The. Bite.

Everyone knows the bite.

Some say it happens about halfway through the burrito. Others maintain that it’s three fourths of the way down. And still others say it’s a third from the bottom.

It’s hard to say where exactly the bite resides. Every burrito is different, and everyone attacks their burrito in a different way. But make no mistake: it’s in there. There’s always a bite.

What is the bite? Simply put, it’s the one magical mouthful in every burrito that is unequivocally the best. A moment of culinary crescendo, where every flavor and texture comes together. The bite that makes you moan in exclamation despite your mouth being full. It’s the bite that keeps you, and me, and everyone else in the subtle, subconscious worship of taco trucks everywhere.

For years I wondered about the bite. For much of my life I doubted its existence. Burrito ingredients are evenly mixed throughout the tortilla enclosure, I reasoned. How could any one mandibular selection be superior to the next? It all seemed so strange.

Until one day, perhaps a year ago. I was alone in Chipotle, wolfing down a beef burrito. It was a good burrito, not earth shattering, but consummately enjoyable. And then, as I moved into the second half of the burrito, everything changed.

Because I took the bite. It was the perfect mix of meat and beans, just the right amount of avocado, a dash of salsa, a dash of sour cream, and all of it tied together by perfectly melty cheese. Alone though I was, hunched over and chewing in a deserted chipotle, I growled like a grizzly bear in the midst of a salmon run.

As I walked triumphantly from the establishment, I couldn’t help but marvel at the bite. I felt like the kid at the end of Polar Express, looking down at his train ticket with “believe” spelled out in hole punches. There really was one magical bite in every burrito.

polar-express-ticket588

Experiencing the bite is like switching to boxer briefs — once you’ve combined the strengths of boxers and tighty whities, you can’t go back. You are fated to notice the best bite in every burrito from San Francisco to Atlanta. From Baja Fresh to a Chula Vista Taco Truck.

The bite is almost always accompanied by the shutdown of your facial musculature, and a huge increase in obnoxious verbalizations (most common among these are “holy shit”, “oh my god”, “sweet Jesús take me now”, “mmmmffffmmfph”, and on occasion “I need a private moment”).

Once I became aware of the bite, I moved into phase two of my burrito-coming-of-age (some people might call this buberty, but frankly I’m uncomfortable with that phrasing). In phase two, you start asking questions. Where is the bite? Can I predict the bite? What is in the bite? Why is there a bite? What is the meaning of bite? Are you there burrito? It’s me Margaret. (Well at least you start asking the first three.)

But here’s the frustrating thing — much like literature and art, the best bite a burrito is an enigmatic and deeply personal experience. No one can answer these questions for you, you have to search within.

All that said, here is my personal bite theory:

  1. The bite occurs roughly 66.6% of the way through your burrito, with up to a 15% variance in bite arrival time.
  2. The deliciousness of the bite is derived from the combination of beans, avocado, cheese, and the juices from the meat. If one of these four is missing, the best bite will not be possible.
  3. Ingredients that often enhance the bite are — salsa, sour cream, and especially flavorful meat.
  4. Rice is incapable of having any impact on the bite. It can neither heighten nor diminish the resulting flavor.
  5. The angle, enthusiasm, and size of the bite all affect the ultimate sensation in unquantifiable ways. As a general rule, you don’t want your bite to be a nibble, but you also shouldn’t resemble a python unhinging it’s jaw.

What does this mean for all of us burrito eaters out there? It’s really hard to say. The science of the bite is in it’s absolute infancy at this time, and we’ll need years of research to really come to terms with the momentous mexican food implications.

In the near future, though, the bite might present a new method of burrito evaluation. Similar to golf, in which you can play a game with a “best ball” partner, we could start grading burritos on a “best bite” basis, in which we compares burritos exclusively based on their most tasty mouthful.

Ah, but I have speculated enough for one blog post. It’s 2:52 AM and supposedly I have a life beyond burritos that requires some sort of attention.

Before I leave, I must implore you — seek out the bite, for in finding the bite, we find ourselves. In that one precious and singular moment, when there is nothing in your world, nothing at all, except for flavorful black beans, avocado and gooey pepper jack, you understand transcendence.

In that moment, we are something more than together; we are snugly wrapped, in the light and love of the burrito of life.

 

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