Taste test: frozen burritos
Anyone with teenagers in the house knows the burrito is often considered one of the five main food groups. Burrito restaurants are a big draw for the teen crowd and a favorite lunch meal. Local grocery stores have plenty of frozen burrito options as well. We sampled five brands with beef as a main ingredient, warming all in the microwave oven according to package directions. Afterward, our judges decided the drive to a Mexican restaurant is probably worth the effort.
Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent
© 2014 Tampa Bay Times
(out of 100)
|Trader Joe's 42||El Monterey 34||Reds 34|
|The tortillas on this burrito were flecked with appealing spices and the meat was "nicely wrapped," said one judge. She appreciated the amount of steak in the burrito. A couple of judges said they would have preferred the wrap with much less cumin. "It's overpowering," said one. "Nuke one of these up and it will take you to a 7-11 at 3 a.m.," said another. Overall, though, judges liked the taste and said they could make this a quick snack or lunch in a pinch.||El Monterey's burritos were kind of messy with shredded beef spilling from the tortilla and sauce squirting out from the edges. "There are way too many layers of tortilla," said one judge. "The burrito is positively sludgy with refried beans and cheese and flecks of meat." She said the flavor was "not bad," but gave the burrito a bad rap for its bad wrap. ||The Reds burrito was described by one judge as "very blouse-y looking and loosely wrapped." Judges tasted black beans and corn but not enough beef. A couple said it was heavy on oregano. "It's a well-done mix of corn and rice but with a huge bite of spice," said another.|
|One of the four judges said yes.||None of the four judges said yes.||None of the four judges said yes.|
|Shopping information||$3.39 for a 16-ounce burrito.||$1.19 for a 5-ounce burrito from Target.||$3.49 for an 11-ounce burrito from Target.|
PJ's Organic ($3.19 for a 6-ounce burrito from Sweetbay, 33 points) and Patio (59 cents for a 5-ounce burrito from Publix, 33 points).
Panelists: Nan Jensen, registered dietitian; Wayne Conery, manager of the R-Bar on Treasure Island; Jeff Jensen, public information officer for the city of Treasure Island; and Laura Reiley, Times food critic. All foods were tasted blind.
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|Serving size||One burrito||One burrito||One burrito|
|Fat/Fiber||9g / 6g||9g / 0g ||13g / 12g|
|Sugars/Sodium||2g / 1040mg||1g / 510mg ||4g / 610mg|
|Carbs/Protein||63g / 16g||38g / 14g ||80g / 21g|