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March 25, 2004 - Image 16

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-03-25

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4B - The Michigan Daily - Weekend Miazie - Thursday, March 25, 2004

The Michigan Daily - Weekend llagazi

Pancheros's burrito reigns king


By Dan Adams
Daily Arts Writer
Some people eat until they are full. I, on the
other hand, choose to eat until I hurt. Though sat-
isfying, this habit of eating past the point of safe-
ty can get expensive. And though an economical
meal option, fast food can and does hurt people.
From the general malaise that follows any trip to
McDonalds, to certain death at the hands of a
blood clot made out of chicken fat, fast food is a
guilty pleasure that one should partake in at his
or her own risk.
But for those who still need to eat until they
don't feel good and want to do it at cut-rate
prices, a fine dining experience can easily be had
at any one of the local restaurants that specialize
in giant, fast and cheap burritos. Pancheros on
South University Avenue was one of the first such
establishments to take root in Ann Arbor, and its
enormous two-pound burritos were a hit among
binge eaters. However, with the addition of
Qdoba on Main Street and Big Ten Burrito on
South State Street, the burrito market in Ann
Arbor suddenly has two new contenders vying for
the title of Ann Arbor's best fast burrito.
Though each restaurant boasts authentic
Mexican fare, this Midwestern reviewer would-
n't know authentic Mexican food from Taco Bell.
So, for the purposes of this review, each restau-
rant will be evaluated based on the things that
really matter: variety of ingredients, quality of
ingredients, convenience and overall taste of the
finished product.
We'll start with the reigning champion,
Pancheros at 1208 S. University Ave. Pancheros
boasts two behemoth offerings: the basic burrito,
and the infamous "El Gordo." The Gordo isn't for
the faint of heart; concealed within a warm,
chewy tortilla lies nearly two pounds of grilled
meat or veggies, cheese, lettuce, salsa and your

choice of black or pinto beans. While other restau-
rants fish their tortillas out of a bag, the beginning
of life for every Pancheros burrito begins with
dough being slapped onto a press and cooked
through. Good enough to eat plain, their texture
helps to keep the whole mess together as you force
the last seven bites down your throat. Pancheros's
stands out in the salsa department too, offering
two varieties of homemade salsa and fresh pico de
gallo. The hot is spicy enough to burn; the mild,
flavorful enough to justify.
Despite being located several miles off cam-
pus, Qdoba at 2252 S. Main St. has managed to
build an impressive reputation for itself in a short
period of time. Clearly, Qdoba benefits from its
size as a company (stores in 23' states), as it is
able to offer a great deal more variety than its
competitors. It starts with the rice, which is not
only infused with a bit of lime, but also is liberal-
ly sprinkled with cilantro. Qdoba offers not just
the basic chicken, steak and veggie, but also mole
chicken, shredded beef and ground beef burritos.
For cheese lovers, Qdoba has simple shredded
cheese, as well as a spicy melted cheese sauce,
which adds not only flavor, but a different texture
to the burrito. Five different salsas give customers
plenty of options when choosing their own gas-
trointestinal adventure. The downside? An out-of-
the way location and limited hours of operation
limit student accessibility.
Last, the new guys: Big Ten Burrito located
next to Mr. Spots on State Street. The dynamic
duo that started this establishment have walked
into an as-of-yet untapped gold mine - the stu-
dent ghetto, an area filled with alcoholic insomni-
acs eager for a late-night break from Jimmy Johns
and lukewarm Bell's slices.
Convenience here is tops. Sales tax is includ-
ed in the price of the burrito, so there are no
complicated choices to make - just point to the
burrito you wish to consume, and hand the nice

Al ,


Pancheros wins the competition for its delicious and distinct taste, convenient location and late-night

This semester, I'm taking an art
interpretation class. Grades are
based solely on quiz and exam
performances, and to make matters
worse, the professor has a sadistic
nature. He enjoys watching the girls
sob and boys develop ulcers, so he asks
obscure and peculiar questions, often
with little or no connection to the class.
In the midterm, the essay question
asked for a recipe for Vincent Van
Gogh's homemade brand of absinthe,
and an approximate amount he drank
the night he cut off his ear. Extra credit
was offered to anyone who knew the
name of the prostitute to whom he sent
the ear afterwards.
He has already told us that a signifi-
cant theme in the final will be describ-
ing the emotion in various works of art.
He's suggested that we practice inter-
pretations of paintings and photographs
by observing the subject and attempt-

ing to predict his/her thoughts.
These can be interesting, and
because of my inherent laziness, I've
decided to kill two boys with one
stone and use my space this week to
practice describing the thoughts of
people in paintings and photos we all
know and love.
For the first example, consider the
portrait of President Lincoln on the
new five dollar bill. I interpret this to be
one of the few times he removed that
hat to publicly reveal his remarkably
hip-looking hair style. He doesn't care
that his ear extends from above his eyes
basically to his mouth; he's loving
every minute of it. Looks kind of smug,
doesn't he? Kind of like "That's right
bitch, I'm onthe five. And don't even
pretend you ain't been to my memori-
al." I imagine he's smirking at a group
of women behind the painter, as if to
say, "Could I interest any of you ladies

in an Abraham sandwich?"
Next, there's the classic Van Gogh
painting "The Scream." In this
famous impressionist piece, a person
dressed in black stands on a pier over-
looking a sunset above the water,
screaming, hands clasped to the sides
of his face. I think the strongest emo-
tion conveyed in the painting is one of
anguish, and I'd argue that the subject
represents a child left behind by his
parents. Perhaps they had an upcom-
ing trip to Florida, and in the madness
of organizing a large family's vaca-
tion, mistakenly left him in the attic. It
seems as though after having tried an
especially strong aftershave for the
first time, the child's physical pain
acts as an illustration of his deep feel-
ings of abandonment. In the corner,
two dark figures approach, the taller
of whom bears a strange resemblance
to actor Daniel Stern.

To examine a famous photogra:
we're all familiar with, one that mar
of you undoubtedly have in post<
form, take a look at the cover of ti
Beatles' "Abbey Road." For those wl:
don't know, that's the one where th
four band members are crossing ti
street outside their London studio, a
in mid-stride. George Harrison, at tI
back of the line is thinking, "Why doe
John make us walk single file lik
this?" Paul McCartney thinks, "Wt
the hell put Ringo in front of me?
mean, come on. Yellow Submarine
Somebody get me a damn silver han
mer." John Lennon has simply turne
off his mind to relax and float dowt
stream, and Ringo thinks, "Wow. John
really letting himself go. He's startir
to look like Saturday Night Fever sta
ing the Teen Wolf."
Another photograph we've all grov
fond of is that wonderful Nick Nol

men your paper money. They will not give you
complicated metal money back. The ingredients
are quality - fresh guacamole, hot sauce and
grilled meats, just like the other two establish-
ments. However, the flagship burrito, the
"Grande," is what really stands out here. Too big
for just one tortilla, this gargantuan burrito needs
two, yes two, tortillas to keep all the good stuff
from busting out.
The winner? The competition was tight, with
each store bringing to the table strong offerings
and high standards of service and quality. Qdoba
clearly fields the finest burrito. The flavor is
complex, and the ingredients are of surprising
quality given the size of the company. However,
despite providing a superior finished product,
Qdoba can't match the hours or the location of
its on-campus competitors. Big Ten Burrito has
arguably the most convenient late-night food
option in Ann Arbor and again, quality ingredi-
ents, most of which are made in-house. But when
put together, the sum of the parts can fall just
short of perfection. It's difficult to isolate any

one of the otherwise delicious individual ingre-
dients in its burritos, making it hard to appreci-
ate the flavor of the product. Intensely flavored
ingredients combine to form a delicious, yet
muddled composition overall.
By a nose, Pancheros remains king. Its salsas
and sauces are spicy yet delicate, their meats and
beans sweet and salty. Overall, its burritos stand
out as having the best combination of flavor and
subtlety, and are large enough to satisfy all but
the most legendary of eaters. Wonderful home-
made tortillas only help seal the deal. Panchero's
is also open late - until 3 a.m. every night but
Sunday - and is located within walking dis-
tance from most areas of Central Campus.
Though finishing second to Qdoba in burrito
quality and second to Big Ten Burrito in conven-
ience, Panchero's tops them both overall, taking
the day with the best combination of quality and
convenience. But with so little separating these
near-giants in the Ann Arbor food service indus-
try, readers are advised to try them all and see for
themselves. Teach your stomach a lesson.

University of Michigan

/ ...5 .,

University of Michigan
50'h Anniversary Commemoration
h l~OARD


Tiskets at the deer .r
il MUTM 134 13-tkts
14 iearal, 55 stsd ent
Per mere Info visit:

Beverly Daniel Tatum
President of Spelman College
Gary Orfield
Co-Director of the Harvard Civil Rights Project
A conversation about the issues of race and
public education in the United States today
Thursday, March 25, 7:30 pm
Rackham Auditorium
915 East Washington Street
http://www.umich.edu/brown50 http://www.aareads.org
Sign Language Interpreter provided

Continuedfrom Page 3B
maybe a melody or a rhythm. If I'm
lucky, that little fragment will inspire
another, the new material inspires
another little bit, and so on until the
tune is finished. If a tune doesn't natu-
rally flow out that way, I have to really
think hard technically about how it
could work and what it needs next."
Although Kittel has played at many
prestigious venues, such as the
Kennedy Center and at Hill Auditorium
for "A Prairie Home Companion," he
doesn't necessarily prefer those per-
formances to the smaller ones.
"Musically, the most fun gigs are
usually not the most glamorous gigs.
The best musical experiences tend to
occur in smaller situations or when
I've had time to really put a lot into the
music and practice for it."
Kittel describes performing on stage
as natural, even in front of large audi-
ences. "I really love making that con-
nection with an audience, and really
feeling them enjoy it, and bringing
everybody together," he said.
Kittel's big upcoming performance
is at 7:30 p.m. May 2nd at The Ark.
The student ticket price is $10 with ID.
Information can be found at
As for the future, Kittel plans to be
based in Ann Arbor for the next year.
"I really want to perform for a while. I
want that to be my focus for many
years to come. That's what I really
want to go after right now."

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