Fast and bulbous: drive-through burrito heaven.

Contrary to popular belief, not everything great under the sun exists in NYC – the burritos, in particular, are far behind their counterparts in other territories.  In the east, Boston may not have the unfrozen caveman outfielder any longer, but they still have Anna’s Taqueria (multiple locations, even) and El Pilon.  In the west, my sister claims that there are thousands of amazing burrito places dotting the greater Los Angeles landscape.

Not quite in the middle lies Lone Star Taqueria, on the north side of Fort Union Boulevard (7200 South) at 2300 East, in unincorporated Salt Lake County, Utah.  It is one of my favorite places to eat when I visit my mother.  Occupying what looks like a former burger stand, wedged between a bank and a public library, the parking lot was absolutely full when I arrived on the last day they were to be open before Christmas.  No matter – this was an occasion for drive-through.

“Drive-through burritos?” you ask, incredulously.  Why, yes – drive-through burritos.  Along with drive-through burger stands, coffee huts, drugstores, dry cleaners, and liquor stores (in Wyoming these really do exist, I’m not kidding).  It’s a car culture out here, folks, and if you can’t drive through – hell, who really feels like dealing with a strip mall parking lot, anyway?

Should you choose to park and eat inside or on the sunny porch, you’ll be able to take in more fully Lone Star’s décor – a trashed, sticker-encrusted station wagon haphazardly parked in the front yard and cowboy boots topping the fence posts.  The dining room itself is sheet-metal-chic embodied – burritos and chips may be served to you in pie tins, and the bar of sauces (from mild green to pretty effing hot red with seeds, with a decent pico de gallo to boot) and tables seem to be made of gleaming aluminum.

None of this mattered to me, of course.  I waited for an enormous truck to wedge its way into a parking space (I can scarcely imagine parallel parking such an enormous vehicle) and pulled next to the menu with a giant horn speaker attached.  I’m still a little confused as to how the poor schmuck with the headphones inside can hear me – no microphone is evident, but my order of one chile verde burrito ($5.79), one half chile verde burrito ($4.49), and a side of guacamole ($2.69) was received and processed correctly.

Once home, my mother and sister (having baked all day and snacked perhaps a bit too much) tackled the half burrito, while I jumped into my full-sized version.  Chile verde, for those unfamiliar, is a kind of spicy pork stew – not really that green in the Lone Star incarnation, actually.  I’m unsure as to its place in the authentic Mexican culinary culture, but it seems to be as ubiquitous in Salt Lake’s Tex-Mex restaurants as chicken or steak.  Tasty, nonetheless, particularly when paired in a soft flour tortilla with red beans, rice, lettuce, tomato, cilantro, onions, sour cream and cheese – I also dumped a bit of hot sauce into the mixture.

The guacamole was fairly forgettable – it was turning brownish despite a strong lemon flavor, and while it certainly didn’t taste bad, anyone with a sharp knife, a clean fork, and a ripe avocado or two can make better stuff at home.  I hear they have good fish tacos here, too – never tried ‘em.  The beer, while cheap ($2.50/bottle) is 3.2 percent, as is all beer outside of a state liquor store and a “private club for members” – Utah must have the most arcane liquor laws in the western world.

By the way, those prices are accurate.  I have the receipt right next to me – $12.97 plus 99 cents tax for a burrito and a half, plus guac.  It boggles the mind, no?  Lone Star puts Burritoville and all the rest of the cheapish Tex-Mex crapola in NYC to shame.  For that, I’ll always visit it when I come home.

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3 Comments

Filed under NYC

3 responses to “Fast and bulbous: drive-through burrito heaven.

  1. Caroline

    I know you’re anti-Burritoville, but I still love the place. And Blockheads. And Maryann’s. Even if they do sort of sucketh.

  2. the sister

    mmmm how i miss those lone star burritos…

  3. gods critic

    your prose is boring. learn to write to excite.

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