The time-honored, traditional art of making tortillas on a sizzling cast-iron comal is truly one of the defining elements of both New Mexican and Mexican cuisine.
Tortillas are a simple, round flatbread partaken with just about every meal in many a New Mexican household. They are a staple available in many New Mexican restaurants.
With the widespread availability of plastic-wrapped, store-bought pretenders, the art of kneading dough and shaping orbs for preparation on a griddle is slowly being lost.
That’s truly a shame because store-bought tortillas can’t compare in taste (and certainly not in aroma) with a tortilla just been peeled off of the comal with its robust, lightly crisped outside and soft, chewy center. The store-bought variety tends to be thin, highly processed and tastes like cardboard might.
Shirley Chavez was a tortillera in the traditional sense, a true craftsperson connected in tradition to rich, ancient cultures as far back as the advanced Mesoamerican civilizations. In 1989, she opened a small tortilla factory called Chavez Tortillas and while her product was known to be outstanding, sales were disappointing. It wasn’t until she began preparing burritos on her tortillas that her business took off. Thus was born Burritos Alinstante, a restaurant which now has a presence in Albuquerque as well as in Belen, Bosque Farms and Los Lunas.
Although the tortillas are no longer made in the old-fashioned ways, food preparation is still an in-house process. Everything on the menu is made fresh daily from scratch. Place your order and almost in an instant, your burrito will be ready for you.
The menu offers twelve burrito choices plus the breakfast burrito and build your own options. You can have your burritos smothered in red or green chile or hand-held with the chile inside. Combination plates include beans (prepared with lard for that wonderfully authentic New Mexican taste) and Spanish rice.
The chile isn’t particularly piquant (but it is very tasty). In fact it’s almost tepid if you like your chile incendiary. Our early favorite is the chicharonnes burrito made with crackling pork fat (not that Texas aberration made with tripe-like pork strips). It is a prodigious burrito with a good taste.
The salsa at Burritos Alinstante packs plenty of punch with a slightly sweet but definitely piquant taste. The guacamole has that rich, buttery taste aficionados love.
2101 Broadway, S.E.
LATEST VISIT: 8 March 2006
# OF VISITS: 2
BEST BET: Chicharones Burrito, Salsa and chips, Guacamole