Burrito lady feeding my addiction

By Karl Terry: CNJ columnist

Where the heck is that burrito lady anyway?

Not at all unlike a den of drug addicts without a fix, the withdrawal symptoms are becoming problematic around the office where I work.

Folks aren’t hooked on illicit substances though, just hot burritos, which we normally get delivered to our driveway by a good-natured woman we know as the burrito lady.

This one lady has been a longtime regular and usually stops by like clockwork. Apparently she’s either caught the H1N1 and out sick or else she’s made her fortune and retired without telling us.

While she’s been our standby, she hasn’t been exclusive. Over the summer we were blessed with three or four different vendors selling food out of their vehicles. We have had two burrito ladies in SUVs, the burrito man in the van who had his own grill inside and another guy who reportedly also owned a restaurant. Add to that a family that regularly sells chocolate chip cookies and another guy from time to time with tamales and we’ve been pretty fat and sassy.

One other place I worked in Colorado had a full service roach coach.

This lady was a trained and practicing caterer and stocked her fully equipped and health-department-inspected catering truck with some great delicacies. Chef salad, chicken Alfredo, green chile stew, she had something different every day.

She announced herself with a horn that played “La Cucharacha.” When she blasted the horn people appeared from nowhere.

In south Texas we regularly had vendors who stopped in the newspaper parking lot selling fresh Gulf shrimp or redfish. Someone would announce that fresh shrimp was for sale in the parking lot for so much a pound and anyone wanting a treat for supper would head for the parking lot.

Our burrito lady gets announced each day as she pulls up to the automobile dealership where I work. Mechanics drop tools and salespeople with customers motion to coworkers to get them a burrito before she gets away. While it’s not full service catering, the variety of types of burritos she offers is amazing.

From breakfast burritos to the standby beef, bean and cheese to carnitas, chile relleno or barbacoa, the first decision is whether you’re having breakfast or lunch.

They say the chemical contained in chile known as capsaicin can be addictive and after watching the folks around our office lining up to plunk down two bucks for a burrito I believe it might be true. I know that my habit had the waistband of my jeans getting tighter and tighter until I pretty much beat it.

I haven’t gone cold turkey yet and at least one day this last week I skipped my bowl of cereal so I could indulge in the warm goodness wrapped inside a soft flour tortilla. It was a disappointment when the call never went out over the company intercom that the burrito lady was there. A burrito at the convenience store just wasn’t the same.

I have faith that by next week burrito lady will be back on her route, feeding our addictions. If she’s not, I may just go into the burrito business myself.