My motto is "Gimme a Crisp Burrito or Gimme Death." OK, maybe not death exactly, but at least a pimp-slap.
I've been enslaved to them since Taco Time first opened it's doors on 7th and Sherman in an oddly shaped building that would eventually turn into Senor Froggy and ultimately, demolition.
It was a wonderful new world of sour-cream enhanced soft tacos, mexi-tots, and cinnamon crustos. The slim, tubular Crisp Pinto and Crisp Meat Burritos were a revelation of deep-fried holiness, and they were additively delicious as well. In fact I still crave them rabidly to this day.
I have nothing but eternal love for Taco Time and all their fine products. When the new 4th Street location opened in the old Taco Johns building last month, I was there ordering up on their very first day. I even worked at a Taco Time in the Spokane Valley for a few months and as much as I can't stand kitchen work, I actually enjoyed that job. I was so enthusuastic about seeing how things were put together and how things ran behind the counter.
I once had a friend who worked at a Taco Time in Eugene, Oregon. I came to visit her there and she revealed that her location was actually the very first Taco Time that ever opened and the national headquarters were located right there. I jumped with glee like it was Graceland, so excited to soak in the grand history of my Crisp Burrito heroes. OK, maybe it's a little weird, but you gotta have faith in something, right?
Anyway, Taco Time truly has the quintesstial version of the Crisp Burrito. They're never frozen; they really do make fresh batches several times a day, rolled and ready for the fryer. The pinto filling is made from a dehydrated spicy bean mix, but is still very tasty. The ground beef is also cooked fresh in a humungous frying pan, the same spiced meat they use in the tacos, but it's hand-mixed with shredded cheddar cheese before being rolled. A more recent (well, early 90's) menu addition is the Chicken Crisp Burrito, which has a cream-cheese and chive thing going on. Also very good.
Whatever variety I decide on, I always have to get the tangy pink sauce (you have to ask for "thousand island", although it really isn't quite that) on the side for mad dipping action.
I think every diet I've ever been on has been sabotaged by one of these babies.
When the downtown Taco Time went north to the new Silver Lake Mall, it was immediately replaced by Senor Froggy. I'm not a mall person, so my Taco Time visits became pretty infrequent for many years. The Frog was owned by a set lovely triplets, three smiling, identical sisters who sang Country music on the side. They kept the Taco Time menu pretty much intact, so my Crisp Burrito fix was still a happening thing, although their version was a little on the pale and floppy side, nowhere near the stiff, brown-skinned meat wand of the original. Stiff meat wand? Substituting food for sex? Maybe I need therapy.
Taco Hell doesn't have anything at all close. Certain C-Stores and Grocery Deli's offer a squattier crisp burrito, usually in bean & cheese, beef & bean, and "BBQ" varieties. These will sometines do in a pinch but tend to laze under the heat lamp for too many hours, causing severe gastrointestinal thunderstorms upon consumption. Get them fresh or beware.
Last night I saw an obnoxious Carl's Jr. ad announcing their latest menu addition: Crisp Meat Burritos. I'm not at all a big fan of Carl's Jr.; I think it's a pretty sketchy outfit, but naturally, I had to drive through the drive-thru to give these babies a shakedown cruise. They're "mini" crisp burritos served in threes, and three minis is pretty much the same length as one Taco Time maxi. Mexi maxi. Also, they're served with a side of so-called guacamole.
Guess what, my dear reader. FAIL. The tortilla layers were too thick to render the burritos crispy except for the very outer later resulting in textural blah. The filling was remeniscent of an especially tangy Oaxacan pet food. Gross! The guac was virtually flavorless and comprised mainly of unweildy tomato chunks. Plus, they looked at me like I was speaking Korean when I asked for my special pink sauce. The accompanying plain-jane chips and cheese was much more enthralling than the 3 mini main atttractions, which are, as I type this, causing an uncomfortable frizzle and burn deep in my tum-tum.
Tums. I need Tums, pronto. Next time I need a Crisp Burrito fix, it's back to the comfort of home base, 'neath the big glowing Taco Time cactus.