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Bicycled Burritos

Velo Burrito delivers the goods—fast!

By Jason Santerre

Somewhere in Chihuahua, Mexico sometime in the early 1900s, an unassuming culinary craftsman wrapped some meat, beans and cheese into a flour tortilla and baptized it the burrito. Over the last century, however, few foods have suffered as many gastronomic sins. From stuffing this somewhat healthy fast food with French fries to the colonel’s fried chicken, the burrito lost its way.

It took three bike messenger colleagues from Montreal to bring burritos back from the brink. Not only do T.J. Stevenson, Sarah Charrouf and Taylor Freund have cycling in common, the trio loves the burrito for its simplicity and versatility. Add a city lacking in good, fresh Mexican food available for delivery and... ¡Hola, Velo Burrito!

“All of our burritos are vegetarian, but that doesn’t mean they lack in bold flavours,” says Stevenson, a man with 10 years’ pro kitchen experience. “Plus, we make our fillings inhouse, from scratch.”

That means each tortilla is packed with an assortment of fresh guacamole, refried beans, pico de gallo (salsa), Spanish rice and a variety of mild, medium and hot sauces. “When people order hot they want hot. The intensity of our hot sauce really depends on the habanero peppers I find at the market,” says Stevenson.

This sort of dedication to flavour and freshness has created a loyal following. “It’s great getting to know your customers and their favourite flavours,” says Charrouf. “That way we build around our customers’ tastebuds.”

And just because the burritos are meatless doesn’t mean they won’t fill you up. “Ever since I stopped eating meat five years ago, I rarely feel sluggish. I can pack my body with veggie fare after a long day riding and never ever feel bogged down,” says Freund.

A touring musician, Freund became vegetarian on a dare. “I was getting sick all the time and our lead singer said go vegetarian for a month and see. Sure enough, I felt better, gained more energy and never got so much as a cold,” he says.

The real bonus behind touring across North America was discovering myriad burrito spots. “To me, the burrito is the perfect road food. And with so many flavour combinations out there, my years of touring served us well.”

Not only are no animals harmed in the operation of Velo Burrito, it’s also a green outfit since all deliveries are done via vélo (bicycle) and all supplies are transported atop two wheels, too. This means zero carbon emissions. Plus, packaging is either made from recycled materials or they’re compostable. “As a startup, we worried about the extra cost,” says Charrouf, “but we figured it was the right thing to do considering our vegetarian, low-impact mandate.”

Be sure to taste the high-impact flavours of Velo Burrito’s new menu, which includes a smoky chipotle tofu burrito plus three tacos: plantain, creamy Creole, and caramelized pineapple.

Open Thursday to Sunday from 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Call (438) 765-7868 or find them on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/veloburrito)

Fall 2013, Vol 5 N°4

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