April 13, 2011

Moe's Spicy Trio Burrito

Bear with me, foodies, as I share a lengthy story about burritos. Trust me when I say it will be worthwhile in the end.

Two weeks ago I visited my local Moe's franchise in hopes of sampling a burrito off of the new Spicy Trio Menu, which is anchored by special jalapeno sour cream and spicy queso. As you may guess, the Spicy Trio is made up of three selections: burrito, quesadilla and rice bowl. The burrito -- what anyone in their right mind would try first -- is stuffed with chicken, rice, black beans and pico de gallo, plus the aforementioned spicy queso and jalapeno sour cream.

Alas, when I walked through the door of Moe's I knew all was not right. The workers behind the counter, who typically greet patrons with a semi-enthusiastic "Welcome to Moe's," were silent, their voices lost in feverish concentration as they busily prepared food. I'm willing to forgive this slight oversight of Moe's etiquette -- they were working hard, after all -- but this slip was definitely foreshadowing things to come.

I reached the counter and placed my order, only to be met with devastating news: there was no more spicy sour cream. The worker behind the counter offered to build my burrito with spicy queso, standard sour cream, jalapenos and cilantro instead. Brokenhearted, I accepted.

Fast forward nine days and I stood back at the same Moe's placing the same order after the workers again failed to greet me -- not that I'm complaining. The restaurant was extremely busy.

But being a food critic is tough work. My return to Moe's in the face of no greetings stands as a shining example of the fact that I'm willing to doggedly pursue the subjects of my reviews for the sake of you, my loyal readers. I'm proud to report the dedication paid off. The restaurant had both jalapeno sour cream and spicy queso for my burrito the second time around.

All this back story basically means I'm able to evaluate the individual impacts of the spicy queso and jalapeno sour cream -- a position I wouldn't be in if I hadn't tasted the burrito with and without said sour cream. Burritos are great at mashing up ingredients and confusing flavors, after all.

For starters, I can tell you that the jalapeno sour cream is good but not earth-shattering. Being both a sour cream and jalapeno enthusiast, I was ready for the worker building my meal to spoon on gobs of the sour cream to smother my burrito in a creamy-yet-hot symphony. Instead she picked up a bottle -- the kind they keep ketchup in -- and squirted some sour cream on my burrito. That spread out the cream and left me wanting more densely packed areas.

The spicy queso, on the other hand, is positively glorious. It's cheesy, hot and gooey, leaving every bite slathered in fantastic flavor. I could rave about it for paragraph upon paragraph, but I'll spare you from any long-winded odes. Just go out and try some for yourself.

In the end, I suppose it shouldn't come as a surprise that the spicy queso is stronger than jalapeno sour cream. After all, queso and heat go together like peas and carrots. And you can't run away from a match made in heaven.

Four sporks out of five for the Spicy Burrito. If I'd been able to get both jalapeno sour cream and spicy queso on my first visit, this could easily have been a five-spork item.

To be honest a little welcome as I walked in the door wouldn't have hurt matters, either.

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