The poorly laminated poster on the wall of my junior high library wasn't lying. Peer pressure really can get you into trouble. Like, for instance, when you order one of Big City Burrito's girthy Gutbuster burritos.
Short of the uncouth "p" word, I endured all the familiar taunts from my co-worker sitting across the table.
"Come on," he urged, nursing his manageable regular-sized burrito confidently. "It's not that big. You're already halfway through just go for it. You should totally finish that."
The other three members of our party smirked noncommittally, probably hoping that I'd go for the glory and turn my "innie" bellybutton "outie." They, too, dined happily on regular burritos.
Did I mention the fact that my Gutbuster was the highly popular potato burrito? That it was wrapped in two overlapped 12-inch pesto tortillas, filled with cheddar cheese, stir-fried veggies (onions, cabbage, carrots and zucchini), seasoned potatoes, sour cream, guacamole, ranch sauce, corn salsa and a homemade hot sauce?
This behemoth, monolithic construction made one of Chipotle's foil bricks look like a stick of gum.
Big City Burrito, a Fort Collins institution, posts a seven-step process yes, a mere five steps short of Alcoholics Anonymous for building your own burrito or corn-tortilla taco. A first visit may be intimidating for those who like simple ordering, but being decisive on the spot pays off on the back end with an ample, satisfying and flavorful meal.
After choosing the size (quesadilla, regular, super or Gutbuster) and tortilla flavor (white, pesto, wheat, jalapeo-cheddar, tomato chile or spinach), add Monterey jack cheese, Spanish rice and black or pinto beans. From there, select your main fillings, which include chicken (mole or bay leaf), carnitas (shredded pork), chile verde (green chile), beef carne asada (grilled sirloin), veggies and potatoes. Before the finish line at the register, pick between regular, corn, jalapeo, tomatillo or "salsa de lupe" (special house blend) salsas and add any extras.
As you head to the dining area a simple, ubiquitous caf table arrangement a loaded cart of hot sauces begs to be plundered. On my second visit, this time trying a super-sized bean, cheese and vegetable burrito, two friends and I sampled six of the bottled fire sauces, including "Smack My Ass and Call Me Sally" habaero sauce and "Another Bloody Day in Paradise" jalapeo pepper and lemon hot sauce. Another entire review could be written just on Big City Burrito's condiment rack.
Depending on size and fillings, Big City's fares range anywhere from $2.99 (any soft taco) to $9.99 (the Gutbuster with beef), with an average price somewhere near $6, give or take extras. Tack on a couple bucks for a side of chips and salsa, a fountain or bottled drink or dessert (cookies: $.50; cake: $1.29), and you'll still walk out the door for under $10.
After my first battle with the Gutbuster, I also walked out with a to-go box. But at least I had lunch again the next day (and the burritos aren't bad reheated).
Big City Burrito
131 E. Bijou St., 578-5555
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.;
Saturday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.