Tuesday, March 25, 2014
A Tale of Two Burrito Boutiques
Winter can be enjoyable, but even I have my limits. Luckily, there are plenty of burritos to keep me warm.
Getting the chance to cook a meal is something I thoroughly enjoy. The creativity, the stress relief, to say nothing of the eating, all speaks to my soul. But like most people of our generation, my love and I, also jump at the chance to hand the wooden spoons over to professionals who wish to feed us in exchange for money. We are adventurous eaters and our rotation of old and new restaurants is an eclectic one, except when it comes to Mexican eateries.
I'm going to say what so many of you have been thinking all along, but refuse to say aloud....all local Mexican restaurants taste exactly the same!! There is nothing that sets one apart from another. It's the same entrees of tacos and burritos with the same beans, lettuce and sour cream on the side. Oh sure, sometimes the whole eatery will get a little excited when someone dares to order that sizzling, smoking platter of fajitas. Oooohing and aaaahing as they're brought out to the table, but that's where the thrill ends. From the chips and salsa to the fried ice cream it's a big snore.
I usually avoid Mexican restaurants because life is too short to bore my taste buds to death. I prefer the taco salads, tacos and burritos that we make at home.
If you're thinking to yourself "It's easy for you to feel that way, but I don't cook. And my only other choice for Mexican is Taco Bell". Fear not, I have found an alternative that doesn't suck.
I give you Black Sheep Brews and Burritos. My second favorite restaurant (since they do not serve "The Cake" they will never take the top spot in stomach). This hipster, boutique burrito joint will wake up your taste receptors that were formerly addled by tasteless taquitos (try saying that three times quickly).
I've visited both locations in Charleston and Huntington. The space and decor for each is very different. Huntington's spot is cozy and intimate. Housed in the location of the former Calamity Cafe, the large bar is still the eye-grabber in the room. The space gives a hanging-out-waiting-for-the-party-to-start vibe.
The Charleston location stands at 702 Quarrier St. in the former Capitol Roasters building. The Charleston spot is much bigger allowing more seating (there's always a line to be seated), and has a warehouse/steakhouse feel to it with aluminum siding on the walls and exposed rafters. The downside to the larger space seems to be lack of sound absorption. Frankly, the hubs and I couldn't even hold a conversation over the roar of a family-filled Saturday night crowd. Yep, it made me feel old (LOWER YOUR VOICES YOU WHIPPERSNAPPERS....AND GET OFF OF MY LAWN WHILE YOU'RE AT IT!) This location also houses a microbrewery, adding to it's charm.
There are some things that can be counted on at both locations. Both seem to be a hit with small children. The menu is consistent at both (more on that in a minute). And one thing that you can be sure of, no matter which one spot you visit, you will be served by a dyed-in-the-wool hipster. Your waiter will have a full-on Grizzly Adams beard and will be wearing a toboggan while indoors, and because it is the law, your waitress will have the standard-issue nerd glasses (non-prescription), of course and she will be wearing skinny jeans with ballet slippers even though it -15 outside, (pink hair and indoor scarf optional). I'm not downing the hipsters, I'm just saying that they try so hard to be edgy and they end up looking like cookie-cutter conformists of themselves. *whispering* Maybe I am downing them just a wee bit.
But the burritos, OH THE BURRITOS YOU'LL EAT! That is why I came here is to tell you about the burritos, remember? Pictured above is the brisket burrito. I will not go into minute details on the ingredients, that's what the menu link is for at the end of the post. I will tell you that it is quite huge and ridiculously good. Wrapped in a large flour tortilla, covered with coleslaw, this Dijon glazed, burrito screams with mammoth tastiness. If you only eat one brisket burrito this year, make it a Black Sheep burrito, boys and girls.
If you don't like burritos then you should still visit Black Sheep for their large array of sandwiches, and side dishes. Most importantly the Chipotle Sweet Potato Salad. In this salad I may have found the perfect side dish. The complexity of its flavors set it apart from run-of-the-mill potato salad. In taking a bite, you are first hit with the sweetness of the potato. Then the smokiness of the chipotle comes roaring past. And last, but still important, you get just a touch of heat from the red pepper on the back end. I could take a bath in this stuff and never get sick of it.
So, you heard it here. Check this place out (the Huntington location, if you can), you won't be sorry.