Best flour tortilla for burrito-rolling in NYC
November 11, 2014 2:52 PM   Subscribe

Specifically, I'm looking for brand names of a great tasting flour tortilla that will go into making awesome burritos.

I'm not fond of the Mission brand, but if mefites collectively say that Mission's the best, then I will concede and head to my local grocery store. I don't much like the taste of Mission tortillas but I also find that they tend to be on the thick side, which makes burrito-rolling more cumbersome. I also really hate it when the tortilla-filling ratio is off (way too little filling and too much tortilla) which is a by product of thicker and not so pliable tortillas. I like the tortillas they use at Chipotle, but I've had no luck in finding them. I realize that a similar question has been asked here before, but I'm hoping that someone may have a suggestion for their favorite brand of tortilla.

Recently, a few good friends of mine have had babies and I wanted to make a bunch of individually wrapped frozen burritos so the new parents can have a quick meal that doesn't require a lot of fuss. I really want these to be extra tasty. I have an idea of some delicious fillings but also wanted to make sure that the tortillas will not only taste great, but be good for burrito-making.

Must haves:
• must be able to purchase in Manhattan/Brooklyn
• taste good - or at the very least, neutral
• good for rolling burritos aka pliable

Am not willing to:
• make my own tortilla (trying to make 30-40 burritos, minimally)
• go to other boroughs outside of Manhattan/Bklyn
posted by tealeaf522 to Food & Drink (19 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
good for rolling burritos aka pliable

In my experience, heating the tortilla briefly before rolling makes all the difference.
posted by pullayup at 3:03 PM on November 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Trader Joe's plain burrito sized "flour tortillas" are the closest tortillas I've commonly found for what you're looking for. They are sufficiently thin/tasteless to emulate the sort of tortillas you see at Chipotle.

A local tortilla manufacturer would likely be fresher, but I can't provide any recommendations. The especially giant sized ones that you see at Chipotle are hard to find in grocery stores, but tortilla manufacturers will often sell them at the factory in person in restaurant packaging.

And yes, heating the tortilla on a griddle is necessary to make proper burritos.
posted by saeculorum at 3:08 PM on November 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

I live far away from NYC, but I can say with confidence to stay away from Mission brand. In my experience, "good" tortillas will be packaged like this. Some kind of a Mexican flag and low rent graphic design. Those specific images are from NY tortilla factories but the good ones here in NM look basically exactly the same. Google reveals that there's a "tortilla triangle" in Brooklyn and that would seem to be the place to explore. You really, really want something local, whether you can find it at a local grocery store or have to go to the factory directly. All our grocery stores have tons of local options here but I assume NYC might be a bit different. We also used to buy ours directly from a local burrito place that made their own and sold them in bags at the counter.

And yes, heat them. For flour, the microwave is probably a little easier than a griddle, with paper towels on top and bottom to keep them from drying out.
posted by pekala at 3:16 PM on November 11, 2014

Go to your favorite burrito place, ask if you can just purchase their tortillas (I've done it – it works) or get the name of their supplier.
posted by halogen at 3:18 PM on November 11, 2014

We're in Westchester, not NYC, but as grocery stores go we find that the Guerrero brand is superior to the Mission brand and pretty widely available.
posted by Mothlight at 3:19 PM on November 11, 2014

Best answer: If you can find the guerrero brand that is uncooked, this is your best bet. I've found them in the refrigerated dairy aisle at Whole Foods in San Francisco.

Since they're pre-rolled, they're super easy to make.
posted by politikitty at 3:23 PM on November 11, 2014

Best answer: According to Serious Eats, the next best thing to homemade is TortillaLand, which you cook yourself in a skillet. I don't know who carries them in your area, but they have a store finder.
posted by O9scar at 3:39 PM on November 11, 2014 [3 favorites]

I also prefer Guererro if I'm going to buy tortillas at a store, especially since they actually make gargantuan Chipotle size tortillas (even if they're not always available in stores). But, others are correct that you really want tortillas sold at your local taco/burrito shop that aren't any brand at all. A lot of non-chain taco shops in SoCal will have tortillas for sale, which might not be the case where you are. The only downside to those is that they seem to have a shorter shelf life.
posted by LionIndex at 3:45 PM on November 11, 2014

It's worth noting that pekala's photo of tortillas is of corn tortillas, which is not what you want for burrito making.

Most of the burritos in NYC are of the San Francicso variety, whereas most of the authentic Mexican in NYC is from Mexico City, Puebla, and Oaxaca.

And, no, most taco shops in NYC don't also sell tortillas and generally aren't in a grocery/tortilleria kind of setting. And, anyway, most tacos are corn tortillas, and you want flour tortillas.

If you don't find what you want at one of the tortillerias in Bushwick or Sunset Park, I'd ask at your favorite burrito joint and see what they use/where they get it.
posted by Sara C. at 4:37 PM on November 11, 2014

Oh, Tortillaland are definitely good! If you can find them, of course. I've found them to only be spottily available even at places that carry them, and making 30-40 would take quite a while. I'm also not sure they come in true burrito size.

And yeah, those pictures are corn tortillas - don't buy those. I just meant that's the kind of packaging you're looking for, which signifies "good", and local factory means that most people won't have specific brand recommendations. On reflection, I'm thinking that burrito shops (indeed, not taco places) are probably the best bet.
posted by pekala at 5:10 PM on November 11, 2014

I'm going to second those TortillaLand tortillas if you can find them, they're delicious. On preview, thirding.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:12 PM on November 11, 2014

Yes to Tortillaland brand. I will buy nothing else
posted by murrey at 5:22 PM on November 11, 2014

Maybe this is more of a North Carolina thing, but if you can find a hispanic tienda type place, often times they will have hot fresh tortillas in a cooler or something. Nothing beats fresh tortillas. Just gotta ask around.
posted by oceanjesse at 5:41 PM on November 11, 2014

Best answer: I like the tortillas they use at Chipotle, but I've had no luck in finding them.

Sorry, just to be clear -- you had trouble finding the tortillas somewhere else or trouble finding a Chipotle? Because the Chipotle near me sells 3 flour tortillas/$1.

PS: I think your frozen burrito idea is fantastic and I'm sure the new parents are going to love them!
posted by Room 641-A at 5:51 PM on November 11, 2014

In Westchester also and I use Mission. They come in different flavors and sizes.
posted by 724A at 7:10 PM on November 11, 2014

Best answer: I've found homemade frozen burritos to work really well! Not in NYC, so I can't help directly with your question...

But... I find wrapping them in parchment paper works great... And you can use this wrapping when heating them up. From frozen, one minute in the microwave, and then like 4 minutes in a toaster oven (experiment when making them to ensure you get good reheating for yours). But the toaster oven makes for a happier experience than just microwaving them. I leave them in the wrapping when heating them up, myself.

30-40 can take up more freezer space than you'd first imagine. I have a hard time keeping 20 or so (and still having room for other stuff). Make sure the people your gifting them for have the space for them in the freezer.

I just wish I remembered the name of the place in Manhattan that I used to love that had fresh made tortillas + beans + cheese for under 1.50$; they made the tortillas right in front of you (with a machine like you'd find in texas); I bet they'd sell you just the tortillas.
posted by el io at 10:41 PM on November 11, 2014

Response by poster: Very helpful answers - thank you so much!

I wish on all things holy that I could use the Tortillaland tortillas. Unfortunately, I'd have to rent a car and go into NJ to get them (Amazon, Costco and Walmart do not sell them online).

I had no idea that Chipotle would sell their tortillas 3-for-$1! I wonder if they'd sell me a bunch or if I'll have to go to a bunch of locations...only one way to find out :)

I'll definitely pick up some tortillas at Trader Joe's and look for the Guererro brand at Whole Foods and give them a try. Maybe a little side-by-side taste test is in order. And yes, I definitely plan on steaming/warming/cooking (depending on the type of tortilla) for maximum taste and pliability.

Thank you internet friends!
posted by tealeaf522 at 9:34 AM on November 12, 2014

Best answer: Oh, I called the Chipotle and asked if they would sell me just 30 tortillas! That's when they said yes, at $1 per 3. I believe it's a standard side order. I didn't really make that part clear :)
posted by Room 641-A at 11:04 AM on November 12, 2014

For future reference, I agree with all the people saying Guerrero. It boggles the mind, how bad the flour tortilla situation is in NYC. And, yes, the flour tortilla is a legitimate Mexican food consumed in northern Mexico.

I imagine that one of these "Fresh Tortillas" establishments would also make a deal with you.

For individual home consumption, the best thing to do is get all your taco ingredients hot and ready and then heat up the tortillas one by one directly on the burner (on the fire itself). Guerrero is kind of undercooked, anyway, so it's perfect.
posted by 8603 at 4:26 PM on November 13, 2014

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