Burrito Break 2019: In Search for Peterborough’s Finest

Photo by Sodanie Chea [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

When an article pitch about burrito judging came across my metaphorical desk, I immediately signed up. Gathering like-minded allies and comrades, we set out to find Peterborough’s best burritos. (Note: this is entirely subjective and we already have personal favourites. Feel free to entirely disregard our opinion if it doesn’t align with your own, much the same as conservatives ignore science because they don’t like trans people. These judgements are also not meant to represent the establishments as a whole, or their menus in their entirety. Sometimes, the stars just don’t align, and the food could be better or worse on a different day. So, take everything with a grain of salt, and check these places out for yourself!)

Our journey began with El Camino’s on George street, as they are the only establishment of the four we’ll discuss that accepts Trent Cash. I was accompanied by a co-judge, and on the way we debated the criteria for our judging. We eventually decided on:

  1. We will only order basic burritos, to set a baseline.
  2. We won’t judge the establishments based on their signature burritos, if they have any.
  3. We will also judge the burritos on their price in respect to the burrito sizing, taste (of course), the ingredients in the burritos, the durability of the burrito, and if it falls apart while we’re eating them, and finally, an overall rating.
  4. These ratings will be on a 10-point scale, 1 being Utter Disaster and 10 being Heaven is Truly A Place On Earth And It Is This Burrito Shop, I Promise I’m Not Being Paid For A Positive Review.

El Camino’s

So, El Camino’s. Judged burritos = Chicken n’ beef for myself, sweet potato for my co-judge. We both had the medium size, coming to about $10 a piece. We came to an average rating of 5.5/10 on the price since the burrito is a bit on the small side for $10, an average rating of 6.5 for the taste, a 6 for the ingredients, a 7 for the durability, and an average overall rating of 6.3. We both absolutely love El Camino’s, they make incredible late-night food, and the service is always fantastic, but my co-judge was really displeased with the sweet potato. They described it as mostly bland, and far too mushy. Having never had the sweet potato myself, I don’t know if we just came on a bad night or if it’s just not that great, but the overall ratings really suffered because of it.

Dante’s Gourmet Burrito

The next stop was Dante’s Gourmet Burrito, directly across from the downtown bus terminal, where I was joined by a different co-judge: Kavya. It was her first time going to Dante’s, and I’m pleased to say that Dante’s has another loyal customer. I won’t lie: going into this article, I knew that Dante’s was going to be my favourite as it has been since I moved to town years ago. We both got pollo asada (chicken) burritos with basically all the veggies, some medium salsa, and habanero sauce. Just imagine a heart eyes emoji here. We each paid $10 (flash your student ID at the cash to receive 10% off!), but in comparison with El Camino’s, the price was far more worth it, as the burritos we got were a lot bigger than El Camino’s at the same price. This elevated our price rating to a 7/10. The taste and ingredient ratings were also higher, both at 7, but unfortunately, the durability didn’t do quite as well. While Kavya’s burrito held together fine, despite having more ingredients, mine absolutely fell apart halfway through. In this instance, I believe a combined rating doesn’t represent the review properly, so I’ll list our individual ratings on durability: Kavya at 9/10, and mine at 5/10. I’d like to note here that while my burrito didn’t hold together quite well, I was not at all bothered by eating all the scraps. Dante’s is fricking good, y’all. Our overall rating came to 7/10, including the discrepancy with the durability. As I said at the beginning, sometimes things just don’t work out. It should also be noted that the burrito falling apart did not affect the taste or the great service and friendliness of the staff.

Jimmy Guaco’s

Next up: Jimmy Guaco’s. Situated right beside the old Nutty Chocolatier (RIP), now the new home of Mike’s Tattoos. I have a love/hate relationship with Guaco’s. The racist Mexican caricature notwithstanding, I have been warned time and again by a friend to not get the guac, as people have apparently gotten food poisoning, and they have never been able to make the basa fish burrito due to lack of the necessary fish. That said, they make incredible quesadillas and the shrimp is really good. Unfortunately, I’m not here to judge quesadillas, and shrimp is a little less basic than chicken. I was alone on this voyage due to scheduling conflicts, so note that all ratings are mine alone. I steered well clear of the guac, and loaded up my chicken burrito with a ton of veggies. At $12, the price was higher than both Dante’s and El Camino’s, but the size was comparable to Dante’s, and my rating of 6/10 reflects this. Unfortunately, (in my opinion) Guaco’s burritos don’t stack up in comparison to their quesadillas or other burritos. The taste and ingredients were both rated at 5.5/10. Even hours later, and after chugging countless liters of water, I still had a foul aftertaste of the sauce(s) used in the burrito. The meat also got cold really quickly, which concerns me quite a lot. The burrito shined in the durability department, at least, not coming apart until the final few bites. Take a 8/10, Jimmy Guaco’s. My overall rating of this burrito is 6.25/10. I’ve had many good experiences at Guaco’s, but this was not one of them.

Mucho Burrito

Last up was Mucho Burrito, the only franchise on the docket. Being as averse to chains as I am, I approached this one with a little more hesitation. Mucho Burrito is the only burrito place of these four locations to be on Skip The Dishes, and I was excited to laze around at home, but the menu appeared to be woefully small on the site. Figuring that the physical location would have more options, I ended up taking the Lansdowne bus out there. Yeah, it’s out on Lansdowne. It’s much easier to just get a burrito downtown. I also didn’t know what to expect, having never had a regular burrito from Mucho, but their burrito bowls are fantastic. When I got there, I was a little dismayed that the Skip The Dishes menu was accurate to the actual menu. To keep with my baseline for burritos, I had to utilise the Build Your Own Burrito menu. At $9, it was the cheapest, and the burrito was comparable in size to the El Camino’s offering, so it gets 7/10 for price. Let’s talk about the taste. Damn, that was a tasty burrito. It was a fantastic palate cleanser after the Guaco’s burrito, and the ingredients (especially the chicken) were all great. 8.5/10 on both taste and ingredients. As for durability, this burrito had the distinct achievement of never, and I mean never, falling apart. It stuck it through until the very end, and I salute it. 10/10. Overall, I wish I could rate Mucho a little lower just because I hate going out to Lansdowne, but now that I know the menu is actually the same on Skip, I can’t be that upset. Either way, this review is solely for the burrito. While Mucho will never be my personal favourite (looking at you, Dante’s), it got the highest overall rating of the four locations at 8.5/10. Look at me, giving a shout out to Big Food.

Searching for the best burrito in town is a mammoth undertaking, and not one to be taken lightly. In this, I hope to have given a head start to anyone attempting to take on this challenge. Happy eating, Peterborough!