spanish-language televised content — had to say about our choice of LA burritos. Come to think of it, even if you don't speak Spanish, take a look. You'll get the idea — and come away hungry.
Finally, we have to point out the inconsistency in what Harris writes. “They couldn't have gotten it more wrong," she notes of our choice. "Sure, it's a good burrito. It's hard to go wrong with melted Cheddar cheese and refried beans in a grilled tortilla.” We couldn’t be more wrong, but it’s hard to go wrong with the burrito in question? We have a headache. Someone get us a burrito.