Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Esta Burrito Es Massive

I'm taking Spanish classes, because I think this will enhance my enjoyment of Mexican foods, like burritos.  So, Vegan HQ gathered a small posse of vegans and friends to check out the new burrito place that opened yesterday on Commerce Street, The Original California Burrito Company.  Word spread quickly about the fact that this place was offering vegan cheese and sour cream on their burritos, which for an Auckland foodery is something rather unique up to this point, and meant that we really had to check this place out on opening day.

David, a native of Brooklyn, claimed to be the mastermind behind The OCBC.

We had a chat with David from the OCBC, who said that he has set up around 20 burrito shops like this one in his time.  David hails from Brooklyn, which explains his understanding of vegan cuisine requirements, in other words, he understands the importance of burritos the size of your head covered in vegan cheese and vegan sour cream.

Seriously, this burrito is the size of my head.

And massive burritos is what you get when you go to the OCBC.  I ordered the Monterey Mixed Vege Burrito, for $8.95, and paid an extra buck to have it deep fried, ala Chimichanga.  My verdict: Awesome.  The mixed veges are not some piddly little defrosted frozen veges, these were like massive chunks of capsicum, carrot and courgette.  
Oh, and I guess there was also corn in the mixed veges.

There was black beans, yellow rice (when Christian went earlier in the day, he said he wasn't a fan of the rice.  I would have to agree, it was alright, but not epic.  David, Mr. Burrito, said that he was thinking of swapping to brown rice, a solid suggestion I think) and a bunch of their homemade salsa.  
I never use my camera, and didn't realise all night that I had the flash turned off...but you get the picture.

There were two things missing from my burrito which some of the others ordered: guacamole and hot sauce.  The burrito as it is doesn't have much bite, which I like in my Mexican food, so I'd suggest asking for a bit of hot sauce if you are the spicy type.

Romelli went with the non-deepfried healthy option.

My personal verdict is that, taking price/value into consideration, and the fact that this comes with vegan cheese and vegan sour cream, these are the best burritos in town.  I had a conversation about this with my good friend Mr. xVx Tong, and he favours the burritos at El Camino in terms of taste, but adding price into the mix OCBC pulls through with the massive burrito for the lower budgeted among us.

Tom was late, cause he stopped off to pick up some Oreos for his ride back from Wellington.

I decided to have a go at something else from the menu, just to get a better idea of what they have on offer, so I picked up one of the 'Mextras', some chips with guacamole and salsa for $8.50.  I likely won't be doing that again.  The chips are pretty awesome, in the sense that they are hand made by the shop.  The salsa is, well, salsa, and the guacamole isn't anything special, I mean, Christian made some more amazing guacamole last night at Vegan HQ as it was.  You don't get a massive bag of chips, which I think is what let me down, as I had just paid $8.50 for them all.  I mean, they were good.  But for $8.50 I'd sooner buy a pack of Dorritos and a few avocados and make my own guac.

I already ate half the chips before taking this photo.  Also, this is when I realised that the flash wasn't on...

The other let down for this place, in my opinion, is that it really isn't a place to hang out at.  There is no seating, it's set up like a take-away, which is cool for a place to grab a quick bit on your lunch break or whatever, but if you want to go out with some friends and have some cheap massive burritos together, you are left out in the cold.  Well, not that cold, they have some heaters set up to keep you warm while you stand around the two tables they have outside.  Which isn't bad.  But it is a factor that could influence you to head to the Ponsonby Foodcourt for a seat and a plate of their $10 burrito options, or even the Rialto foodcourt burritos, which rated rather highly on my list for the same price.

Eating burritos outside might be more appealing in summer time after a bike ride I think.

On the plus side, the outdoor eating arrangement means that we don't have to leave behind the most beloved member of Vegan HQ when we head out for burritos, Mrs. Hooli Dog.  Hooli is a vegan dog, but she doesn't know she's vegan.

The burrito is also the size of Hooli's head.

My overall verdict:  I will definitely be a repeat customer.  The taste and value is awesome, and the burritos are massive.  The fact that they offer vegan cheese and sour cream is an awesome novelty, and makes a big difference in the final product I think.  Having a chat to David about the vegan cheese and sour cream left me thinking that two outcomes may be likely in the near future.  One, I have a suspicion that the cost of sourcing the vegan cheese and sour cream might end up being prohibitive for the company.  I mean, at the moment they are the only commercial entity I know in NZ who are create a demand for the stuff, and I understand that right now they are being supplied by Australia.  David even offered to pay me to supply him with my homemade vegan sour cream.  So, I don't know, but I have a feeling that in a few months there may be a revision of the menu and these items may disappear, but that is speculation.  My hope, however, is that not only will the OCBC be able to continue supplying awesome vegan burritos with vegan cheese and sour cream, but that other shops around the city will start picking up on the concept, creating a greater demand for the stuff.  Here's a hint (ATTN: Alice from Angel Foods), if you are thinking about making some bucks from supplying vegan foodstuffs, I think there is a gap in the commercial market.  If you can make your own vegan tofu sour cream in bulk, you might stand to make loads of bucks, especially if you can market it to commercial foodies in just the right way.  Just a thought.

There are rumors that more OCBC shops will be opening up around the place, so keep your eyes open.


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  2. We went down early because we were worried they would run out of cheese and sourcream when you lot arrived, had a chat to the owner and gave him the good word. Mine was so big Pepe had to finish it for me haha. We were saying it would be awesome if another shop opened on K Road haha.

  3. Haha, already talking to them, Mikey! Thanks though :-)