ESPN's Data Geeks Find America's Best Burrito! And the Winner Is...
La Taqueria's first-round score--no argument from me!
Photo by Anna Maria Barry-Jester
Earlier this year, I was invited by data wizard Nate Silver to participate in their search for the best burrito in America in his epic Burrito Bracket. Silver, of course, has his own ESPN vertical over at FiveThirtyEight, where they crunch data to delightful results, and I was flown into a secret room in New York City along with restaurant chingónDavid Chang, Mexican-food expert Jeffrey Pilcher, and Eater food critic Bill Addison.
Silver brought us in to be the human voices of reason to his beloved data, which used Yelp scores to determine what were the best burritos in America. He thought that crowd-sourced data would be more accurate than not in determining whether a burrito was great. Us humans, on the other hand, knew from first-hand experience that you really can't trust crazy Yelp kids. As a result, we recommended our personal favorite choices to FiveThirtyEight burrito correspondent Anna Maria Barry-Jester. Eventually, whittled down a list to 64 burritos that would face each other off, March Madness style, and off she went.
After months of eating, Anna Maria found a winner. And it is...
La Taqueria in San Francisco!
Go read Anna Maria's justification at her post, tellingly titled America's Best Burrito. The only note I'll say right now is that during our discussions to determine which burritos got to be in the tournament, I deemed La Taqueria's cylindrical gods the most perfectly executed burrito in America, so I'm glad I was proven correct. HOWEVER...I also told my fellow judges that my favorite burrito in the country is just up Mission at El Castillito; Anna Maria, God bless her soul, tried it with impartial eyes and agreed with myself and Chang that it was magnificent.
Now, everyone: Go eat at La Taqueria! And before you ask what does a gabacha know about burritos, also ask yourself what does a Mexican know about Vietnamese food in OC--and there you go.
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