The enormous "Triple Threat Burrito" from Papalote
I’m a semi-frequent watcher of Throwdown with Bobby Flay on Food Network. I like the concept of an Iron Chef challenging and surprising other cooks and chefs to make what they do best, while he does his own interpretation of their specialty. I also like that sometimes Bobby wins and other times he has to concede that these chefs are just top notch at making this one dish. I was really excited to hear that Throwdown was coming to my neighborhood and Bobby would be challenging Papalote, a well-known and one of the beloved Mission district taquerias. The throwdown – burritos.
The Mission District of San Francisco is famous for its Latino culture and food. And Papalote is a favorite with long lines of people waiting at all times of the day and night to eat their great Mexican food. I live about a block from Papalote and I’ve eaten there dozens of times over the years.
However, I had never tried the burrito they would be making for the Throwdown – the Triple Threat Burrito. The Triple Threat is named after legendary Bay Area DJ crew, Triple Threat DJs. It is a massive delight of carne asada, chicken and shrimp, rice, beans and that special (and top-secret Papalote salsa).
Papalote defeated Bobby’s Green burrito, which I totally wished I could have tried. It looked amazing. It had spinach rice, and white beans in a green chile stew and guacamole. I hope Bobby puts in on the menu at one of his places in New York, so I can check it out on my next visit to Manhattan.
The Throwdown aired on February 17 and for days after I was thinking about both of burritos. I’m normally a little burnt out on Mexican food. It happens when you live in a neighborhood with more than 50 taquerias within five blocks of your house. But I was determined to try the Triple Threat.
Earlier this week my husband and I decided we didn’t want to cook and I figured this was my chance to experience the Triple Threat. I went online to get Papalote’s number and order the burritos to be picked up. I ordered two Triple Threats with the addition of sour cream, guacamole and cheese on both. Why not really go for it? When I asked how much, just to make sure we had the cash on hand, I was told by the person taking my order it would be $46. Excuse me! I only ordered two burritos. The person taking my order informed me that it was not a mistake and my total was $46. I quickly changed my order to just one Triple Threat. My husband and I decided to split one since we weren’t about to pay $46 dollars for burritos that we didn’t know if we would love.
By the way, the price for the Triple Threat was not on the online menu and my husband, who picked up the order, confirmed that the price is not posted in the restaurant either. Most of their other burritos cost about between $5 and $10. I had total sticker shock. Now, I have plunked down some serious cash for dinners in the past at nice places, but I am in disbelief at the cost of this burrito. You can get a regular, and very delightful, burrito at any number of authentic taquerias in the neighborhood for around $8 or $9. The Triple Threat is actually $19.99, but making it super (adding guacamole, cheese and sour cream) added another $2 dollars – bringing the total a whopping $23 for a single burrito.
For me, paying that much is akin to being in New York and paying $30 dollars for a room service burger. It’s just against my nature. I might pay $30 (maybe even a little more) for a gourmet burger at renowned chef Hubert Keller’s Burger Bar, but that is only because I’ve eaten several times at his high-end French restaurant , Fleur de Lys in San Francisco and loved it.
So would I order another Triple Threat? Yes, but with the caveat that I split it with someone. It was delicious. I liked the idea of having three kinds of meat. I always have a hard time choosing what to get, so this was a good way to avoid that dilemma and get everything at once. And, it was huge. It could easily feed two people. Although, my husband was eyeing my half and I had to munch quickly to avoid his fork on my plate. However, I think it will be a while before I order another Triple Threat. It’s a little more of a novelty than an everyday (or every week) grab and go burrito.