In this week's showdown, we went looking for the biggest and best burritos in the area. The contestants were Burritos Marias of Oak Forest, El Famous Burrito of Tinley Park, and El Pueblito of Orland Park. I'd actually never eaten at any of these places, so I was excited to give them a whirl.
Burrito Marias, Oak Forest
This is a little restaurant that gives you the feeling that you're in for some good home cooking. I don't like beans or sour cream that usually come with the territory, so I ordered my chicken burrito with rice, cheese, and lettuce. It was a big burrito and on first bite I noticed that the ingredients were well-distributed—crucial, in my opinion. It was also wrapped well and didn't break apart. The chicken was well-marinated and the cheese was melty. The only drawback was a bit too much salt.
Thumbs Up: Well-constructed burrito, good flavor.
Thumb Down: A bit too salty
El Pueblito, Orland Park
This stop was a restaurant that's actually connected to a small grocery store. I ordered my chicken burrito the same way and was actually shocked when they brought it out—it was huge. Right away I noticed the shell had ripped in the middle, so I knew I was in for a battle. I essentially had to stand it up on the plate and go to work. First thing that stood out was the chicken, which actually seemed to be rotisserie style, just pulled apart rather than the usual marinated style. Also that there was a whole lot of it, to the point where I didn't notice any other ingredients. It was good, but it didn't taste like a burrito at all.
Thumbs Up: Unique taste
Thumbs Down: Way too much chicken, not enough of the other ingredients.
El Famous Burrito, Tinley Park
I've heard others talk about this place because they do a $1.25 taco special a few days a week. But that's not why I was here, so I ordered the chicken burrito the same way. This one was the smallest of the bunch, but the chicken was red from the marinade and full of spice and flavor, which made me happy. The seasoned Mexican rice blended well and added more flavor, not just filler. Good ingredient distribution and the tortilla wasn't too doughy—always a concern with burritos.
Thumbs Up: Great flavor, with tasty marinated chicken.
Thumbs Down: Wasn't wrapped too well, and fell apart toward the end.
And the Winner of the Battle of the Burritos Is ...
I certainly had my work cut out for me, trying to tame three burritos in one week, but I managed to survive. In the end, it came down to simply the overall flavor of the burrito and the distribution of the ingredients—and that is why I'm crowning El Famous Burrito this week's Chowdown Champ.