I just assume everyone else anthropomorphizes their cars. My chariot, the Korean rocket (she’ll also answer to Rocky and K-Rock) knows me pretty well. So when it’s time to go food exploring, I just hold the wheel and let her sniff out a place. If my travels with Rocky were a television show, it would be a cross between Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown and Herbie the Love Bug. And I’d dress like I was on safari.
She recently took me and a lunch guest down White Settlement Road (I think she was smitten with a red Honda Civic and followed it), where we stumbled upon Burgitos (5101 White Settlement Rd.). As the name suggests, the place specializes in both burgers and Mexican fare, a combination I’m seeing more of these day (“Tex-Mex-i-burger Treats”, March 2014). It’s set in a ramshackle stand-alone building, with chalk paint on the windows promising burgers, burritos, onion rings, and fries.
Inside, it looks like the restaurant time forgot, with warped tables, standard-issue restaurant chairs from the 1980s, cracked leather booths, and an old counter with a faded red paint job. It was empty except for the lovely couple who run the place, and their quiet, well-behaved kiddo who was sitting at the counter. I felt like I’d stepped onto the set of some old TV show.
The small menu also offers breakfast. When I inquired about the breakfast burritos, the nice man who was taking my order lifted the lid on a chafing dish and told me he had only two left from the morning. I’m not a huge fan of pre-made, hours-old breakfast foods, so I passed. He was also out of onion rings, so I felt a little betrayed by the chalk paint.
The good news was, he had all the ingredients for the muy caliente Mexican burger ($6.95), which was piled high with pico de gallo, bacon, salsa verde, jalapeños, cheddar cheese, and guacamole spread on both halves of the glistening bun. The beef patty was a little paltry, but it did have an excellent flavor. The accompanying fries came out of a bag that came out of the freezer. It didn’t help matters that the off-brand ketchup tasted like vinegar and sugar. Still, that burger was worth going back for. So I’m chalking that up as a win for K-Rock.
A few days later I decided to let the Rocket choose my path again, and we ended up at the T&P Tavern for lunch. The problem with that plan was that the place wasn’t open for lunch. Dutifully, my vehicle reversed course to Picchi Pacchi (512 Main St., Ste 106). The downtown Italian eatery was bustling that weekday afternoon, but the service was quick, if impersonal. It’s not the kind of place you go for a long romantic lunch that ends with a spaghetti kiss a la Lady and the Tramp. It’s a get-’em-in / get-’em-out lunch factory.
I opted for a slice of the obscenely cheesy New York-style vegetable pizza with spinach, onions, tomato slices, and mozzarella cheese. Beneath the hillock of cheese were hints of what could have been pesto and garlic. The day’s special, lasagna with meat sauce, was competently bland, though fresh-tasting, hot, and served quickly. The place is also open until 3 a.m., and I could see my younger self staggering in after a night on the town.
I may need to get the Rocket’s internal guidance system adjusted just a bit. One out of two isn’t a great batting average where my stomach is concerned. Or perhaps she’s cranky about that “please wash me” sign some kid scribbled in the dirt on her back window.
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