It started, as many things on the internet do, with a slice of pizza. Our intrepid master of all things strange in food, Ashley Burns, found this special at a Brooklyn pizzeria:
Coincidentally, this had just popped up on my Twitter feed:
Yes, it’s everything stereotypically Irish in a tortilla, offered by one of Boston’s Mexican food chains. As I looked at it, though, it dawned on me: Unlike most strange and terrible food ideas, I could actually go eat this thing! After all, I was the guy who made a fellow Uproxxian eat at Hell Night, risking my colon for a laugh was nothing new. It was, in fact, fairly close to a place I was running an errand to anyway. I could pop in, try this atrocity, and split!
I admit, though, I was somewhat hopeful that there was more to this. Irish food and Mexican food are not terribly far from each other. Corned beef is simply salt-cured meat, after all, and cabbage, carrots, and potatoes aren’t unknown to Mexican cuisine. True, Anna’s was hardly a hot spot of Mexican/Irish fusion, but a little ambition would go a long way, right?
My first clue of what I was in for came when I walked in. I had wondered if there would be any left, but oh, no worry, they still had plenty:
I opted for a small, since I’m not that willing to injure myself for the amusement of others. And it was then I discovered just how deep the Irish stereotypes went: The vegetables and potatoes had been boiled. I was offered cheese, and declined, and turned down a similar offer of those traditional Irish staples, rice and beans. If I was going to do this, I was going to go in pure.
Generally, stunt food either has to be utterly brilliant or completely reprehensible. It either has to change your approach to food or be so unspeakably vile you reduce friends to tears of laughter just admitting you let this thing in your mouth. What I got instead was mediocrity in a tortilla. Everything was soft, and being boiled through, generally also tasteless except for the dash of spicy mustard I’d wisely ordered. The best thing about it was the corned beef which had the distinction of being serviceable despite having no seasoning whatsoever. For all the flavor it had, I might as well have gotten mustard on a tortilla.
What’s such a shame here is that this would have been so easy to turn into an actual dish. Make the carrots and cabbage into a light slaw with a little lime for a punch of acid. Hard fry the potatoes in a little butter to give them some crunch and flavor, and then season them for a little spice. Make the corned beef with some more intense traditional Mexican spices, not just salt. Ah well. Sales appeared to be slow, but perhaps next year we’ll get either the genuinely great or the terrible burrito this idea truly deserves.