Thursday 16 December 2010

Microsoft Burrito 2010 Professional

2 subjects. Microsoft and burritos. Who knew they could be so intertwined.

Well they aren't really, but they are the 2 main things I have to report on. I'll start with burritos. Burritos are always a good start.

So I was massively ill over the weekend. Like whoa, this is not right. First the reason for the illness (what does this have to do with burritos, I hear you murmuring). Last Friday we had our company Christmas party. Now our Christmas and Summer parties consist of a day of lectures on how awesome we all are followed by much partying and food and alcohol. It's a winning combination most of the time. Friday though, was not one of those times. I was already uncomfortable finding out that this year our conference was to be held 4 floors underground. Yay. No daylight then. But the real problem was it was so stuffy. Add to that workaholic consultants who MUST get to the conference even if it means infecting half the company with whatever disease they have, and you end up with.... half the company infected with some strange disease. So that knocked me out all weekend. Which meant I had to take Monday off. But by Monday I was able to walk again, so I walked to... The Flying Burrito :D

It was closer to my flat than I thought, and a worthy alternative to Burro Burrito which sucks. Now if only it opened more often.

What did I think? Meh, it's not going to take away Chipotle or Chilango's joint crown any time soon, but it's better than a lot of other places. Just a middle of the road kind of place. Lovely service though, and they have a loyalty card which is a bonus...

On Tuesday I went to Chipotle for my reference to be recalibrated. This is recommended after trying a new burrito, lest you forget how a burrito should taste. This time though, it was particularly tasty, not because it was any better made (actually slightly worse, had a containment failure due to defective tortilla), but because it was FREE! Yes, another FREE burrito courtesy of Chipotle. Now tell me, how can you possibly beat that? I'm going to have to sell out to the corporation and rank Chipotle above Chilango if they keep this up!

Now what does this have to do with Microsoft? Well, very little. The similarity is limited to the immense disappointment I feel when a new burrito place isn't up to scratch. I've felt this way lately about a number of Microsoft products. Here's a list of recent issues I've had.

1. Microsoft never used to support Exchange ActiveSync on hotmail. This prevented me from switching to iPhone or Android. They have since introduced this.
2. Windows Phone 7. What a pile of poo. What's worse is that Windows Phone 7 is also their official solution to the problem of Windows Mobile Device Center not working with 64-bit Outlook, knobbling my Windows Mobile 6.5 too. Apparently I should just get Windows Phone 7 which works through Zune instead. Except it's rubbish.
3. Hotmail has become all weird and difficult to use.
4. MSN changed the messenger smileyes and plastered adverts everywhere.
5. SharePoint 2010 is a pile of poo.
6. Hyper-V. Don't even get me started.

It's almost like Microsoft is trying to make their products look as shiny as Apple stuff but without making any of it work. Guys, you can't polish a turd, so either stop turning out turds in the first place or start selling them as turds so people aren't confused and disappointed.

I bet none of this post makes sense. Oh well...

Snowboarding next week. Wheeee! :D

Thursday 9 December 2010

Burrito Win!

Finally... after much failing of burrito, a burrito win!


I've been waiting for some time to try Burrito Bros. The place is in a really inconvenient location for me personally, being neither here (work) nor there (home). So yesterday I went there especially, having already satisfied myself with a Chipotle for lunch.

At first I was rather worried by the place. It had steamed up windows and no atmosphere at all. There were 2 staff there, neither of whom were smiling, and my attempts at making conversation felt wasted. I ordered the burrito and every time I asked for something (I kind of know my burritos and know what I want, plus for the purpose of reviews I always have the same type to keep it fair), but I guess the guy at the counter was new as he kept asking me again to make sure.

It took him a while to construct my burrito, but never before have I seen such care taken in burrito construction. The result was a perfectly wrapped specimen, but this brought me to my 2nd worry; he'd taken so long wrapping it that I was worried it would be cold.

As I was eating in, they suggested I go downstairs to the seating area rather than sit at the counter upstairs. This was my first surprise. There were actually people down there, enjoying conversation. The barren upstairs counter area was actually hiding a nice little seating area below.

I then unwrapped the burrito and took my first bite. And it was good. Not only was it good, but each subsequent bite was somehow better, which isn't always the case with a burrito. This one was very flavoursome, and although it had a flavour different to any other burrito I've had. As I finished my burrito, I was in no doubt that Burrito Bros has made it into my top 3 burrito places in London (though not quite as good as Chilango or Chipotle).

So I am not sure what the 1-star and 2-star reviews are on about really. Perhaps they were written when it was new and still experiencing teething troubles. Who knows. This little place is great in my opinion :)

Burrito Bros, I salute you!

Monday 6 December 2010

Burritos and the Grid.

I haven't posted for a while (again). This is mainly because I've been writing reviews on instead of on my blog (where nobody reads it anyway).

But I recently found another burrito blogger at who largely comes to the same conclusions as me. Awesome :D

I think I should try and organise a burrito festival of some kind. Battle of the burritos, if you will...

Last week I had a Benito's Hat that was an epic fail. It was almost as bad as my recent Mexicali burrito, which was awful. I am not sure what went wrong, but it's put me off going there for a while. Damn shame :(

But not too much of a shame, for recently a new burrito place has opened near work (yes, another one). It's called Adobo, and I tried it this afternoon. Mark, one of the owners, seems very keen to hear what people think. He's had some good feedback, and he's had some constructive criticism from me too. Here's pretty much what Jason and I told him:

0. The guacamole is excellent and deserves praise. At 70p I think they have the price right too (even if I still think it should be free on principle).
1. My meat (chicken) was a bit dry. I suspect that this is because they don't have the same level of customer throughput as other places, due to having just opened. Jason's (beef) was better.
2. The staff could do with some training on how to wrap a burrito. It was a bit too wide and could be packed tighter. It would be fantastic if they were genuine burrito lovers, which the staff at Chipotle appear to be.
3. The rice was slightly undercooked. Note here that although I thought this was a negative, Jason really liked it.
4. They could do with having some sauces available to sprinkle over the burritos. Mark informed me that they would be getting bottles of cholula, and that Tabasco sauces are insanely expensive.
5. There should be a 'queue here' sign next to the counter. The reason for this is that the counter takes up too much space, and the queue starts from the wrong end. This will be problematic for them in the summer when the queue stretches outside the shop, which it will, even if they don't improve. Appreciate that there's not a lot they can do about this due to the layout of the restaurant...
6. The lettuce didn't appear to be as fresh as the likes of Chilango, Chipotle and Benito's.

Overall I liked the place, but the burrito itself could do with improvement. More succulent meat, slightly more potent chili sauce (I had medium but it tasted bland to me) and better rice would make Adobo fantastic. Actually the availability of adobo sauce to sprinkle would be nice too.
The fact that they intend to start serving gourmet coffee using the same beans as those used by Taylor Street Baristas is also very good news. I wish them every success in their venture.

Here is my current ranking:

1. Chilango - Chill and go :)
2. Chipotle - If BMW made Burritos, they would be Chipotles.
3. Adobo - See review above
3. Benito's Hat - Down from rank 1 after my recent Burrito catastrophe at the Covent Garden branch.
5. Tortilla - They are rapidly expanding so they must be doing something right!
6. Daddy Donkey - Sadly no longer the daddy of donkeys.
6. El Burrito - Given that this place is run by Mestizo, it should be much higher in the list!
8. Mas Burritos - The problem with these is that they aren't mas. They are really stingy on fillings :(
9. 1910 Mexican Kitchen
10. Burro Burrito - Tastes like a Staedtler eraser.
11. Mexicali - I didn't think it was possible to make a burrito worse than 1910, but Mexicali and Burro Burrito both manage it, and then some.

Oh and I saw TRON Legacy on Saturday at the Empire Leicester Square. OMG! It was fantastic! Can't wait for the official release so I can go and see it again! The Empire 3D system (Dolby Digital 3D) is leagues ahead of the regular RealD 3D System most cinemas have. Great stuff :)