day thirty-nine: moe’s southwest grill
July 7, 2011 § Leave a comment
My Body by Burrito (TM) coach has long been a fan of Moe’s Southwest Grill. Years before I ever stepped inside, she swore by their burritos. Her opinion goes far, especially when it comes to burritos, and was enough to override my skepticism at Moe’s bright, obnoxious Chili’s-esque logo, complete with a chili pepper for an apostrophe. I opened the door.
WELCOME TO MOE’S! The burrito-rollers chanted this phrase with great bombast each time someone opened the door.
What a dreadful place to work, I thought, to have that refrain echoing in your head by day and then, afterward, terrible dream’s [sic] of Moe’s by night. Despite the crowd, though, the burrito-rollers seemed happy. I started at the menu. It was completely perplexing. My options for burritos were:
JOEY BAG OF DONUTS
I had no idea what any of these things meant.
WELCOME TO MOE’S! WELCOME TO MOE’S!
Other menu options included: Overachiever, The Funk Meister, and Unanimous Decision for tacos; John Costocan and Super Kingpin for quesadillas; Billy Barou and Ruprict for nachos; The Close Talker and Personal Trainer for salads; and Fat Sam and Alfredo Garcia for fajitas. I was tempted to order the reasonably named Grilled Chicken Rice Bowl out of sheer fear that any other menu item might contain the disposed-of remnants of a wanted criminal.
I read the fine print. After doing some slow logic puzzle-type calculations, I deduced that the Homewrecker included BOTH sour cream and guacamole whereas the Joey Bag of Donuts came with EITHER sour cream or guacamole. The Art Vandelay was, like the Homewrecker, served with BOTH sour cream and guacamole, made vegetarian by holding the meat and possibly substituting tofu.
By this point, my head was spinning. What did all these words mean? What was their relationship to each other and the food itself? Could signification really be this arbitrary? Why oh why was I going to order a burrito with the word “Donuts” in its name?
I took a leap of faith and ordered. Welcome to Moe’s.
The toppings all looked fresh enough, so I piled them on. For my base, I chose the grilled steak, added grilled onions and peppers on top it, then went down the line all the way to fresh jalapenos. At the register, I had to ask: What was up with the names? The cashier said she thought that maybe they were from Seinfeld, but couldn’t provide any more detail than that. Unlike Viva Cheaperia, unlimited chips and salsa come free at Moe’s, so I helped myself to a few different offerings at the salsa bar. I took an extra helping of the “Who is Kaiser Salsa?” if only for the fact that it was the one pun of Moe’s I kind of understood.
Time to bite in. Body by Burrito (TM) had not led me astray — this burrito was good. The ingredients were all rolled up in perfect proportions, with plenty of meat and cheese and not too much rice. The steak came in juicy, meaty strips; the corn salsa was fresh and ever-so-slightly sweet; the guacamole rich and chunky. The hot sauces at Moe’s are somewhat bland, but an adequate amount of fresh jalapeno dice helps to give it more kick. The light, hot chips were a good complement and allowed me to scoop up some of the burrito filling when it burst through the seams.
My first trip to Moe’s was a success and I’ve been there quite a few times since. (Last week I was lucky enough to have Moe’s come directly to me at work, thanks to a certain special someone by the last name of Staples, who also was so kind as to indulge me by taking the photos you see here.) While I don’t find Moe’s burritos quite as juicy, fresh or flavorful as those at That Burrito Place, Moe’s may be the second-best burrito* joint in town. My Body by Burrito (TM) trainer disagrees. But we’ll have to do a blind taste test with Mr. Bag of Donuts and find out.
Price: “Corky” DiGioia (or, random minor Sopranos character chosen to stand in for the < $8 price range)
Hours: Sun-Th, 11am – 9pm; F-Sat, 11am – 10pm
Location: 324 Elmira Road (Route 13)