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An excellent chain of (at the time of this writing) four restaurants which is currently limited to Houston, TX, but which hopefully will someday spread beyond that.

Mission Burritos' claim to fame is their huge ass burritos, burritos of a scale so huge that they cease to be burritos and become something wholly other. Upon entering the restaurant you are shuffled into a long assembly line style line ala Subway Sandwiches where they start with a huge fourteen-inch flowered tortilla and proceed to dump in copious amounts of whatever combination of beans, rice, beef, chicken, mushrooms, sauteed onions, cheese, various kinds of salsa and God knows what else that you are willing to approve of, then fold it all over and hand it to you in a basket, a transcendental wad of pure condensed mexican-food-ness wider than your neck and twice again that long. (This is the regular size, of course; the "super", created by wrapping two of the tortillas together, is larger than the heads of some people i know, a fearsome sight to behold, and basically REQUIRES two people to eat (they cut it in half for you if you ask).)

Mission Burritos has a website at missionburritos.com; The original franchise, which has the employees with the best taste in music but very little parking, is on West Alabama street by Kirby, and is worth a visit if you're ever in the city.

There is, to put it simply, no experience on earth quite like the indescribable juicy ecstasy of eating a Mission Burritos burrito, and the ONLY regret i have in leaving Houston for college is that i will more than likely never have that experience again.

Mission burritos are burritos made in any of the numerous taquerias in the Mission District of San Francisco. They vary in quality from mediocre to tremendous, and like New York bagels or Brooklyn pizza, one can find restaurants all over the world representing their food as "Authentic Mission burritos". Don't be fooled, though. The real thing is best found between Mission and Guererro from 16th to 24th street.

Mission burritos, while varying greatly, have a number of common characteristics.

  • They are big, first off. Most people will find that a single burrito (usually costing $3-4) plus a handful of chips and salsa is more than enough food for a meal.
  • They are usually prepared assembly line style right in front of the customer (some taquerias have you order all at once; others, like Pancho Villa, on 16th street, has you help build the burrito as you progress down the line), and most ofter they are wrapped in foil before final customer delivery.
  • Ingredients are frequently prepared with lard (the beans and tortillas) so vegetarians beware.
  • They come in standard configurations. Expect the simplest burrito to be spanish-style rice, beans (pinto beans being the default, but refried beans and black beans are often available), salsa, and meat or cheese. A "super" burrito will add sour cream and avacado or guacamole. Super and super vegetarian burritos are the most popular types.
  • Most taquerias offer a lot of meat choices that are not standard American fare, including tongue and beef brains.
My personal favorite taqueria in San Francisco is Taqueria Cancun, which has three locations, but I can most often be found at their Mission and 19th location. Excellent salsa and consistent quality have had me hooked since my first visit there, 4 years ago. But try an assortment before you settle into a routine... there's a lot of choice out there.

Call me an elitist asshole, but I am somewhat disturbed to learn that a chain restaurant out of Texas owns missionburritos.com...

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