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The Tyranny of Choice: Which Tortilla Makes the Best Freebirds Burrito

Freebirds World Burrito on Cayenne Tortilla
Freebirds World Burrito on Cayenne Tortilla
Photo by Joanna O'Leary

I love the selection of burrito fillings at Freebirds World Burrito. I love that there's white as well as red onions, three types of beans (black, refried, pinto) and a plethora of salsas. I enjoy mixing and matching and trying out new flavor combinations. Makes me feel like I'm cooking for myself rather than getting takeout.

"Way More Choices At Freebirds"? Works for me. Well, with one exception: the tortilla.

When asked if I want spinach, flour, cayenne or wheat, I get completely flummoxed. This is particularly awkward because selecting a tortilla (after naming your size burrito) is the second of many, many decisions you have to make in the construction of your burrito. I know my blank stare and stuttering speech this early in the process unnerves whatever staff member is serving me and I can tell they're already wary that I might be that irritating customer known as Ira Indecisive.

When I went through my "nothing but whole grains" stage, choosing a tortilla wasn't a problem. "Wheat!" I always answered swiftly. This phase came to an abrupt end after I came back from Europe with a renewed appreciation for white flour. So then I would change it up by sometimes ordering the flour tortilla and, if I felt like I hadn't fulfilled my daily vegetable quota, occasionally the spinach (purposefully ignoring the fact that its additional nutritional value is marginal). Most recently, I tried the cayenne tortilla, which, BTW, is actually fairly spicy, so consider adding some sour cream to balance the heat.

My uneasy conclusion after all this experimentation is that I pretty much like all the tortilla flavors. This equal affection (or indifference?), however, is what paralyzes me when it comes down to choosing a favorite for that particular Freebirds visit. Furthermore, because I usually do feel strongly about what meat I want, I become even more confused when I start to consider the best tortilla complement. Would flour with chicken be terribly bland? Is spinach and steak just wrong? Cayenne and carnitas: a match made in heaven or overkill on the seasoning?

I have neither the time nor the money nor the patience to taste-test every single different possible mixture of tortilla and burrito fillings. The combinations make me dizzy and if I've calculated correctly, there are 30,421,755. But I might have messed up some of the factorials; also, this number is assuming I only choose one type of lettuce, salsa, sauce, etc. Still, yikes.

Readers, any recommendations for terrific tortilla-and-filling combinations? Do you have any tried-and-true rules when it comes to pairing tortillas with certain meats?


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