In Which a Vegetarian Lunch is Filled with Mexican Flavors…

Mexican flavors...without the meat.

Mexican flavors…without the meat.

Under ordinary circumstances, we usually think of Mexican cuisine as a fairly carnivorous one: fajitas con carne come to mind and so do unctuously rich and savory pork carnitas.  We think of tacos loaded with beef mince cooked down with chilies and such spices as cumin and plenty of black pepper or burritos loaded with everything from carne asada to strips of char-grilled chicken to savory chorizos of varying levels of heat and intensity.  Vegetables are probably the last thing people have in mind when they think of Mexican food…and then one encounters the food over at FaBurrito.

The restaurant’s name is a double-edged pun of sorts: a play on favorito – the Spanish rendition of the word “favorite” – and the hopeful premise that you’d have a “fab burrito” over at their shop.  And it should be noted that you’ll probably feel fab by the end of your meal because:

  1. All the food is made to order and nothing is microwaved;
  2. All the ingredients used are fresh and organic [and locally sourced, most probably] and nutty-tasting, chewy brown rice is used in the bowls and burritos rather than polished white;
  3. They actually let diners know in the ordering phase how many calories each dish has;
  4. 10% of all proceeds help fund the FabFoundation which runs a school/shelter for homeless children; and
  5. The food is amazingly flavorful (considering that the average Juan dela Cruz’s notion of healthy eating involves flavorless, nutritionally balanced provender).
Veg chips for the win

Veg chips for the win

When I trotted over to FaBurrito from across the street, I wasn’t sure what I even wanted to eat.  All I know was that I was hungry, but didn’t quite want anything with meat.  Fortunately, I checked out the menu and noticed the fajita mushroom burrito (P 210.00 for a regular sized burrito; same price for the rice bowl and salad options).  It was a happy choice.

While not as massive as my favorite burritos from Cantina Deliciosa (which, come to think of it, I haven’t been to in a long time), you get a substantial flour tortilla-wrapped cylinder loaded with strips of shiitake mushroom soaked in a rather spirited marinade (you’ll see why in a bit) before being pan-grilled, lettuce, tomatoes, sweet onions, chewy kernels of brown rice cooked with cilantro for a herbaceous zing, and nutty black bean frijoles.

The earthy flavor of the mushrooms was amplified by the tang of fresh lime and the peppiness of green chilies in the marinade; a bit of char yielded in the grill pan also gave it a tasty hint of smoke.  I am not a fan of brown rice, but it worked very well here as the nutty sweetness of it was a good complement to the zingy grilled mushrooms.  All in all, quite a delicious and satisfying thing to have for lunch as it fills you up rather than out.

Add P 125.00 and you can opt to have one of their veg-friendly soups or a basket of veg chips (those herb-flecked nachos you see above with a fresh-tasting dish of pico de gallo salsa) and your choice of iced tea.  I say: go for the lemongrass as it is just sweet enough and is most refreshing; the right thing to drink, I daresay, for these horrendously hot summer days.

FaBurrito: Ground Floor – Tower II, The Columns, Ayala Ave. cor. Sen. Gil Puyat Ave., Makati