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Burritozilla at Iguanas, San Jose

by Ross Bruniges on October 16th, 2011

So in case you hadn’t noticed, or in case this is the first thing that you have read on this blog – I do like a good burrito. I’ve been searching out London burritos for a long time now (and have recently reached the 20 mark on my list) and also had a bit of a mission while down in San Fransisco to find some good’uns. So when a work trip to San Jose was mentioned something in my mind recalled that I had seen an episode of Man vs Food (another guilty pleasure of mine) from there and he tackled a GIANT burrito. This was something I was clearly destined to take-on.

Iguanas restaurant in downtown San Jose looks like someone decided to convert their house into a haven for those searching burritos. With 13 varieties and 7 different meats to chose from that’s a lot of burrito to sample and something that not even I could probably ever accomplish. However given pride of place at the top of their burrito menu is the burritozilla, quoted from the menu “a 5 pound, 18″ Monstrous Super burrito”. At $18.75 it feels like pretty decent value, it’s 3 times to price of a standard burrito but pretty much contains 3 times the ingredients. So an al pastor (spicy marinated pork) burrito was ordered and I prepared myself for what was to lay ahead.

The care to create this monster was impressive with all the light touches to carefully place the ingredients and wrap being the same used for their regular dishes; the only rather off-putting thing was rather than squeezing on the hot sauce and sour cream they poured it on in jugs. I will admit that on seeing it being created my stomach felt like it started to shrink in protest at the thought of me eating it all. Don’t want to ruin the story here but it need not have worried.

Burritozilla in preparation

Occupying it’s own tray (and needing every bit of it) the burritozilla was handed to me and not expecting the weight I nearly dropped it on the floor as one hand was just not enough. I grabbed a hand-full of napkins and set off to a table to get eating. After 10 minutes of contemplating my tactics I was ready for the first bite, I’ve never been in awe of food before but for once I just didn’t know what to do. Too heavy to pick up vertically and not wanting it to capsize or split in half I decided it was best left on the try and lifted that up to my mouth in order to get eating, it was certainly not the most elegant sight but it kinda did the trick.

The first 3 mouthfuls were amazing. As mentioned this is just a super-sized burrito with all the ingredients that you would find in a standard one and it really was delicious with juicy tender pork mixing with a hot salsa, guac, cheese and rice perfectly as every good burrito should. After the first three mouthfuls I took a breather, looked at my progress and again my stomach seemed to shrink. I was attempting to take large bites but I it looked as if I hadn’t even started.

Very badly beaten

At this point the fact dawned on me that I was going to have to waste a large amount of this tasty, tasty burrito if I didn’t buck my ideas up so, in an attempt to switch off my brain I got stuck in again with the try lifting technique as still I didn’t feel like it was a good idea to lift it. After a few stretches I looked down at my progress and saw I wasn’t even a third of the way through yet by this time my stomach was making itself known that it would be pretty evil to me if I tried to do anymore. I set myself the goal of trying to eat at least half and at this point I noticed a group of students come in and order their own burritozilla; for the group, of 4 people.

I thought it was a good idea to stop, hold my hands up and admit defeat.

Sheepishly I wiped my brow, attempted to cover up as much of the waste as possible with napkins, stood up and, tray in hand, made my way over to the bin where I dumped the failed remains into the bin. The loud thud as it hit the bottom sounded almost mocking as I made my way out of the restaurant into the hot Californian sun-shine.

Was it a good effort? I don’t really know. Was it a good burrito? For those first 3 mouthfuls it was unforgettable for it’s taste and for the remaining mouthfuls it remained as unforgettable, but for very different reasons…

But, to try and regain some of my pride here is an eating challenge that I was a bit more successful with. 1kg of steak, 2 beers, one man (me) from Cape Town, 2009. I’m clearly getting too old for this…

A challenge I could actually complete – 1kg steak in Cape Town

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