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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Chew on this: Cuban burrito from Baja Grill

Posted By on Thu, May 23, 2013 at 9:57 AM

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When it comes to Mexican food, I’m all for authenticity, but I’m in no way averse to mixing things up a bit and creating tacos and burritos that incorporate ingredients that one would never dream of finding in such vessels south of the border. You might think of this as “Americanizing” the flavors of Mexico, you might consider this some sort of “fusion” vaguery, but when flavors sing as sweetly as they do at Benton’s bravest food truck, Baja Grill it’s really not that important what you call it, what matters is that it tastes good. This may or may not be the first time you’ve heard the virtues of Baja Grill expounded upon, and I certainly hope this won’t be the last. After months of salivating over their Twitter feed, I was finally able to make it down to Military Road to see what all the fuss is about. I’ll just say this, there’s probably not enough fuss about this place—if you haven’t made it down to Baja’s corner of the world, reconsider your priorities and get thyself a mouthful of some of the finest tacos and burritos this side of the Rio Grande.

If you were to sample but one of their menu’s many tantalizing items—a decision which proves to be extraordinarily difficult—please make it the Cuban burrito. The Cuban also comes in taco form, a very worthy option as well if you are leaning in that direction, but you can opt for the burrito option if you so desire. Standard to both the burrito and taco is the spectacular shredded Cuban pork—sweet, spicy, and tender, it forms the base of these spectacular items. The burrito then distinguishes itself by taking a soft, grilled flour tortilla, stuffing it full of the pork, fluffy seasoned rice, and black beans, and tops it with a sour orange red cabbage-jicama slaw. The slaw may be the most inspired component of this entire culinary equation—the zest of citrus, mildly sweet, with a slight crunch from the freshly chopped jicama. They dredge the entire thing in their housemade queso, a creamy, cool, rich concoction the puts the whole thing over the top. I’ve had my fair share of pitiful cheese toppings—some half-hearted, melted Velvetta and Rotel abomination which would never be fit to top this blessed burrito. Baja’s queso is no such broth—it’s clearly made with care, flavorful, and a beautiful addition to an already spectacular dish. Each bite of this burrito is bittersweet—your mouth rejoices, but deep within, your brain dreads the moment this burrito is gone.

If you got in your car right now, I bet you could make it to Baja Grill in under half an hour. Okay, probably not the case for everyone, but regardless of the time commitment required to park yourself at the feet of Baja Grill, it will be well worth your effort. Take a seat on their ample outdoor seating while the weather is still permissive, and bask in the glow of burrito brilliance.

(Baja Grill is located at 1130 Military Rd, Benton. 501-617-1002)

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