Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday Munchies - Baja Fresh's Nacho Burrito

I'll never forget my first trip to Baja Fresh.  It was Friday September 21st, 2003.  I know this because it was the season premiere of Ed a show that's very near and dear to my heart.

I know this because I missed the beginning of the episode because my roommate at the time was completely distracted by the salsa and pepper bar.

Let me explain.

First let me back up a bit.  The first time I heard of Baja Fresh was when I was lamenting the lack of good Mexican food in Baltimore.  Now this was back in 2003, before there were places that catered to the growing latino population of the city.  Back then, the best you could really hope for in the city were "tex mex" places that didn't really cut it.

So I was at work, vocally lamenting the lack of good eateries when a coworker asked if I'd been to Baja Fresh.  I'd never heard of the place to so I asked her to tell me more, which she did.  She gave it glowing praise and as someone I trusted, I gave her words weight.

I go home and tell the roommate about Baja Fresh and suggest we should check it out, since the roommate being a transplant from the West (she's from Cali) was always on the lookout for a better Mexican option.  She'd also heard of it and was equally intrigued.

We do a little bit of research and find out that this mythical place is in Timonium.  Not exactly close, but not too far.

Boom. We both have have Friday September 21st, 2003 off so we can catch the season premiere of the delightful show Ed.  We've been waiting the entire summer to find out what's going to happen with Ed and Carol and everyone else in Stuckeyville.  We figure we can make an event out of it by going to Baja Fresh and getting some good food to go with the viewing experience.  It sounds perfect.

Except that once we get there we are overwhelmed.  The menu is amazing and everything looks good.  We essentially order one of everything.  Our bill is right around $60, for two people, at Baja Fresh.  We were ordering like two cliched high characters on a tv show.  But we weren't under any sort of influence, we were just awed by the spectacular menu options.

So, I'll take my part of the blame.  I ordered too much food, which took longer than we anticipated.  But after we have the food, not while we're waiting for it, the roommate decides to attack the condiment bar.  Again, she's getting one of everything.  She's got at least six different containers of various salsas and peppers.  She's the one holding us up.

We get home in time to catch the opening theme to Ed.  We miss the moment we'd been waiting the entire summer to witness.  I was less than happy.

Fast forward to our time in Vegas and there's a Baja Fresh right across the street from my place of employment.  Literally across the street.  And that Baja Fresh becomes part of my Monday routine.

Monday is my "Saturday" because I'm off on Tuesday and Wednesday.  So I leave work on Monday, pick up my Nacho Burrito and hop on the bus home.  I get home, get comfortable and dig in.  My first bite of my Nacho  Burrito is like my first taste of freedom, because I don't have to do anything for the next two days.

And I do this virtually every Monday.

Flash forward further and I'm back in Baltimore.  I haven't had Baja Fresh in years and I genuinely miss it.  Chipolte and Qdoba are merely adequate, but barely satisfy my burrito desires.

And then I discover a coworker who live near the Timonium Baja Fresh.  My prayers are answered.

She brings me a Nacho Burrito and it's just as I remembered it. It's heft and girth. It's full of goodness.

I dig the mix of Jack and Cheddar cheese and how they balance out the plentiful jalapenos.  I love how the Queso Fundido and Salsa Crema mix in with the rice and beans.  And that's not even getting into the crunch or the chicken.  It's the way that everything mixes together in that tortilla to create such a satisfying experience.  The Nacho Burrito is so much more than just the sum of it's ingredients.

Simply put; the Nacho Burrito is one of my favorite menu items anywhere.

And now it's back in my life and I've never been happier.  

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