• David R. Jennings / Broomfield Enterprise

    Illegal Pete's tops this author's Composite Burrito Index, a scale he made up but totally did not explain — yet seems spot on.

  • Mark Leffingwell / Colorado Daily

    Erika Gutierrez makes a Half Sweet Corn Salad for a customer at Cafe Mexicali, which is near Williams Village.

  • David R. Jennings / Broomfield Enterprise

    Illegal Pete's has a wide variety of ingredients. Take that, boredom.



Be honest: If body image were no object, wouldn’t you eat burritos for every meal.

First of all, thank you for your honesty back there. You didn’t need to open up like that, but you did, and it was beautiful.

Secondly — and just between us girls — we feel the exact same way. Burritos are the thing.

And, since you’re new in town and all, we want you to know your options when selecting your next Mexican food baby.

Now, let’s begin with the premise that Chipotle, pound-for-pound, takes the belt around here, and probably in most cities not named Austin, Los Angeles or San Diego. Indeed, there is a time and a place for Chipotle. The time is pretty much any point during business hours, and the place is Pearl Street’s West End and on the Twenty Ninth Street Mall.

But this is Boulder, where if you’re not eating local as much as possible, then what the hell are you doing here? You’ve got to at least feign an interest in the regional fare, so peep these four scrumptrelescent alternatives, ranked by their respective Composite Burritoness Index, or CBI for short, as calculated by this committee of one.

Illegal Pete’s

CBI: 9.4

Two Boulder locations:

1320 College Ave.

1447 Pearl St.

Everyone loves this place, and so should you. In fact, by the time you read this, you’ll probably have been here a few times already. Maybe you’re even reading this from inside Illegal Pete’s, or perhaps you’re killing time on a bench outside of it, waiting for your friend, Carl, who promised he’d meet you for lunch but is running 30 minutes behind due to the unexpected death of his turtle and longtime business associate, Manuel.

(In all seriousness, if you do see Carl, please give him a hug for us. Poor guy doesn’t need this added stress right now.)

Point is, Illegal Pete’s is an excellent go-to. Among their strengths:

•Very solid range of quality ingredients, including fish, squash, black olives and pesto.

•Your pals in the burrito assembly line will actually mix the guts up before folding. No more dense sour cream pockets. So long, ricey mouthfuls.

•Open super late. Thursday through Saturday, they’ll serve you until 2:30 a.m.

Cafe Mexicali

CBI: 8.0

2850 Baseline Road

The committee of one knows what you want, and what you want is a burrito the size of your aforementioned friend Carl’s dog (who is also inconveniently named Manuel). It is in this respect that Mexicali distinguishes itself.

Their foot-long smothered burritos — covered in any of four different sauces, including a heavy-yet-heavenly habanero cream — come with pretty basic innards, albeit in enormous volumes. Their ingredients are quality across the board, if not at all unique.

Mexicali also has two considerable strengths over the competition:

• Location. For those of you quarantined in Williams Village, you’ll need to get to know this place soon. It’s the only Mexican place in close walking distance.

• Bang-for-buck. The ratio of bites taken to cents spent is through the roof here.

Dot’s Diner

CBI: 7.7

Two Boulder locations:

1333 Broadway

2716 28th St.

This particular beast is not like the others, as its burrito arsenal features only those most breakfast-y in nature. But if you can pull yourself out of bed before Dot’s closes at 2 p.m., you’re in for something nice. Reeaaaaal nice.

For a mere $8, you’ll get a leviathan packed with scrambled eggs, hash browns refried beans and Swiss cheese. It’s all wrapped in a tortilla and topped with your choice of salsa and melted cheddar.

Plus, Dot’s bakes their burritos. For reasons that remain unclear to the committee of one, the diner’s staff insists this is a major advantage over other burrito purveyors.

Wahoo’s Fish Tacos

CBI: 7.5

2790 Pearl St.

This spot is a little off the beaten path, both menu-wise and geographically. But it’s so, so worth it. They combine Mexican, Brazilian and Asian fare and mix it all together for a taste sensation the likes of which no other restaurant in Boulder can offer.

Let’s take the Banzai Burrito, for example: bell peppers, onions, zucchini, broccoli, mushrooms and cabbage all sauteed in teriyaki. It’s damn good.

What they’re working with is weird, yes, but very tasty and very much worth your $7.53.

It also happens to be your friend Carl’s personal favorite. He actually texted us a little bit ago and asked us to let you know he’d love to meet up there at, I don’t know, like, 8? 8:30? Whatever works.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Alex Burness at 303-473-1389 or

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