Sometimes I think the Internet was invented only so people could chronicle their burrito-eating in bite-by-bite detail. There’s the definitive Burritophile (“It’s all in your hands”), which now boasts 2,069 reviews and counting; the San Francisco–centric Burrito Eater, which has rated 532 burritos according to its probably-not-patented 10-mustache scale; and the New England–focused Burrito Blog, which has hosted a burrito “speed eating contest.”
The burrito-blogging genre is distinguished by a hyperobsessive statistical streak, and I am happy to report that the trend has reached its apotheosis in the Burrito Bracket, an ongoing project to pair off and rank “19 cheap Mexican restaurants” in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. The Burrito Bracket is admittedly a low-energy enterprise. From the FAQ section, in answer to a query about why some taquerias aren’t included on the site, the project master states, “Probably because it isn’t close enough for me to walk to.” The Bracket also has humble beginnings:
I remember the moment that I first conceived of Burrito Bracket. It was in those halcyon days of late July, 2007. I was walking down Milwaukee Avenue, so sweaty from the 90-degree heat that my glasses kept slipping off my nose. I was a kid back then, looking for lunch in all the wrong places.
So why is this the apotheosis of the genre? A couple of reasons: 1) Burrito Bracket’s rating system is so extensive—it assesses the food and the experience along a dozen different criteria—that it may be difficult to out-detail-orient it. 2) The Burrito Bracket has impeccable statistical breeding: Its mastermind is Nate Silver, a wunderkind baseball stat-head who works for the highly influential, numbers-based publication Baseball Prospectus. Silver invented a couple of new metrics for analyzing baseball players. The question is, can he do the same for burritos?