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View Full Version : Taco, fajita, burrito, what's the difference? They're all wrapped in tortillas, aren't they?


2square4u
12-07-2010, 06:51 AM
(This is perhaps more appropriate in CS, but since this seems more like a factual question, I'm trying GQ. Mods, feel free to move if I'm wrong)

I've eaten some Tex-Mex food, but that's been the "make it yourself"-kit type of cooking, so I'm really ignorant about Tex-Mex cooking. This may be a very stupid question, but bear with me. I'm a European :rolleyes:. I'd like to understand the differences between the different food-in-a-tortilla stuffs I've eaten. What is it that really makes a taco a taco and not a fajita, what's the difference between a fajita and a burrito, what distinguishes a burrito from a "wrap" and so forth?

Raguleader
12-07-2010, 07:07 AM
Well, that's EASY. Why the answer is...

...

OK, this requires a bit more thought than I anticipated. Some of the differences are subtle, some are entirely regional (fun fact: Burritos are not eaten in Mexico. They are pretty much straight-up American cuisine.)

Fajitas, at least, seem to always have a particular style of filling. Some kind of seasoned meat (usually steak or chicken, sometimes shrimp depending on the restaurant you eat at) grilled before being served with sauteed onions and peppers.

Burritos, in my mind, usually have rice, and often have beans, along with numerous other ingredients. They also seem to have a tendency to be closed up on the ends.

Tacos are probably the superspecies to burritos and fajitas, basically just being some meat and cheese and veggies served in a tortilla. For me, a taco has always had the hard corn shell. I've seen them with soft corn shells or flour shells, but those always struck me as more burrito than taco.

Probably helps that "Burrito" is, just like with "Hot Dog", a name that more describes the shape of the food than the content (Burrito is spanish for "Little Burro", but will almost never contain anything of the sort, given that, as mentioned above, burritos are American cuisine)

Does that vague it all down for you? Well, let's not forget Taquitos and Flautas, which are both basically smaller tacos made with rolled up tortillas and crisp-fried. A "Wrap" is anything that would normally be a taco or a burrito, but isn't Tex Mex.

Let's not get into Quesadillas or Tostadas. That'll just get complicated. :D

I think the question is kind of like "What's the difference between a Sub and a Club and a French Dip?"

What the .... ?!?!
12-07-2010, 07:16 AM
I wouldn't refer to fajitas as having any kind of filling..... the tortillas are typically served on the side.

Don't forget enchiladas.

friedo
12-07-2010, 07:19 AM
The Italians have six thousand words for pasta, and the Tex-Mexicans have six thousand words for "stuff in a tortilla." Like pasta, these varieties largely differ mostly by shape and the traditional accompaniments, which vary considerably by region.

lazybratsche
12-07-2010, 07:20 AM
A taco is a small flour tortilla (about the size of your hand) that's folded in half filled with just about anything you want -- often some sort of meat and salsa, possibly with veggies, beans, or cheese. It's traditional Mexican street food. You usually eat two or three at a time. ETA: I think hard corn tortillas (pre-formed into shells) are another US invention.

Burritos are pretty much the same thing, but larger and completely enclosed in a larger tortilla. Less messy. They're not as traditional -- IIRC they're an invention of gringos from Southern California -- but they've become ubiquitous in the US and some parts of northern Mexico.

Fajitas are a particular type of filling that's usually served in a particular way. In a Tex-Mex restaurant, they'll cook up marinated skirt steak with peppers and onions and usually bring out the whole skillet, along with all of the other associated fixings and flour tortillas. You assemble them yourself at the table.

A "wrap" is a very recent variation where you put whatever the hell you want into a very large not-quite-flour-tortilla. Most restaurants in the US have wraps which are filled with whatever sandwich fixings or salads they serve normally. They're particularly popular today because they are "low-carb" and also a convenient portable way to eat a salad. Usually has nothing to do with Mexican or Tex-Mex food.

bump
12-07-2010, 08:37 AM
Raguleader & Lazybratsche have it right.

Tacos are basically a sort of sandwich, if you think about the tortilla being the bread. You have some sort of filling, usually meat and some kind of vegetables in the tortilla, which is folded up into a u-shape.

Fajitas more properly refers to the meat itself - it's marinated grilled skirt steak slices and grilled onions and peppers that you generally eat taco-style in a tortilla with pico de gallo and/or guacamole. Sometimes cheese and sour cream are served alongside as well.

Burritos are a little different- they're more of a self-contained taco, if you will. Usually burritos also have beans in them in my experience. I think Lazybratsche is right- they're a north of the border invention, and typically seem to be a meal in themselves, while most people eat at least a couple of tacos at a sitting, sometimes with side dishes.

There's no reason that you couldn't make a taco with any burrito filling and vice versa; the main thing is that tacos are open tortillas and burritos are closed up.

Manda JO
12-07-2010, 08:49 AM
If you ordered "fajitas, hold the tortillas", they would know exactly what you meant: the grilled meat/vegetables ARE the fajitas. But if you ordered tacos or burritos without the tortilla, it wouldn't even make sense.

DCnDC
12-07-2010, 08:59 AM
Note that "taco" and "burrito" are not necessarily the same thing north and south of the Rio Grande; the basic formula may apply but what you get may be widely varied and possibly unrecognizable as one or the other. What everyone above are describing are the American conventions. In Mexico a hard-shelled taco is unseen; a soft corn tortilla with meat, veggies and other ingredients like guacamole and/or salsa is what you will get in Mexico. A burrito in Mexico is essentially just an extra-large taco with a flour tortilla instead of corn (large corn tortillas tend not to hold up too well).

Ruminator
12-07-2010, 09:07 AM
I'm a European :rolleyes:.

Are you familiar with the subtle differnences between spaghetti and linguine? Or penne and rigatoni? They have slightly different shapes and typical uses. Same type of thing. Perhaps to the Mexican, each of those labels are just inscrutable words representing indistinguishable fragments of pasta.

Acsenray
12-07-2010, 09:09 AM
And isn't a "burrito" descended from a "burro"?

DCnDC
12-07-2010, 09:18 AM
And isn't a "burrito" descended from a "burro"?

Yeah the story is that there was a street taco vendor who would transport himself and his wares on his donkey, prompting people to refer to his fare as "food of the little donkey."

Acsenray
12-07-2010, 09:21 AM
Is that right? Interesting.

At some restaurants, I've actually seen something called a "burro" on the menu, and they seem to be super-large burritos.

cornflakes
12-07-2010, 09:46 AM
My ~1990 edition of The People's Guide to Mexico (http://peoplesguide.com/) warns that if you ask for a burrito anywhere outside the North, then you may get a small donkey.

even sven
12-07-2010, 10:18 AM
Whatis the difference between a sandwich, a panini, a melt, a sub and a burger? It's all stuff between two pieces of bread.

Burritos are pretty much the same thing, but larger and completely enclosed in a larger tortilla. Less messy. They're not as traditional -- IIRC they're an invention of gringos from Southern California -- but they've become ubiquitous in the US and some parts of northern Mexico.

Burritos may have been invented on this side of the border, but probably not by gringos. I think it's more a product of the northernmost regions of Mexican cuisine, which happen to be in America at the moment. Culinary traditions respect no border, and there is nothing inherently "inauthentic" about the Mexican cuisines of America.

Hello Again
12-07-2010, 10:18 AM
Is that right? Interesting.

At some restaurants, I've actually seen something called a "burro" on the menu, and they seem to be super-large burritos.
That's just a sort of Spanglish joke. A burro is a burrito ("little burro") that isn't so little.

running coach
12-07-2010, 10:20 AM
My ~1990 edition of The People's Guide to Mexico (http://peoplesguide.com/) warns that if you ask for a burrito anywhere outside the North, then you may get a small donkey.

I thought the whole thing about donkeys was a myth. :D

Colibri
12-07-2010, 10:20 AM
Since this is about food, let's move it across the border to Cafe Society.

Colibri
General Questions Moderator

Raguleader
12-07-2010, 10:32 AM
Culinary traditions respect no border, and there is nothing inherently "inauthentic" about the Mexican cuisines of America.

Reminds me of a rant I like to go into. When I was stationed in Kansas, I was treated to a cornucopia of fast food joints the likes of which I'd never seen before (Texas has its own fast food chains, as does Cali, Kansas is just... weird.)

Anyhow, one day my girlfriend and I stopped in at a place called Taco Tico. I had a beef-and-potato burrito that was honestly pretty good. I went back to the office and mentioned it when asked about my lunch. One of my co-workers (one of the whitest guys I've ever worked with, incidentally), then complained that "That's not authentic Mexican food!"

My reply being "So what? If I want authentic Mexican food, I'll go home.":D

WordMan
12-07-2010, 10:34 AM
Yeah the story is that there was a street taco vendor who would transport himself and his wares on his donkey, prompting people to refer to his fare as "food of the little donkey."

I have never heard that. I heard that the nickname was based on the fact that a "burrito could carry everything/you could pack anything into/onto it" - i.e., at its most basic, it was "leftovers and rice in a tortilla." Now that I think about it, I have no recollection where I heard that...

Hmm, at this site (http://wisegeek.com/what-is-a-burrito.htm), they state:

In Spanish, the word burrito literally means “little donkey.” It is believed that the dish gained this name because the end of a folded burrito looks a bit like the ear of a donkey. The etymology of the word may also have to do with the rolled bedding that traveling donkeys often carry.

silenus
12-07-2010, 10:41 AM
More than you ever wanted to know (http://boards.academicpursuits.us/sdmb/showthread.php?t=553524&highlight=taco+chimichanga).

We tend to hash this one out every year or so. Never to any satisfactory conclusion, mind you! :D

pulykamell
12-07-2010, 10:42 AM
In Mexico a hard-shelled taco is unseen

Not quite. There are tacos dorados, which are tacos that are fried so they crisp up into a hard shell. They're different in that the shells are not preformed like their American counterparts, but the effect is similar.

DCnDC
12-07-2010, 10:46 AM
I have never heard that. I heard that the nickname was based on the fact that a "burrito could carry everything/you could pack anything into/onto it" - i.e., at its most basic, it was "leftovers and rice in a tortilla." Now that I think about it, I have no recollection where I heard that...

It's an apocryphal story. Supposedly the man's name was Juan Mendez who hocked his burritos in Juarez during the Mexican Revolution (1910-1921), however the word burrito referring to food appears in Mexican dictionaries much earlier than that, at least to 1895.

An accurate history can be found here (http://marcsala.blogspot.com/2006/02/burrito-origins.html).

hellpaso
12-07-2010, 10:54 AM
Fajitas is actually the meat, which is beef--chicken, shrimp, etc. are not true fajitas. And they're a south Texas invention. Actually, here, we call just about everything in a tortilla a taco. In El Paso, there are burritos and tacos. Not in deep south Texas. It's ALL tacos.

John Mace
12-07-2010, 10:58 AM
No one has ever heard of the joke about the lady who walks into a Mexican restaurant and asks:

What's a TAY-co?

Meat, beans and rice in a tortilla.

What's a burr-EE-to?

Meat, beans and rice in a toritilla.

What's a en-chee-LAY-da?

Meat...

Acsenray
12-07-2010, 11:11 AM
Jim Gaffigan on Mexican food (1:51) (http://comedians.jokes.com/jim-gaffigan/videos/jim-gaffigan---bottled-water/)

Bridget Burke
12-07-2010, 11:21 AM
Not quite. There are tacos dorados, which are tacos that are fried so they crisp up into a hard shell. They're different in that the shells are not preformed like their American counterparts, but the effect is similar.

Yes. Pre-fried taco shells are definitely a Tex-Mex invention. And, made with fresh ingredients, crispy tacos can be delicious! But tacos dorados, fried after construction, may be found in Mexico.

I've heard that Burritos came from California; Houston Mex-Mex places call them "LA Style." They are made from flour tortillas, which are not as tasty as corn tortillas but wrap large amounts of food more securely. (Deep-fry a Burrito to get a Chimichanga!)

Fajitas are, specifically, marinated & grilled skirt steak. They are usually served with flour tortillas, beans & assorted accompaniments. Chicken & shrimp can be cooked & served the same way but should not be called "fajitas." (Said the pedant who still gets mad when people misuse "decimate.") Of course, you can make tacos out of fajitas.....

Acsenray
12-07-2010, 11:32 AM
And a burrito enchilada is a burrito with a spicy red sauce and cheese poured on top.

Motorgirl
12-07-2010, 11:41 AM
Anyhow, one day my girlfriend and I stopped in at a place called Taco Tico.


When I was a kid in Oklahoma we used to eat Taco Tico quite a bit, but that was 30 years ago. Their jingle at the time was something along the lines of "mumblemumble Taco Tico for a mouthful of fun"

Thanks for the trip down memory lane

awldune
12-07-2010, 01:09 PM
In my area (southeast US):


Taco: Ground, shredded, or finely chopped meat in a small shell (hard corn, soft corn, or flour). Tacos seldom (never?) contain rice or beans. Usually folded rather than rolled.

Burrito: Ground, shredded, or finely chopped meat in a large flour shell, which is rolled and folded closed at the ends. Burritos often contain rice and/or beans.

Fajitas: Grilled meat in large chunks along with grilled peppers and onions. Typically presented on a sizzling iron pan with several small flour or soft corn tortillas on the side.

Enchilada: Ground, shredded, or finely chopped meat in a corn shell which is rolled but not folded. Covered in a spicy sauce and melted cheese.

ministryman
12-07-2010, 02:11 PM
In my area (southeast US):


Taco: Ground, shredded, or finely chopped meat in a small shell (hard corn, soft corn, or flour). Tacos seldom (never?) contain rice or beans. Usually folded rather than rolled.

Burrito: Ground, shredded, or finely chopped meat in a large flour shell, which is rolled and folded closed at the ends. Burritos often contain rice and/or beans.

Fajitas: Grilled meat in large chunks along with grilled peppers and onions. Typically presented on a sizzling iron pan with several small flour or soft corn tortillas on the side.

Enchilada: Ground, shredded, or finely chopped meat in a corn shell which is rolled but not folded. Covered in a spicy sauce and melted cheese.

Ground anything in a taco, burrito, or enchilada is Comida Gavacho, and should never be called Mexican....



P.S. I'm in Southern California, where if you want it more Mexican, just drive 90 or so miles south to "Mecca"

running coach
12-07-2010, 02:18 PM
Ground anything in a taco, burrito, or enchilada is Comida Gavacho, and should never be called Mexican....



The Onion-Taco Bell's Five Ingredients (http://theonion.com/articles/taco-bells-five-ingredients-combined-in-totally-ne,3781/)

pulykamell
12-07-2010, 03:28 PM
In my area (southeast US):

[...]

Enchilada: Ground, shredded, or finely chopped meat in a corn shell which is rolled but not folded. Covered in a spicy sauce and melted cheese.

Enchiladas take a whole slew of forms. I see that you have limited it to your regional definition. The main thing enchiladas have in common is that the tortilla is in some way en-chile-d. This means that the tortilla is either dipped in a spicy chili sauce of some sort (it can be tomato-based, tomatillo-based, mole-based, etc.), poured over with this sauce, or, in the case of enchiladas potosinas, the chiles are mixed into the masa in the making of the tortilla. They can be rolled or folded. They can be baked or fried (as in the case of the enchiladas potosinas). They may or may not have cheese on them.

pulykamell
12-07-2010, 03:29 PM
Ground anything in a taco, burrito, or enchilada is Comida Gavacho, and should never be called Mexican....


Picadillo is not Mexican?

Fuzzy Dunlop
12-07-2010, 05:30 PM
And a burrito enchilada is a burrito with a spicy red sauce and cheese poured on top.

It doesn't have to be red, but it has to be made with chiles. There needn't be any cheese. Enchilada means literally "in chile". My understanding is that in Mexico the tortilla is dipped in chili sauce and then can be finished a few different ways depending on whether it's a home meal or street food. The couple of Mexicans I've talked to don't recognize the weird baked lasagna style food some Americans make.

Alice The Goon
12-07-2010, 05:32 PM
Picadillo is not Mexican?


No, that's Cuban.

pulykamell
12-07-2010, 05:55 PM
No, that's Cuban.

Pretty darn sure it's featured in Mexican cuisine, too....

Alice The Goon
12-07-2010, 05:57 PM
Pretty sure it features in Mexican cuisine, too.

I've lived in Tucson for 15 years and have never once seen it offered on a menu at a Mexican restaurant, or ever had it prepared by any of my friends or coworkers of Mexican descent. So I guess it's possible, but it's a well-kept secret.

pulykamell
12-07-2010, 05:58 PM
I've lived in Tucson for 15 years and have never once seen it offered on a menu at a Mexican restaurant, or ever had it prepared by any of my friends or coworkers of Mexican decent. So I guess it's possible, but it's a well-kept secret.

Odd. Pretty common around here among the Mexican immigrants. Mexican from Mexico City and the Yucatan, from what I've seen, prepare it.

Here's one recipe. (http://examiner.com/mexican-food-in-chicago/picadillo-mexican-style-ground-beef-hash-recipe)

Here's Rick Bayless's take on it. (http://ttrecipes.blogspot.com/2007/02/smoky-shredded-pork-tacos.html)

And Zarela Martinez (http://zarela.com/2010/picadillo-de-pobre-hashed-beef/).


All Mexicans are familiar with picadillo, which is something like our version of hash but infinitely more versatile. The most elegant kind, a favorite filling or topping for all kinds of chiles, tacos or antojitos, features chopped or ground pork or beef (sometimes shredded cooked meat or chicken) with wonderful Mediterranean-inspired accents like olives, almonds, raisins, cumin, canela, and cloves.

I'm surprised you've never seen it, but these things can get quite regional.

Chronos
12-07-2010, 06:25 PM
I don't think anyone has explained quesadillas yet, either. They're pretty simple: Put a whole bunch of cheese and maybe some other stuff on a tortilla, fold it over, and grill it (preferably with pressure on both sides) until the cheese melts and fuses it together. At least, that's the American version, but I think there are also omelet-like egg-based quesadillas in Mexico. In any event, it's the cheese that's important.

And in case you're wondering, a tamale is not a variant on a taco. It's basically cornbread, possibly with meat and/or vegetables mixed in, wrapped in a corn husk and baked.

hellpaso
12-07-2010, 06:34 PM
Odd. Pretty common around here among the Mexican immigrants. Mexican from Mexico City and the Yucatan, from what I've seen, prepare it.

Here's one recipe. (http://examiner.com/mexican-food-in-chicago/picadillo-mexican-style-ground-beef-hash-recipe)

Here's Rick Bayless's take on it. (http://ttrecipes.blogspot.com/2007/02/smoky-shredded-pork-tacos.html)

And Zarela Martinez (http://zarela.com/2010/picadillo-de-pobre-hashed-beef/).



I'm surprised you've never seen it, but these things can get quite regional.
Of course there's Mexican picadillo!! I use it to fill enchiladas, tacos, and gorditas. I hate the more Caribbean style that has sweet stuff like raisins, etc. The kind I make (and the kind I've seen most people use) is savory with chile & potatoes.

silenus
12-07-2010, 07:11 PM
And in case you're wondering, a tamale is not a variant on a taco. It's basically cornbread, possibly with meat and/or vegetables mixed in, wrapped in a corn husk and baked.

No "possibly" about it, the filling is inside, not mixed with the masa, and tamales are steamed, not baked.

Chronos
12-07-2010, 07:16 PM
Isn't it possible to have a tamale that's just corn, though, without the filling? Granted that you'd only make them that way if you were very poor and couldn't afford anything else, but wouldn't that still be a tamale?

And I stand corrected on the steaming vs. baked.

hellpaso
12-07-2010, 08:37 PM
Isn't it possible to have a tamale that's just corn, though, without the filling?

It has to have a filling. Tamales refer to more than one tamal (no such thing as a tamale.) No filling and it's just a hunk of steamed masa--:p:D

Peremensoe
12-07-2010, 08:43 PM
Now I'm okay pointing out there's no such thing as a panini, either.

silenus
12-07-2010, 08:44 PM
Which can be edible, but isn't a tamale. Got to be something inside.

What is open to interpretation. We had some abso-frakking-lutely amazing tamales last year that were filled with a chili-chocolate mixture that both sated and stoked. Whoever's grandmother made those is a truly blessed individual.

zagloba
12-07-2010, 09:07 PM
It has to have a filling. Tamales refer to more than one tamal (no such thing as a tamale.) No filling and it's just a hunk of steamed masa--:p:DThat's not true -- for example, tamales de elote (http://whats4eats.com/breads/tamales-de-elote-recipe) have no filling. The hispanic market down the street from me imports them frozen from Central America -- either El Salvador or Guatemala.

pulykamell
12-07-2010, 09:19 PM
That's not true -- for example, tamales de elote (http://whats4eats.com/breads/tamales-de-elote-recipe) have no filling. The hispanic market down the street from me imports them frozen from Central America -- either El Salvador or Guatemala.

Yeah, I was going to say, but you beat me to it. Tamales do not at all have to be filled with anything. I've had some fantastic tamales that were just freshly made masa steamed in a plantain leaf.

ETA: Even Wikipedia gets it right (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamale):


A tamale or tamal (Spanish: tamal, from Nahuatl: tamalli)[1] is a traditional Latin American dish made of masa (a starchy dough, often corn-based), which is steamed or boiled in a leaf wrapper. The wrapping is discarded before eating. Tamales can be further filled with meats, cheese, vegetables, chilies or any preparation according to taste, and both the filling and the cooking liquid may be seasoned.

The thing is, for a pure masa tamale to be worth eating, it needs to be made with really fresh masa. There is a guy from the Yucatan I know who makes his own nixtamalized corn and grinds it into masa. The "fantastic tamales" made from just corn that I refer to above were made with some weird kind of black corn that this guy said was hard to find in the US, but particularly good for this dish.

Lucky 13
12-07-2010, 09:45 PM
That's not true -- for example, tamales de elote (http://whats4eats.com/breads/tamales-de-elote-recipe) have no filling. The hispanic market down the street from me imports them frozen from Central America -- either El Salvador or Guatemala.

"Tamales de elote" literally means "ear of corn tamales." The masa is made from freshly ground sweet corn kernels, and as far as I know, they're not supposed to have any filling. I don't know if they make them in Guatemala, but they do make them in El Salvador. My mom sometimes buys a dozen at the Mexican supermarket deli or from a Salvadoran restaurant. They're delicious.

As far as the difference between types of dishes that involve wrapping something in a tortilla, has anyone brought up chilaquiles or enchiladas yet? Besides me, I mean. Not sure whether these count, but since they're made with tortillas, I thought I'd mention them. I used to patronize a catering truck that served these dishes in addition to tacos, burritos, etc. Lent was always an interesting time to eat there, because they would add fish tacos and fried potato tacos to the menu. The latter consisted of cooked potatoes wrapped in a corn tortilla, fried, and served with sour cream and green chili sauce. Greasy, delicious, and yet virtuous enough for Lent. :)

Fionn
12-07-2010, 10:24 PM
And a burrito enchilada is a burrito with a spicy red sauce and cheese poured on top.

I've also seen that on a menu as a burrito suiza.

Left Hand of Dorkness
12-07-2010, 10:57 PM
It's interesting to me that tacos can be made with flour tortillas. I would've said that a taco is (virtually) always made with a corn tortilla, whereas a burrito is (virtually) always made with a flour tortilla.

CBEscapee
12-07-2010, 11:22 PM
It has to have a filling. Tamales refer to more than one tamal (no such thing as a tamale.) No filling and it's just a hunk of steamed masa--:p:D

Absolutely incorrect. Tamales dulces and tamales de elote have no "filling".

But just about everything I've read on this thread so far is pretty much wrong.

Edit: I posted this before reading the posts that follow the one I cited and now see others have corrected the error.

Musicat
12-07-2010, 11:32 PM
So let's say I want to make one of them thar Mexican dishes at home, and want shredded beef, not ground beef. How do I make the shredded beef?

silenus
12-07-2010, 11:35 PM
Cook your beef well. Then shred with a pair of forks instead of slicing. Think "pulled pork" only with beef.

Musicat
12-07-2010, 11:40 PM
Cook your beef well. Then shred with a pair of forks instead of slicing. Think "pulled pork" only with beef.What kind or cut of beef?

silenus
12-07-2010, 11:42 PM
What do you have? Really, it can be just about anything. Chuck roast is cheap. Good flavor, too.

Lucky 13
12-08-2010, 12:42 AM
Absolutely incorrect. Tamales dulces and tamales de elote have no "filling".



Salvadoran tamales dulces sometimes have a filling - they can contain raisins, prunes, cinnamon sticks, and even pineapple. On the rare occasions my family makes tamales for Christmas, my mom makes a batch of tamales dulces, and she always puts at least a couple of raisins and a cinnamon stick in each.

(edit: shouldn't this be on the tamale thread?)

Bad News Baboon
12-08-2010, 01:55 AM
From my experience having grown up in El Paso and spending much time across the border. A burrito most certainly does not have rice and beans in addition to the main filling. burrito typically is just the filling - breakfast style can be egg and chorizo, egg, egg and ham, etc. Other kinds are meat, typically... A burito de lengua (tongue) is an example. There are bean burritos - refried with a bit of cheese. I have never ever seen a Mexican burrito with rice in it.


ETA:
Burritos tend to be smallish- nothing like chipotle style burritos! I remember the first time mom had one- she didn't recognize it as Mexican food at all.

Raguleader
12-08-2010, 07:11 AM
Lent was always an interesting time to eat there, because they would add fish tacos and fried potato tacos to the menu. The latter consisted of cooked potatoes wrapped in a corn tortilla, fried, and served with sour cream and green chili sauce. Greasy, delicious, and yet virtuous enough for Lent. :)

...

Those fried potato tacos sound DELICIOUS. I must have some. :eek:

Raguleader
12-08-2010, 07:17 AM
From my experience having grown up in El Paso and spending much time across the border. A burrito most certainly does not have rice and beans in addition to the main filling. burrito typically is just the filling - breakfast style can be egg and chorizo, egg, egg and ham, etc. Other kinds are meat, typically... A burito de lengua (tongue) is an example. There are bean burritos - refried with a bit of cheese. I have never ever seen a Mexican burrito with rice in it.


ETA:
Burritos tend to be smallish- nothing like chipotle style burritos! I remember the first time mom had one- she didn't recognize it as Mexican food at all.

To be fair, Chipotle barely makes any pretenses at being Mexican or Tex Mex. They're pretty much the second-whitest burrito place I've ever been to, with the exception of Freebirds World Burrito. (Man, I could go for some Freebirds. I hear they finally opened up a location in Oklahoma. How long do ya suppose until they have a location in the Far East? :D)

pulykamell
12-08-2010, 11:44 AM
Enchiladas take a whole slew of forms. I see that you have limited it to your regional definition. The main thing enchiladas have in common is that the tortilla is in some way en-chile-d. This means that the tortilla is either dipped in a spicy chili sauce of some sort (it can be tomato-based, tomatillo-based, mole-based, etc.), poured over with this sauce, or, in the case of enchiladas potosinas, the chiles are mixed into the masa in the making of the tortilla. They can be rolled or folded. They can be baked or fried (as in the case of the enchiladas potosinas). They may or may not have cheese on them.

Actually, I should make one correction or clarification to this. Enchiladas, so far as I understand it, are not usually baked in Mexico, just take the tortilla dipped in a chili-based sauce and wrap it around the filling. I'm just trying to cover all the bases of Mexican and Mexican-American (which I personally think of as a regional northern extension of Mexican cuisine, but you can just as well look at it as a Mexican variant of American cuisine. Who cares.) cuisine up there with all the possible combinations and permutations.

Bad News Baboon
12-08-2010, 04:49 PM
To be fair, Chipotle barely makes any pretenses at being Mexican or Tex Mex. They're pretty much the second-whitest burrito place I've ever been to, with the exception of Freebirds World Burrito. (Man, I could go for some Freebirds. I hear they finally opened up a location in Oklahoma. How long do ya suppose until they have a location in the Far East? :D)

I agree, but the OP specifically mentioned that burritos have rice and beans in them and to me that is a Chipotle style burrito; not authentic at all.

Other similar food items I don't see mentioned:

flautas (flutes)- or as they are known here in the US "Rolled Tacos". These are typically corn tortillas rolled tightly around a meat filling and fried.

Chimichangas are american - these are burritos (A flour tortilla around meat with cheese is common) and fried. Sometimes they are doused in sauce.

Acsenray
12-08-2010, 04:55 PM
When it comes to Tex-Mex food, authenticity is pretty much a pointless concept. Inauthentic Tex-Mex is by far the vast majority of what's available. The student has surpassed the master.

pulykamell
12-08-2010, 05:05 PM
I agree, but the OP specifically mentioned that burritos have rice and beans in them and to me that is a Chipotle style burrito; not authentic at all.

So far as I can tell, there is nothing inauthentic (in terms of Mexican cuisine south of the US border) with rice or beans on a burrito. Perhaps CBEscapee can set us straight on this. I've never had a burrito in Mexico, but I know beans on a taco is pretty common. It looks to me like the lettuce, tomatoes, and additional fresh ingredients are more of an American thing than beans or rice.

Darth Sensitive
12-08-2010, 05:11 PM
[psuedo deep philosophy student]But if it's made in Texas, and inspired by Mexico, can it not be Tex-Mex? [/pdps]



My answer is no. Unless it's some crazy fusion stuff.

Musicat
12-08-2010, 06:28 PM
I agree, but the OP specifically mentioned that burritos have rice and beans in them and to me that is a Chipotle style burrito; not authentic at all.I used to frequent El Mexicanos in Los Angeles. Maybe it's not actually in Mexico, but they played Mariachi music all the time, it was too spicy for some gringos, the countermen didn't speak English, and their major audience didn't appear to, either. Looked pretty authentic to me, at least compared to Taco Bell.

Their burritos had rice & beans by default. I'm not fond of beans, so I always asked for it without. Since that meant there was more room for the meat, I paid more, which was fine with me. Greaaat burritos.

CBEscapee
12-08-2010, 07:16 PM
So far as I can tell, there is nothing inauthentic (in terms of Mexican cuisine south of the US border) with rice or beans on a burrito. Perhaps CBEscapee can set us straight on this. I've never had a burrito in Mexico, but I know beans on a taco is pretty common. It looks to me like the lettuce, tomatoes, and additional fresh ingredients are more of an American thing than beans or rice.

Rice no. Beans can definitely be found in burritos. My favorite is a machaca burrito made with boiled beans. Bean and cheese burritos are common. One place I go has excellent chicken burritos with shredded chicken, beans, chihuahua cheese and a nice green salsa. These places are run by people from northern states. Burritos are not a typical dish in my part of México but there are a number of places in Guadalajara that specialize in them.

pulykamell
12-08-2010, 09:31 PM
Rice no. Beans can definitely be found in burritos. My favorite is a machaca burrito made with boiled beans. Bean and cheese burritos are common. One place I go has excellent chicken burritos with shredded chicken, beans, chihuahua cheese and a nice green salsa. These places are run by people from northern states. Burritos are not a typical dish in my part of México but there are a number of places in Guadalajara that specialize in them.

Thank you. I appreciate the information. It's my understanding that Ciudad Juarez (being right on the New Mexican border) is the nexus for burritos in Mexico.Is this right? I didn't realize there's a good showing of them as far south as Guadalajara. I thought these were more a Northern Mexican thing. What's the story?

Left Hand of Dorkness
12-08-2010, 10:45 PM
Meh--after eating at the Mexican place in my hometown where we were the only customers who spoke English, and nearly getting lard poisoning, authenticity has been a very low priority to me in any cuisine. I'm looking for delicious, not authentic.

Best place around here is a place that does Mexicali, very very fresh ingredients, a complimentary bean dip with a decent spice kick, and freakin' awesome fajitas. Probably nothing like what you'd get in Guadalajara, but that's okay by me, since it's, I repeat, freakin' awesome.

bahimes
12-09-2010, 02:50 AM
Well, that's EASY. Why the answer is...

...


I think the question is kind of like "What's the difference between a Sub and a Club and a French Dip?"

More like what's the difference between a sub, a gyro, a hero or a hoagy?

Raguleader
12-09-2010, 03:32 AM
I agree, but the OP specifically mentioned that burritos have rice and beans in them and to me that is a Chipotle style burrito; not authentic at all.

Other similar food items I don't see mentioned:

flautas (flutes)- or as they are known here in the US "Rolled Tacos". These are typically corn tortillas rolled tightly around a meat filling and fried.

Chimichangas are american - these are burritos (A flour tortilla around meat with cheese is common) and fried. Sometimes they are doused in sauce.


Most burritos I've ever had have included rice and beans, and I've never heard Flautas called anything except Flautas or Taquitos. And I've never heard of a "Rolled Taco". Somehow, that name sounds like an unfortunate euphemism of some sort. :D

Bridget Burke
12-09-2010, 08:21 AM
So far as I can tell, there is nothing inauthentic (in terms of Mexican cuisine south of the US border) with rice or beans on a burrito. Perhaps CBEscapee can set us straight on this. I've never had a burrito in Mexico, but I know beans on a taco is pretty common. It looks to me like the lettuce, tomatoes, and additional fresh ingredients are more of an American thing than beans or rice.

The Burrito Bigger Than Your Head was invented in Los Angeles. By Mexicans. It was consumed by Mexicans (& Mexican-Americans) long before it was adopted by Chipotle. And most Houston Chipotles are staffed by Mexicans (or Mexican-Americans), anyway.

silenus
12-09-2010, 08:34 AM
The Burrito Bigger Than Your Head was invented in Los Angeles. By Mexicans. It was consumed by Mexicans (& Mexican-Americans) long before it was adopted by Chipotle. And most Houston Chipotles are staffed by Mexicans (or Mexican-Americans), anyway.

San Francisco, actually. Known as a "Mission-style" burrito.

CBEscapee
12-09-2010, 01:58 PM
Thank you. I appreciate the information. It's my understanding that Ciudad Juarez (being right on the New Mexican border) is the nexus for burritos in Mexico.Is this right? I didn't realize there's a good showing of them as far south as Guadalajara. I thought these were more a Northern Mexican thing. What's the story?

It is no different here than in your country. In a big city like Guadalajara we have restaurants offering the regional cuisine from other parts of the country. There is a place near my home that serves dishes from the Yucatàn. Another has cuisine from Oaxaca etc.

My favorite burritos come from a place called "el Sinaloense" . The name needs no explanation but the state is a long way from Jùarez.

In Sonora they make a very big burrito called a burro percheròn with a tortilla de harina called a sobaquera which is a tortilla as big as the arm of the person who makes it.

CBEscapee
12-09-2010, 02:43 PM
I am amused by all of the different responses posted . A taco is just the generic term for the most part for something eaten inside a tortilla. Doesn't matter if it corn of wheat. A burrito is a form of a taco using a flour tortilla. Just as a hamburger is a sandwhich using a bun instead of slices of bread. Put cheese on the burger and it is a cheeseburger but still a sandwhich.

And anything can be put inside a taco. Even just coarse salt on a tortilla directly off the hot comal. Sometimes at the local tortillerìa un taco de sal is given to the customers to show them what good tortillas they produce.

Chronos
12-09-2010, 03:23 PM
More like what's the difference between a sub, a gyro, a hero or a hoagy? The difference between a sub and a hoagie is the way the bread is sliced: Completely into two pieces for a sub and then stacked, or most of the way (but not completely) through the side for a hoagie, like a hot dog bun. I'm not sure of the precise distinction for a hero, and have no idea what a gyro is doing in the comparison.

The Scrivener
12-09-2010, 06:39 PM
The ones that have been added to a zillion rock album covers (http://albumtacos.tumblr.com/) are tacos.

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