Food News

The New Burrito Bar at Whole Foods: a Taste Test

Boca's Whole Foods Market now has a burrito bar. If a giantmega salad bar, dozen-plus steam-table dishes, sushi bar, pizza station, barbecue station, deli counter, and impressive array of entrées to go aren't enough, now you can build your own burrito. 

Hey, it worked for Chipotle. 

Burning question of the day is: Can a market with Whole Food's yupscale clientele and Boca Raton's, ah... well-scrubbed demographic craft a burrito that tastes more like Mexico than an über-tony enclave of affluent Tea Party voters?

The short answer is, no. 

The long answer is here.  

Whole Food's burrito bar is a sort of truncated version of those at Chipotle, Baja Fresh, Moe's, et al. You have a choice of proteins: pork, chicken, tofu, ground beef, plus white or brown rice, black or pinto beans, and cheese, lettuce, pico de gallo, crema, hot sauce, and guacamole squirted from a squeeze bottle. Cost is $7.99, which includes a handful of chips and some truly vile Pace "salsa" poured from a jug. 

Doing his biweekly ciabatta and cheese run, Charlie picked up pork and chicken burritos, loading them up with everything (the so-called "San Francisco burrito"), and supplemented them with a small canister of passable taqueria-style guacamole topped with a bit of pico de gallo (for another $2.50). 

On the positive side, the things are huge. If you ditch the hideous Pace salsa and scoop up the guacamole with the complimentary chips, one fully loaded burrito can easily feed two. And they do taste fresh and healthier than your average taqueria or nouveau taqueria burrito.

On the not-so-positive side, they may taste fresher and healthier, but other than that, they don't taste like anything at all. Bland is an understatement. Even the pork seemed to have all the flavor leeched out of it. And despite a tortilla-busting array of burrito fixins, the overall result was about as Mexican as Newt Gingrich.  

Would Charlie ever order another one? Well, if I were already shopping at WF and absolutely, positively couldn't make it through the day without a burrito and Chipotle or Moe's or Baja Fresh or whoever was too far away or two inconvenient to visit and I picked up enough good stuff to make my own salsa so the thing would have a little flavor, then yes, I might just give WF's burrito bar a second chance. 

Or maybe I'd just leave it for Newt.