Henry Eats SoCal: Corrales Mexican Food

Every time I eat at Corrales, I am convinced, if only for a moment, that I live in the wrong state, that I have made a terrible mistake and I must leave Idaho behind for the superior offerings of the Golden State.

Ventura California’s premier burrito destination offers the experience and flavors of a taco truck from a permanent downtown location. On their menu you will find all of the greatest hits you know and love — burritos, tacos, quesadillas and beyond — filled with your choice from their full arsenal of meats.

But there are two menu items where, in my humble estimation, Corrales drop kicks the competition.

The first item: corn burritos. In more gringo laden parts of the world, these might be called black bean taquitos, but lay off the Baja Fresh vernacular lest you be branded a heretic. These are corn burritos — filled with refried black beans, rolled, fried, slathered in cheese and sauce, and baked to melty perfection. They come four to an order, and dipped in Corrales gloriously garlicky hot salsa, they present my greatest risk of an early death.

The second menu item I ask you to visualize with me. Imagine that we baked a poblano pepper, and then we stuffed it with a range of mexican cheeses, and then we battered and fried that pepper until it was golden brown, and then we laid that pepper atop a tortilla, alongside beans, rice, and a generous helping of guac, and then we rolled a burrito the size of Hulk Hogan’s forearm.

That is the Corrales Chile Relleno burrito. It works on so many levels. The beans and rice would be delightful on their own, but combined them with the grease of a cheese stuffed pepper and the bright, heady richness of guacamole, and we’ve got a different beast entirley. Every bite of this burrito makes me grown.

What’s so ingenious about this setup is that the cheese is INSIDE the pepper. Whereas the dairy in a burrito can often pout lukewarm and disenfranchised on one side, this cheese forms the molten core — the beating heart — of the whole operation. The spicy pepper juices and flavorful cheese grease flow outward with every bite, permeating the bottom levels of the burrito. Thus, the last few bites become mind-blowingly good and completely shameful. This is not the place for a first date.

And anyways, you would be a fool to try and find a connection more true, and meaningful, than the one you feel when you suckle that last flap of bean smeared tortilla from your fully cupped hand.

4 1/2 STARS

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