Tag: taqueria

Chain Restaurant Reviews: Chipotle

Can Chipotle compete with local taquerías?

Living in San Leandro, I have easy access to a lot taquerías, so it’s probably not surprising that it took me years to finally try Chipotle – which has been occupying the old Copymat space in downtown San Leandro for over a decade now. I finally did several years ago (and you can read my review of their quesadilla), at my daughter’s urging, and I wasn’t impressed. Still, she likes it, so we get it once in a while. My last order reminded me of why it’s not more often.

Chipotle has an easy online ordering system, which allows you to customize your order, and it’s usually ready before you can get to the store. Their prices vary significantly between locations – with the Chipotle in San Leandro having some of the highest prices in the nation. Alas, they haven’t gone up as much as prices at other taquerías. Chipotle has its own frequent user club that allows you to very slowly accumulate points that you can exchange for free food. After this order, I’ll be able to get some free tortilla chips. Yippy (/s).

I ordered a steak burrito ($12.50) with cheese, sour cream and tomatillo-green chili salsa. As usual, I skipped the rice and beans. I was disappointed. Not only was the burrito fairly small, but it was cold. That’s because the cheese, sour cream and salsa are all added cold and very quickly cool down the beef. I suspect the tortilla is not steamed hot before serving it either. I was able to microwave it and melt the cheese as I was eating it at home – but I’m not sure if you’re given that option if you eat it at the restaurant.

I wasn’t thrilled by the flavor either. The tomatillo-green chili salsa was very strong and pretty much overwhelmed all other flavors. The burrito was too salty as well. The meat, cut into cubes, was OK but not particularly flavorful or tender.

In all, there isn’t much to recommend these burritos, other than the fact that I can order them online – unlike the much better ones at Taquería Los Pericos, half a block away.

I also got a large guacamole ($5.90) and a regular order of tortilla chips ($2.10). There are more than enough chips in the regular order to consume the guacamole – and this way I saved 65 cents over the “large guacamole and large chips” item. Yes, I know, it’s not much, but I hate giving any extra money to large corporations.

The guacamole was quite good. It was a little salty, but it tasted quite fresh. The chips are pretty light, a tad greasy, but good as well. Still, they do seem to be on the expensive side given that taquerias usually serve them for free.

My daughter got the chicken al pastor burrito bowl ($11.75), which she gets with extra black beans, extra cheese, extra rice, extra lettuce and extra sour cream. She really likes it, and given that she’s not a huge meat eater it works out well for her. A bowl can work out to two meals if she’s not particularly hungry.

In all, Chipotle is a mixed bag. It works out for my daughter but not for me. I prefer Los Pericos and other local taquerias, but I do like their convenient ordering method. I don’t like that they prompt you to tip for a take out order – but that’s become standard nowadays.

1505 E 14th St
San Leandro, CA
(510) 667-1003
Daily: 10:30 AM–11 PM

Chain Restaurant Reviews: Taco Bell


Taco Bell, like sister companies Habit Burger, KFC and Pizza Hut are on the boycot list, as their parent company, Yum brands, invests in Israel. Please help stop apartheid and genocide by Israel by not doing business with companies that financial benefit from the killing, torture, maiming and oppression of Palestinians and who de facto support crimes against humanity.

More information as to why you should boycott Taco Bell.

Chipotle Quesadilla Review

Good but Expensive

(Updated Chipotle review)

I’m not the biggest fan of Chipotle – mostly because it’s boring and expensive. I understand why people might seek it in places that don’t have a great taqueria (or taco truck) in every corner, but I fail to understand its appeal in California. Still, my daughter likes it, so we ordered it for lunch a few days ago.

This time I decided to try the quesadilla, which is basically a deconstructed burrito grilled long enough to melt the cheese. It’s served with 3 “sides” which really mean the ingredients you’d otherwise have inside the burrito, things like rice, beans, salsas and sour cream Burrito extras, like guacamole, are still extra for quesadillas.

The steak quesadilla was tasty, but it felt smaller than a burrito (probably just my imagination), and having the salsa/sour cream/guacamole (the latter came in a different container) outside the burrito only made it more difficult to eat. The shape of the quesadilla, and the fact that it’s cut in two diagonally made it even more impractical, the filling kept falling out as I tried to dip it.

At $11.40 (prices vary by location*), it was a pretty poor value – though I’m sure no worse than anything else at Chipotle.

On the plus side, the ingredients were fresh and the beef has less gristle/fat than that at some local taquerias. Also on the plus side, Chipotle is very vegan friendly. Not only do they offer sofritas, a plant based protein, as a vegan alternative to meats, but their rice, beans, tortillas and chips are all vegan. Often times, Mexican restaurants use chicken broth for their rice, or lard for their beans and/or tortillas.

Chipotle – San Leandro
1505 E 14th St.(510) 667-100310:45 AM – 10 PM

* For the sake of looking at how minimum wages impacted on Chipotle’s prices, I used their very helpful website to price a steak quesadilla at different Chipotles. This is what I found:

In Seattle, WA, with the highest minimum wage in the country at $16.69/hr, a Chipotle steak quesadilla is $9.85

In San Francisco, CA with a $16.32/hr minimum wage, it’s $11

In Berkeley, CA with a $16.32/hr minimum wage, it is $10.25.

In Manhattan, NY with a $15/hr minimum wage, it’s $11.15

In my city, San Leandro, CA, with a $15/hr MW, it’s $11.40

In Fresno, CA, with a $14/hr MW, it’s $9.65

In Peoria, IL with an $11/hr MW, it’s $9.65

In Tulsa, OK, with a $7.25/hr MW, it’s $9.55

In Hinesville, GA, with a $7.25/hr MW, it’s $9.65

Taqueria Los Pericos #5 – San Leandro – Review

2013 Update

Over the years we’ve gone to Los Pericos #5 and the original Los Pericos pretty indiscriminately.  Unfortunately, they removed all the nice tables and chairs from #5 and replaced them with the same formica booths that theyhave at the man restaurant. They definitely don’t encourage lingering.  But they still have  a couple of high tables with chairs and the one large booth in the corner.

Personally I prefer to go to this Los Pericos because it’s still a bit nicer/more intimate but also because they have s “small super quesadilla” which is twice the size than the small quesadilla at the regular Los Pericos, but still smaller than the giant one. It’s the perfect size for lunch.

2005 Review

When we first moved to San Leandro, Pedro’s was our taqueria of choice. We liked their burritos, the small surroundings and leather backed chairs by the window. Alas, they got our orders wrong too many times, so we stopped going there and started going to Taqueria Los Pericos instead. Los Pericos offers a special quesadilla, which is just like a burrito but with cheese instead of rice and beans, just how I like them.
Apparently other people preferred Los Pericos too, as Pedro’s has now become Taqueria Los Pericos #5. Their menu is the same than at Los Pericos, including burritos ($2.50 for a bean & cheese to $7.25 for a “shrimp super”), tacos, nachos and quesadillas in addition to Tex-Mex dinner plates ($7-11). The food is all taqueria style, however, don’t come here for regional specialties. Meat selections, however, are wide and they include beef tongue, chitlins and intestines, in addition to more common meats.
As we discovered in our visit to Los Pericos #5, the quality of the food and the service are also like those of its parent restaurant. We ordered a small grilled chicken super quesadilla for Mika ($3.50). This consisted of a tortilla covered with melted cheese, grilled chicken and sour cream (guacamole also available, but Mika doesn’t like it) and topped by another tortilla. The whole thing was very good, but the grilled chicken is particularly tasty and a favorite of mine.
Mike and I both ordered the giant special quesadillas ($5), which are rolled like a large burrito and include melted cheese, guacamole, sour cream, lettuce, salsa and the meat of your choice (Mike went for the carne asada and I for the pastor -a saucy BBQ pork). Once again they were both quite good, the carne asada, cut into very small slices, is flavorful and juicy, though it can be fatty at times. The pastor was somewhat spicy, but tamed by the sour cream and guacamole. I’d order it again if I didn’t like the grilled chicken so much. The special quesadillas are large enough that you can easily take half home for later.
Los Pericos is known for its fast and friendly service, this tradition continues at Los Pericos #5. Indeed, we recognized some of the workers from the parent restaurant. As in the other restaurant, you order your food, you are given a number that you then put at your table. The waiter then delivers the food to you. You can find complimentary chips under a heat lamp at the counter, and a tray table offers different kinds of salsas, pico de gallo, beets (don’t ask me why), pickles and lime wedges. The chips are crispy, thick and not too oily, good though a bit tasteless by themselves.
The restaurant itself has not changed much since its Pedro’s days. The Mexican murals are still there, as are the dark wood chairs and tables (the leather back chairs had disappeared years before). There are TVs at two corners and a jukebox, but the music and sound weren’t as loud as in the parent restaurant. In all, it’s a more “elegant” atmosphere than that at the super-casual parent restaurant. It’s also considerably smaller. I think that if I was going to eat there with another adult, I’d chose the #5 location, while I’d go for the main location if I had the kids alone. The space and the video games gives them stuff to do while we eat.
Note that its hours are briefer than the main location.
Taqueria Los Pericos #5
1389 E 14th St.
San Leandro, CA
Daily 8AM – 10 PM

© 2024 Marga's Food Blog

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

Follow by Email