Mountain View offers many sources, but the Golden Triangle of Taquerias would have to be the intersection of Old Middlefield Way and Rengstorff Avenue, just off U.S. 101. They are La Bamba, La Costena and Taqueria Los Altos.
Palo Alto's burritos are lightly sprinkled in each of the three commercial districts. Downtown recently lost Andale, but Adam Torres hopes to open Sancho's Taqueria on Lytton Avenue. Meanwhile, get veggie and chile relleno burritos at Sancho's in La Tiendita Market, 510 O'Connor St., East Palo Alto, and two locations in Redwood City.
We ordered roughly the same vegetarian super-burrito at five stops, with whole pinto beans and medium-spicy salsa. Size-wise, they were similar.
Our sixth stop, the Oaxacan Kitchen in Palo Alto, does not have a burrito. It is a charming sit-down restaurant featuring regional specialties, including a handful of street foods. We sampled two vegetarian items from the takeout menu.
Here are the results:
Los Altos Taqueria
2105 Old Middlefield Way, Mountain View
Cheapest on our tour and serving the most in-house diners, Los Altos Taqueria let us down with veggie burrito drenched in sour cream. Lettuce got very soggy. Burrito could use more beans, but comes with chips and salsa. Children's version is $2.50.
2078 Old Middlefield Way, Mountain View
Most beautiful. Cut it in half and admire the cross-section of fresh, discrete ingredients. Beans don't mash up. Choices in rice: Spanish, white and brown. Thin tortilla, concentrated in folds at both ends. Bean and rice chico burrito is $2.39, with vegetables, $3.99.
Taqueria La Bamba
2058 Old Middlefield Way, Mountain View
Best overall. Certainly the best aftertaste. Satisfying in every way. Well-proportioned ingredients in a thick flour tortilla, with a taste of guacamole and salsa in every bite.
Como Esta Taqueria
2605A Middlefield Road, Palo Alto
Best variety of vegetarian burritos. No lard. Good salsa choices. Worst guacamole, bland and pureed like baby food. Brightly printed, readable stickers tell you which burrito is which. Veggie super filled with rice, beans, salsa, guacamole, lettuce, sour cream, cheese and tomato. Good chile relleno burrito — not heavily crusted. Tofu burrito has too many green bell peppers. Chico veggie is $3.75.
Three Brothers Taco & Meat Market
$4 for vegetarian burrito
2220 University Ave.
East Palo Alto
Best value. Once called Tres Hermanos, Three Brothers offers a classic, fully stuffed flour tortilla, oozing sour cream, spiked with cilantro and onions. Shredded Jack cheese clumped up, but iceberg lettuce was inoffensive. Sliced avocado plus guacamole.
The Oaxacan Kitchen
Ungraded, extra credit
2323 Birch St., Palo Alto
Unlike burritos, these Oaxacan street foods cool off quickly and are not meant to be reheated. The tlayuda is constructed like a tostada, on a large, freshly handmade, then toasted corn tortilla. First a spread of mashed black beans, then fresh tomato, queso fresco, cabbage, salsa, avocado slices and guacamole. Great guacamole. Memela ($5) is similar but smaller, with black beans and dark mole. Vegetarian quesadilla ($6) features melted Jack-like cheese with a tad of cilantro.
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