At Docker, we are lucky to be able to spend time exploring San Francisco, one of the world’s great cities in terms of culture, architecture and, of course, burritos. Forget about crabs or sourdough, what San Francisco does best is the burrito, that noble combination of beans, meat, cheese, salsa, and love, all in a convenient wrapper that let’s you eat it one-handed. And. like the City itself, the burrito is incredibly diverse. Do you prefer black beans or pintos? Are you a carnivore who craves the al pastor and the carne asada, or do you seek out the elusive perfect chile relleno burrito (the turducken of Mexico)?
So many options, so many questions. As an engineer-driven company, we needed to know the optimal solution. We had to know where to find the City’s finest burrito.
And so it came to be that Burrito Quest was born. We decided that once a month we would walk to another potential purveyor of the perfect burrito. In order to build a comprehensive test harness, we decided that each user would pursue their own story, be it a simple pollo or a bold lengua. or even a chili relleno. I myself went with a baseline carne asada. Based on a wide range of criteria—texture, flavor, distribution of ingredients, structural integrity, value—we would assign a 1-10 value to our dining experience.
In order to make it a proper Quest, it was determined that we had to trek to our burritos, even if this meant hiking an hour or more through potentially dangerous terrain (i.e., hilly and bar-strewn). We wanted to earn the calories and arrive motivated.
With a methodology and test suite developed, we set out for our first objective, Taqueria San Francisco, appropriately enough. We got lucky on our hike from Docker World HQ in that SF’s ubiquitous summer fog burned off enough to glimpse the sun and let us enjoy some of the City’s architecture.
After three miles or so, and a few stops to bicker about the best route to take, we arrived in the Mission.The taqueria has a lovely mural on the outside wall, and the inside was clean and bright and not at all new. There were a few construction workers and other neighborhood folk waiting in a short line when we got there, but it moved quickly. In our zeal to spread our test coverage widely, we chose a number of different burritos, and some guacamole, as an outlier.
Surprisingly, for a group of opinionated tech nerds, we came to a ready consensus: good, but not great, scoring a solid 7.07 out of 10 awesomeness points. Highlights included the chile relleno burrito (“My god, this is epic” sighed the delighted tester) and the rice, which had a lovely smoky flavor. Downsides were a greasy al pastor with off-flavors and a lengua with way too much meat. I mean, tongue is delicious, but there is such a thing as too much tongue. Service was fast and not overly friendly (perfect for nerdy introverts). The burritos were large and filling and an excellent bargain for this pricy town.
Overall, it was a solid start to our Quest: a good hike and some good food. The team is looking forward to the next challenge. But where should we go? Please help us out and leave us a comment below with your favorite SF burrito joint. We’ll report back. In the meantime, look for a Github repo with our test suite soon.
Note: after the composition of this post, I became aware of Nate Silver and 538’s recent work on burrito testing. We’ll be addressing that in a future post.