Thursday, June 10, 2010

Jaimito's Burritos

When you've had a heavy night of drinking, it's pretty much a requirement to end the night with some late night food. I used to think that this was a nasty habit, and for that matter one that led to my 25 lb weight gain in my freshman year of undergrad. Since I've started to eat much healthier for the most part, I've basically cut out the late night eats, but I've realized that it's much harder to fall asleep (mostly due to the spins and a general stomach ache). Basically, the late night meal is a necessity that cannot be avoided, especially when you've got 8 people staying at your apartment (some of which fell asleep in an armchair, sharing a couch, or even face down on the floor).

For some of you, the late night craving may be Pokey Sticks while others of you may go for Bacci Pizza. If you live in Wicker Park you can go to Picante or Flash Taco. Well if you live on the corner of Clybourn and Sheffield, the place to go is Jaimito's Burritos.

Jaimito's is a pretty basic one room Mexican counter restaurant. You walk up, order, and move down to get your food after watching the burrito artists work their craft on the flat top. There are a bunch of counter seats that look out the large windows onto Clybourn. Other than that there are probably 10 tables or so that can seat 4 people each.

One of the most important things with late night food is the speed of service. Jaimito's isn't the fastest, but it's not bad. They were moderately busy when we ordered, and it took us a little under ten minutes to get our food. Obviously the amount of traffic here depends on the going out that night, especially if there's a concert at the nearby bar, US Beer Co. Most of the time you won't have to wait long.

Another essential is low cost. After blowing all of your hard earned (or loaned) cash on drinks at the bar the last thing you want to do is spend much more on food. A pretty large burrito is about $5 ($4 if you go vegetarian). Quesadillas and single tacos are $1.80 in case you don't want as much as a whole burrito.

The Food
I've seen adventurous menu choices before, but what I had at Jaimito's was a little out there. I'm not saying that I had some strange food or that they rewrote the book on burritos, I'm just saying the combo of ingredients was interesting. Schneider and I weren't that hungry so we split the Veggie Dos Burrito. This included couscous, sauteed vegetables (zucchini and peppers mostly), pesto, lettuce and tomato. I felt like this was a pretty healthy option if I was going to eat out late, and I was not disappointed at all. It could've used a little cheese or beans to make it a little heartier, but the flavors were all there. The texture was nice as they put a crisp on the tortilla and the veggies were not overcooked (which was an initial fear of mine when ordering).

 The Veggie Dos Burrito

Another good order was Ian Ludwig's which was a little bit of all of their taco's (Al Pastor and Steak mostly). After constantly bugging the cooks to "let loose on the flavor" while they were making it, I think Ian was pretty happy with the taste. The steak was tender, and the sauce on the Al Pastor was said to be flavorful with a kick but not too spicy. Dan Plotsky was also with us. He had a more traditional burrito and quesadilla. The burrito seemed to satisfy him pretty well, but the quesadilla was pretty small and offered very little besides the flavors of simple tortilla and cheese.

 The Steak Taco

Now I can't mention this place without talking about Ricky Gross. He just happens to be obsessed with Jaimito's even if he can't remember the name. Whether he thinks it's called Juanitos or Jaime Escalante's, Ricky will find this place before making his way up to our futon. I think he got a burrito and loved it, but his obsession has blinded his opinions with bias. It's not that these opinions are unfounded though.

It's important to keep in mind that when I review a place like this that I'm comparing it to other places in its category. I'm not putting this next to all Mexican restaurants like Frontera Grill because they're just in different leagues all together. When I say that Jaimito's is good I mean that it's good late night food. It's got all the right qualities, quickness, cheapness, and quantity. In comparison to the other Wicker Park locations I mentioned, I'd say that it's a leg up on Flash Taco because its less greasy, but it's not as authentic or tasty as Picante. Still, because of the overall satisfaction of myself and my visitors I'm going to give Jaimito's 3.5 out of 5 Pearls.

Jaimito's Burritos on Urbanspoon