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 ...but isn't that a burrito??

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eelranch

  • Total Posts: 25
  • Joined: 5/29/2001
  • Location: Osasco, SP, XX
...but isn't that a burrito?? Sun, 02/29/04 9:43 AM (permalink)
Dear Gang:

I am teaching English as a second language in Brasil and one section of the coursebook mentions Mexican foods. The students have all heard of ONE Mexican foodstuff (all differnet ones, too) and think that that is IT! This always leads to puzzlement as they can't imagine why a classmate is calling their "taco" a "burrito", or whatever. Admittedly, I think of tortilla-based foods as being the same range of ingredients just rolled up differently, so I can't straighten them out as well as I should like.

Is anyone sufficiently qualified to spell out for me which is which and what ingredients and methodology separate fajitas from flautas, burritos from chimichangas, tacos from tostitos and so forth. I can never even remember all the names (but will happily eat any of them).

Thanks,

D. J. Hack in Mexican-free São Paulo, Brasil
 
#1
    lleechef

    • Total Posts: 6217
    • Joined: 3/22/2003
    • Location: Gahanna, OH
    RE: ...but isn't that a burrito?? Sun, 02/29/04 4:18 PM (permalink)
    Sorry, can't help you but I DO WISH I WAS IN BRAZIL now, lying on a beach at Cabo Frio or Buzios and looking at the ocean, instead of looking at the snow!!!
     
    #2
      Grampy

      • Total Posts: 1559
      • Joined: 10/14/2002
      • Location: Greenfield, MA
      RE: ...but isn't that a burrito?? Sun, 02/29/04 4:59 PM (permalink)
      I lived in Argentina for a number of years, and Mexican was something of a mystery there as well. When I ordered a tortilla, I got and omelette. I hope this helps:

      Tortilla: A thin, flat bread that can be made from wheat flour or corn flour (masa). The corn variety are cut up and fried, becoming tortilla chips or taco chips.
      Tostada: A fried flat corn tortilla topped with a layer of beans, shredded beef or chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, avocado and salsa.
      Taco: A corn tortilla folded over a filling.
      Tamale: A corn husk stuffed with masa, meat or beans. Masa (dough) that surrounds your choice of filling, traditionally pork. The 5"-6" long and 1" thick tamale is wrapped in a soaked cornhusk and steamed to cook dough. Quesadilla: Grilled cheese sandwich made with a tortilla.
      Flauta: Means "flute". Corn tortilla tightly rolled around a filling, then deep-fried.
      Burrito/Burro: Large flour tortilla wrapped around a filling .
      Chimichanga: Deep-fried meat-filled burritos.
      Fajita: Skirt steak. Most people associate "fajita" with a taco or the strips of meat that go into the taco. Beef skirt steak comes from the outer covering of the breast near where the brisket comes from. There are only 2 skirts per cow, a highly flavorful cut of meat as a result of the fat membrane that ‘burns’ off when grilled. I use hanger steak, and that is what I am making tonight.

      As far as I know, Tostito is just a brand name for tortilla chips.

      Cheers,
      Rob
       
      #3
        lleechef

        • Total Posts: 6217
        • Joined: 3/22/2003
        • Location: Gahanna, OH
        RE: ...but isn't that a burrito?? Sun, 02/29/04 5:15 PM (permalink)
        Grampy, you are soooooo good!!!! Thanks for all that info cuz I sure didn't know the difference!!!
         
        #4
          Grampy

          • Total Posts: 1559
          • Joined: 10/14/2002
          • Location: Greenfield, MA
          RE: ...but isn't that a burrito?? Sun, 02/29/04 5:19 PM (permalink)
          quote:
          Originally posted by lleechef

          Grampy, you are soooooo good!!!! Thanks for all that info cuz I sure didn't know the difference!!!


          De nada!
           
          #5
            Michael Hoffman

            • Total Posts: 17810
            • Joined: 7/1/2000
            • Location: Gahanna, OH
            RE: ...but isn't that a burrito?? Sun, 02/29/04 7:15 PM (permalink)
            quote:
            Originally posted by Grampy

            quote:
            Originally posted by lleechef



            De nada!


            Wow! Wish I'd said that.
             
            #6
              Grampy

              • Total Posts: 1559
              • Joined: 10/14/2002
              • Location: Greenfield, MA
              RE: ...but isn't that a burrito?? Sun, 02/29/04 7:24 PM (permalink)
              quote:
              Originally posted by Michael Hoffman

              quote:
              Originally posted by Grampy

              quote:
              Originally posted by lleechef



              De nada!


              Wow! Wish I'd said that.

              You will, Oscar. You will.
               
              #7
                eelranch

                • Total Posts: 25
                • Joined: 5/29/2001
                • Location: Osasco, SP, XX
                RE: ...but isn't that a burrito?? Sun, 02/29/04 8:04 PM (permalink)
                Thanks Grampy - that is a great help! I think there might be a couple of other tortilla-filled items still to mention, though, if anyone can think what they are....

                Lleechef - next time you are in the area, pop in. There hasn't been any snow all winter.
                 
                #8
                  lleechef

                  • Total Posts: 6217
                  • Joined: 3/22/2003
                  • Location: Gahanna, OH
                  RE: ...but isn't that a burrito?? Sun, 02/29/04 8:15 PM (permalink)
                  Thanks for the invite, eelranch! Next time I'm in the area I will fly to Sao Paulo and pop in! Then head for Bambuie (Minas Gerais) where I have friends. Then I will hi-tail it to Bahia and relax on a nice sandy beach! I LOVE BRASIL!!!
                   
                  #9
                    Lone Star

                    • Total Posts: 1730
                    • Joined: 5/22/2003
                    • Location: Houston, TX
                    RE: ...but isn't that a burrito?? Wed, 03/3/04 12:06 PM (permalink)
                    In most Tex-Mex places, a taco means a crispy tortilla shell while a burrito is in a soft tortilla.

                    Flautas are also called "crispitos" in some parts of the state.
                     
                    #10
                      efuery

                      • Total Posts: 630
                      • Joined: 12/23/2003
                      • Location: Danbury, CT
                      RE: ...but isn't that a burrito?? Wed, 03/3/04 12:36 PM (permalink)


                      you may find this glossary of spanish and mexican cooking terms helpful:

                      http://www.lomexicano.com/mexicanfoodrecipeglossary.htm

                       
                      #11
                        eelranch

                        • Total Posts: 25
                        • Joined: 5/29/2001
                        • Location: Osasco, SP, XX
                        RE: ...but isn't that a burrito?? Wed, 03/3/04 10:37 PM (permalink)
                        Muchas Gracias (and Obrigado), Efuery!! More information than I can possible use, but all questions are now fully answered. Thanks, all!
                         
                        #12
                          Richard Brooks Alba

                          • Total Posts: 93
                          • Joined: 12/20/2000
                          • Location: Lexington, KY
                          RE: ...but isn't that a burrito?? Sat, 03/20/04 6:35 PM (permalink)
                          Unos centavitos from Califas....

                          Flour tortillas were a novelty for my mom - she was raised in Mexico City - so she was most amused by the consumption of "burritos" in southern California. Her children were my grandmother's only flour tortilla-eating grandkids - 'los yanquis' if you asked my cousins. As much as I like good ones, I only associate them with American Mexican-style food (including burritos), rather than the real deal. I've been to places that will call a rolled fried taco a "taquito" if it's made with a corn tortilla & "flauta" if it's made with a flour one. (In Mexico, the only time I saw them on the same menu, the difference was one of length - shorter taquitos were appetizers, while longer flautas were main courses.) While gringos [& others] took the cuisine in a completely different direction here, it only gets more complicated south of the border - there are regional variations to both the dishes themselves, and to their names as well. C'est la vie.
                          Buen provecho,
                          Richard
                          Berkeley/SF, CA

                          P.S. Taco chips in [parts of] Mexico: "totopos" (sadly, they're starting to serve orange-cheeselike-sauce-covered totopos as "nachos" - oh, the inhumanity of it all!...)
                          P.P.S. to LoneStar: when I was growing up in SoCal, my Anglo buddies used to confuse the hell outta me by calling tortillas "taco shells" - even when they were in their packages flat, and unfried!
                           
                          #13
                            Lone Star

                            • Total Posts: 1730
                            • Joined: 5/22/2003
                            • Location: Houston, TX
                            RE: ...but isn't that a burrito?? Mon, 03/22/04 11:12 AM (permalink)
                            "los yanquis" - that made my day!

                            I had a neighbor from one of the Northern states who thought the only way you could make tacos at home was to buy those horrid taco shells in a box!

                            By the way - what is usually served with "totopos" in Mexico? The only place that orange goop tastes right is at a ball park. Somehow it just seems right.
                             
                            #14
                              enginecapt

                              • Total Posts: 3486
                              • Joined: 6/4/2004
                              • Location: Fontana, CA
                              RE: ...but isn't that a burrito?? Mon, 12/13/04 1:05 AM (permalink)
                              I don't know about the rest of you burrito eating RF folks, but this one eschews the trend of "macho" burritos, wherein a huge flour tortilla is stuffed full to bursting with all the food groups represented. I want two items, and two items only inside mine, whatever meat I've chosen and some pico de gallo, and that's it. No rice, beans, limp, steam sullied lettuce, or any other filler item they have on hand. I will tell the order taker to make it all meat, and almost all places here in my part of SoCal already have a higher prix fixe established for an all meat version.
                               
                              #15
                                mayor al

                                • Total Posts: 15059
                                • Joined: 8/20/2002
                                • Location: Louisville area, Southern Indiana
                                • Roadfood Insider
                                RE: ...but isn't that a burrito?? Mon, 12/13/04 3:59 AM (permalink)

                                I agree with the Captain hold the veggies !! I do like a meat and cheese filler though. You need something with the meat to absorb the juices...and cheese or even a FEW refried beans will do the job.
                                The Big-Ed a 2 lber at the Green Burrito stands in SoCal was one of my better choices at breakfast. Get it with a Big Gulp and you're set for the day.
                                 
                                #16
                                  enginecapt

                                  • Total Posts: 3486
                                  • Joined: 6/4/2004
                                  • Location: Fontana, CA
                                  RE: ...but isn't that a burrito?? Mon, 12/13/04 4:05 AM (permalink)
                                  You're right about the cheese Mr Mayor. I completely forgot about that. But no ladles of rice and refritos. Bleah.
                                   
                                  #17
                                    Richard Brooks Alba

                                    • Total Posts: 93
                                    • Joined: 12/20/2000
                                    • Location: Lexington, KY
                                    RE: ...but isn't that a burrito?? Mon, 01/3/05 6:19 PM (permalink)
                                    quote:
                                    Originally posted by enginecapt

                                    I don't know about the rest of you burrito eating RF folks, but this one eschews the trend of "macho" burritos, wherein a huge flour tortilla is stuffed full to bursting with all the food groups represented. I want two items, and two items only inside mine, whatever meat I've chosen and some pico de gallo, and that's it. No rice, beans, limp, steam sullied lettuce, or any other filler item they have on hand. I will tell the order taker to make it all meat, and almost all places here in my part of SoCal already have a higher prix fixe established for an all meat version.


                                    I actually think that are/were two separate developments of those bigger burritos. I was raised in SoCal and saw any number of places that made no bones about being authentic[c'mon - how authentic could a burrito be? It is to Mexican cuisine what 'chop suey' is to Chinese cuisine: an American hybrid.] that began making their serious profits by increasing the size & price of their burritos. A joint in my home town called their 'monster' - which consisted of a little more meat, some rice & beans, some salsa, and then the triumvirate of fat: sour cream, cheese, and "guacamole sauce" - "The Big Burrito." It seemed mostly to be a challenge to impressionable men wanting to be more 'macho' - who else was eating these 1/2 lb. plus beasts? Certainly no one that had noticed that a taco salad [back when they came with a flour tortilla on the side - BEFORE the 'tortilla bowl' was invented!] gave you half as much meat [plus some rabbit food] for one third the price.

                                    The 'kitchen sink' approach that I found upon arriving in the Bay Area seemed to be more of an accommodation of vegetarians and new-to-'Mexican'-food taqueria neophytes. With so many more vegies looking for something worthwhile to eat around these parts, I think it was inevitable that somewhere someone was going ask for, and get, pretty much everything that was shown behind the glass. (I can easily picture broken Spanish meeting broken English - and then just devolving into pointing and nodding for what today is called a "Mission style"* burrito.) Anything that might have gone into a taco, a quesadilla, a torta, or served on the side of a main entree, got piled onto a flour tortilla. With the industrial steamers only introduced later to speed up the lines.... A deluxe vegi burrito is a fairly satisfying, and nutritionally sound [more or less], way to spend a modest sum of money. Especially for young adults breaking from the traditions of meat-&-potatoes (or a burger-based fast food diet). It's a different approach to burrito-making - but it's probably analagous to pizzas in Chicago or on the East Coast...which both differ from what the mother country has to offer.
                                    Buen provecho,
                                    Richard
                                    Berkeley/SF, CA

                                    *named for San Francisco's Latino quarter
                                     
                                    #18
                                      Richard Brooks Alba

                                      • Total Posts: 93
                                      • Joined: 12/20/2000
                                      • Location: Lexington, KY
                                      RE: ...but isn't that a burrito?? Mon, 01/3/05 6:33 PM (permalink)
                                      quote:
                                      Originally posted by Lone Star

                                      "los yanquis" - that made my day!

                                      I had a neighbor from one of the Northern states who thought the only way you could make tacos at home was to buy those horrid taco shells in a box!

                                      By the way - what is usually served with "totopos" in Mexico? The only place that orange goop tastes right is at a ball park. Somehow it just seems right.


                                      Totopos aren't generally a featured attraction - just part of the table dressing, along with the salsa, pickled chiles, salt, and [typically] toothpicks. In bars, they're a cheap* nibble to have with your cerveza or tequila shots. They are also used as a sort of garnish - e.g. a single one standing up in your refrieds like a binky sail.
                                      Buen provecho,
                                      Richard
                                      Berkeley/SF, CA

                                      *Fresh tortillas are already cheap - but stale tortillas [even cheaper] are easily renewed just fried up into chips.

                                      P.S. The goop seems wrong nearly everywhere for me - even at the ballpark, or on a cheesesteak. (That said, Rotel [canned tomatoes & green chiles] & melted Velveeta make an orange goop to write home about....)
                                       
                                      #19
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