I’m here to shout loudly and proclaim one thing, and one thing only. Today, Nov. 28 of the year 2017, is officially the beginning of the Burrito Mafia. I even made these special pins (see below), with the help of fellow burrito mafioso Stephen Kersh, to signal you are now a member. Check them out here.
I assume that approximately 99.972% of you just thought, “What the shit is a Burrito Mafia.” Well, buckle up because I am gonna tell you a story and then talk about burritos and then circle back to answer your very reasonable and fair question about what the Burrito Mafia is. It’s going to be a wild ride. I’m so excited to share this with you.
Here’s some context for the story I am gonna tell: When I was going to the University of Portland, every Friday for approximately 3.5 years, my teammates and I would run hard workouts, and then between 4 and 20 of us would pile into cars and we’d all go to a Mexican food establishment called Boulevard Tacos. Quick aside: our trips to Boulevard were by no means limited to Fridays, although the Friday trips are of the greatest import for this particular thing that I am sharing. So, anyways, multiple times a semester, my mom would check my debit card statements and immediately texted me to ask if I was indeed eating at Boulevard 3+ times a week. I was spending so much money and going so Boulevard so frequently, that my mom thought that my debit card information had been stolen and I was getting scammed by this place. I wasn’t. She wasn’t psyched.
Ok, this is a very, very special place for the obvious reason that they sold Mexican food and also for less obvious sentimental reasons. I’m going to tell you a quick story about Boulevard now. It was a Thursday and usually I had night class on Thursdays, but this particular night, a crazy ice-storm blizzard rolled into Portland and everything got cancelled. Like, the whole city shut down and people stopped leaving their homes. Now, being the adventurous and brave young vaqueros that we were, the three amigos and I decided that the blizzard could suck a huevo, so we drove through the snow to Boulevard. We ordered our burritos (a chicken Azteca burrito with a chile relleno inside of it, as it were) and we sat at the bar where we watched the emails about the next day’s classes being canceled pop up on our phones. We proceeded to drink Coronas and mojitos and margaritas and eventually we just started taking shots of bottom shelf tequila with our bartender friend, Leo, who stopped charging us and started partaking in our Ice Storm Party. Anyways, we were there for, like, 7 hours and were far too drunk to drive home. Leo, being the saint that he is, offers up THE FREAKING UPSTAIRS APARTMENT FOR US TO CRASH IN. He invited us to a sleep over. An adult Mexican Food sleep over. We declined, which is something I regret with every fiber of my being to this very day. Despite our rejection of Leo’s generous and heartwarming offer to sleep above the bar, with him and whoever else was working that night, we continued to drink with Leo before eventually walking home with cans of Tecate, for the road, in our pockets (Leo was not particularly interested in following the Oregon State Liquor rules). We had racked up a bill that should have been approximately $175 each, but was actually only about $18 including a generous tip because Leo was now one of our best friends and best friends hook each other up and also because Mexican food establishments do not abide by the laws of our economy. That was the night that we knew that we had a second home at Boulevard and the night that I decided that I would lie down in traffic to save Leo or Boulevard from harm. That’s the type of place that Boulevard was, it was a place that you could go to for a burrito and end up making a best good friend who invites you to a sleep over. It is very special.
Now that you’ve heard about why Boulevard is a special place, let me tell you why Boulevard is actually the most special place. Ok, so like I said earlier, we went to Boulevard every single Friday. It was a whole team thing. We made sure that every single person who wanted to come had a ride and then we all ordered burritos and ate this food of the gods together. We stuffed our mouths and shared each other’s company and we became just the best friends in this little Mexican Place. We shot the shit about anything and everything, mostly freshman would ask upperclassmen about girls, and the upperclassmen would do their best to give good advice but actually gave super bad advice, because girls were, and remain, a Rubik’s Cube that can only be operated while wearing at least 3 pairs of Chinese finger traps while suspended upside down in a pool of water. We talked about important stuff that people were going through and we talked about stupid shit. We all bonded in ways that I can’t really articulate. Sometimes alums who lived nearby would even swing through and they would join in as we all partook in ingesting the best food in the entirety of the cosmos (which is an undisputable title bestowed on the Mexican food community by God himself). We just sat there and made silly jokes and had a weekly multi-generational fiesta. That’s why Mexican food, and Boulevard, became the most special thing in the world to me. It’s also one of the reasons that the burrito thing started. It started because I spent a shit ton of time with my best friends, with burritos in front of all of us. I love burritos because they are the single greatest combination of ingredients ever thought of by humans and because they were, and still are, a form of social lubrication (social lubrication is a term I thought of a while ago and I like it very much because it’s kinda gross but also funny and super apt. I think I am gonna use it a lot going forward in life).
The next thing that happened that set us on a path to where we are now, is that I started tweeting about Mexican food and the thing that happened after that, is that people started responding positively to my silly tweets. The very earliest versions of the burrito appreciation tweets, which now make up the lion share of my social media content, were less about burritos (I mean, they were super about burritos), and more about how people took themselves too seriously and posted really boring stuff on the interwebs. I was tweeting about burritos in the same way that other people tweeted about buying a shirt or something else stupid that people who take themselves too seriously tweeted about. IT WAS ALL A JOKE AND LOOK WHAT WE’VE BECOME!!!! I am not sure if people started favoriting my tweets because they understood that it was a joke, or because they understood the ontological certainty that Mexican food is something that, by some beautiful theological mistake, fell directly from heaven and into the hands of a few blessed individuals who have passed their secrets down and helped Mexican food earn its rightful place as the undisputed best food that a person on earth can buy. Either way, I tried to keep my Mexican food social media content light hearted and just generally spread the good word of burrito to others. Then, this other thing happened where I got pretty good at running and more people started caring about what I was tweeting. I obviously kept tweeting about Mexican food, and so people started sharing their Mexican food related social media content with me, which is my proudest accomplishment of all time.
Here we are, I tweet silly burrito jokes out to you guys, and some of you guys tweet very cool and special and perfect burrito pictures back at me and it’s a big huge silly community made up of burrito people. This is how the Burrito Mafia was born. The Burrito Mafia is a group of people who love burritos and share that love with one another, mainly over the interwebs but also in person. But, the Burrito Mafia is more than that too. The qualities of the Burrito Mafia, not coincidentally, mimic that of a burrito.
Going on a tangent here. Hang in there, you guys.
Let’s all think about what a burrito is, ok? First, and most importantly, it has a tortilla. No tortilla, no burrito. Some people may say, “but Scott, what about a BURRITO bowl?” Bowls are not burritos, they’re god damn salads. That’s ok, you can eat salad, I eat salad sometimes. But I don’t sully the reputation of burritos by lumping salads in with them. Get yourself a tortilla blanket for your food if you want to call it a burrito. So, that’s the outside part of the burrito. Now, let’s move inwards because we all know that it’s what’s inside that matters most, except for the tortilla, the tortilla is very important. Here’s where it get’s fun because you’ve got so many options. Like, really an astounding amount of options! You want beans? Cool, black beans, pinto beans, or refried beans? Rice? Yep, lets throw some of that in there too. How about some type of meat? Nice, we’ve got chicken, beef, pork, fish, or shrimp, and if that’s not enough you can choose what part of the animal you want to eat. You can choose head, tongue, intestines or some other amazing shit that I can’t think of right now! If meat isn’t your thing, we’ve got some options for you too. You want veggies, fajitas, maybe a chile relleno? That’s cool, it’s your burrito, do you homie! If that ain’t enough for you, let me talk to you about salsas. Salsas are so dope because they can go inside OR outside of your burrito! And, finally, let’s not forget about the grease. The grease of a burrito is a super underrated aspect of your Mexican food. Grease comes off of ingredients like meat and combines with your salsa to soak into the tortilla and rice and, in doing so, explode your burrito into outer space while simultaneously punching every other non-mexican food item in the nose and stepping on their head to propel the burrito higher still. That’s what grease does. It takes all the ingredients and makes them gel together in a way that is a kagillion times greater than the sum of their parts. I am not a mathematician, but I think if you added it all up, there are like 17 gazillion different burrito combinations and they’re all better than the next best food.
Alright guys, let’s bring it all back together now. The Burrito Mafia is the embodiment of all the amazing things about a burrito. We’re like the tortilla because we support the shit out of one another just like how the tortilla supports the burrito filling. We support one another in both our Mexican food endeavors, and just generally, as we all make our way through life on this pale blue dot sailing around the universe. We are diverse, just like the inside of a burrito. We will not exclude any members based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or any other super stupid shit that people get excluded from groups for. The only membership requirement is being a delicious piece of the larger group, and I promise you that you are a delicious human person whether you identify as a refried bean, a piece of cheese, or a chunk of pollo. And finally, we are the grease. The Burrito Mafia takes the power of each person individually and gels them together thereby taking the entire group from a few burrito loving people, to a super perfect group of amigos and amigas who send good vibes to each other the way Amazon sends me 1,000,000 emails every hour. But, like, we’re super inspiring instead of super annoying.
Ok, let’s tie this shit up. Burritos became super special to me because they’re the single most perfect food ever created in the history of every galaxy ever. But, more importantly, because of the context in which they were generally eaten. With friends, supporting each other and laughing together in a special place called Boulevard Tacos. They’re special because they’re a social lubrication (Still gross, still funny to me, still apt). That’s why we’re starting the Burrito Mafia. We’re taking Boulevard Tacos, and we’re expanding it outwards for a million miles in every direction to encompass burrito minded individuals who are down to support the shit out of each other and build each other up. The only requirements are a love for burritos and sending good vibes to your fellow mafiosos. That’s what these pins represent, they’re badges that can be adhered to your objects of choice that say to everyone, “I am part of a community of people who support each other and send good vibes across space and time. And also, we love burritos. God damn it, do we love burritos.”