February 1, 2007

Don’t Miss Out … On That Burrito Place

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Collegetown has always boasted a variety of eateries. From the classic bagel place to almost every Asian cuisine you could possibly think of, to the soon coming Starbucks, if you have a certain meal or snack in mind, odds are you won’t have trouble finding it somewhere between College Avenue and Eddy Street. However, there is one type of cuisine, which college students especially adore, that has been missing from the Collegetown dining scene. Until now. That’s right — a burrito place has finally made its way to our neck of the woods and is already brimming with business. Intrigued by this new addition, my friends and I ventured to That Burrito Place, located on 319A College Avenue, near Dino’s, one snowy evening to see if the eatery had what it takes to become a mainstay in our lovely Collegetown environment.
Upon entering, we were not surprised to find a significantly long line of customers ahead of us; news travels fast, even in a big university. And although we were already running late for a movie, we decided that the thrill of trying the new burritos was worth missing a few previews.
At first look, the décor of the eatery was a bit unappealing. Surfboards and pictures depicting the California coast lined the walls, while myriad stickers were placed below the front counter. It looked slightly tacky and I was unsure as to what kind of ambiance the owners were trying to create. I silently hoped that the food would prove to be superior to the decorations. Luckily, it was.

After waiting for about ten minutes, it was my turn to order. I quickly decided that I wanted a burrito over the other options (salad, tacos, and quesadillas, to name a few) and began my creation with white rice. Filling choices included chicken, shredded beef, steak, braised pork, and vegetables as well as a variety of salsas, beans, sour cream, guacamole, lettuce, and cheese. After careful consideration and much thought, I decided on chicken, mild tomato salsa, cheese, lettuce, and guacamole (which cost an extra two dollars). My finished burrito was wrapped tightly and sealed in aluminum foil to keep it warm.

My friends and I did not have the convenience of eating our burritos at a table, and so thoroughly hoped that they would hold together nicely and not spill ingredients all over our laps. We were in luck; the burrito held together perfectly, making for a pleasant and clean eating experience. In addition, the taste did not disappoint. The chicken was not too spicy, although a bit chewy, and the guacamole was a perfect balance to the heat of the chicken and the crunch of the tomato salsa. The rice also provided an interesting texture to the burrito as a whole, and acted as a palette cleanser to the multiple flavors going on within the burrito. Now, I am nowhere near an expert on burritos, but I finished mine feeling adequately satisfied and sated. And while the burritos are a bit pricy (starting at $5.79 for a chicken burrito), you definitely get a lot of food for your buck.

My friends were similarly pleased with their burritos, however, one complaint did arise: the eatery’s close resemblance to another burrito place, called Chipotle. I’m sure that many students who have eaten at Chipotle have also sensed some similarities in That Burrito Place, but until a Chipotle comes to Ithaca, it is safe to say that That Burrito Place has little competition in the burrito market.

It seems that That Burrito Place is the perfect addition to the already diverse pack of eating establishments in Collegetown. Not only does it provide one of the main foods in a college student’s diet, but it is also attuned to a college student’s crazy schedule, staying open until 12:00 AM Sunday-Wednesday and 2:00 AM Thursday-Saturday. And while one could define its growing popularity with the ever-present long line, perhaps the only true initiation of That Burrito Place into the hearts of Cornell students would be to nickname it with the famous three letter abbreviation. TBP, anyone?