Rating: 3 pitchers
The decision to review Flaming Amys was a fairly easy one; they have half price beer on Mondays. This means .75 individuals or $3.50 pitchers of ice cold draft PBR, and ensures that anything you eat will taste amazing if you wait long enough. Add that to a fairly central location and this place is already winning. The Burrito Barn is, indeed, in the shape of a barn with flames all along the outside wall. The inside is a rockabilly take on the standard “throw a ton of shit on the wall” theme. We’re talking Elvis, PBR, and those weirdly artsy Mexican skulls being pretty heavily represented. And a line. The ever present line. I’ve heard tale of the line stretching out the door on a typical summer day so this “hot, fast, cheap, and easy” tag line they spit may not be incredibly accurate. At least while waiting in line they have the menu on the wall and paper menus along the way. Which means you have every right to look as pissed off as possible when some blonde in front you you STILL cant decide if she wants a Tree Hugger or just some queso (bitches always want queso).
When we walked in there was a fairly average-sized line for The Barn. No more than 10 people in front of us. Luckily there is this crazy belief that the waitresses at FA are man-eating dictators of their burrito fortress. I’ve never seen evidence of this, but it probably helps the lines move more quickly so I’m all for perpetuating this myth. Most of my friends play the same game waiting to order. It’s called “I’m not going to get regular order so hmmmm.. oh god I’m next I’ll take a regular order” For the purposes of science/blogging I actually did change my order. Instead of ordering the Nachos Carnivore (maximum salsa intake) or Buffalo Teriyaki Shrimp (comes with Srirachaslaw) I ordered Nachos Carnivore sub Buffalo Teriyaki Shrimp for beef. Because fuck a menu. And of course a pitcher of PBR. They hand us a number, give us our beer, and we skip away to the land of the patio.
The first issue I will take with FA is the cheap pitchers. There is no reason to ever order an individual beer when pitchers of draft PBR are so cheap. This may not seem like a problem, but when you’re 2-3 beers deep by the time the food arrives, you don’t care so much about it as when you ordered. Only about who can be anointed beer-bitch to get the next pitcher. This is no comment on how slow the food is, only on how fast a drinker I am. The beer is delicious, and after a very minimal wait the food arrives.
These are what I call nachos! I feel the picture doesn’t quite do this pile of cheese and chips justice. There is no way I will even make it through a third of this platter. Also surprising are the fair amount of shrimp on the plate. Points off for forgetting my sour cream, but points don’t matter in this review, and the waitress quickly remedied her oversight. The chips are obviously freshly made and that makes a huge difference in the texture and taste. The salsa (I chose the standard tomato salsa) is probably my favorite I’ve ever had. Yes, it’s cool to have your favorite be the Ginger Peach or Pineapple Jalapeno but I like the original so suck it. Its fresh, cilantro-y, and has just the right amount of heat. By the way, cilantro is the most underrated herb ever. It’s like garlic in that I’m not sure if there can ever be enough of it. The nachos are piled with cheese, red onion, tomato, and shrimp. Some huge points for actual melted cheese and not that weird pump crap that a lot of places pass as cheese, even though some of the cheese was not as melted as it could have been. And for the toppings (minus the shrimp) being diced up instead of huge chunks. Yeah these are personal preferences, but this is my personal review. I was slightly disappointed by the shrimp. They were sweeter and less spicy than previous times I’ve had them. I’ll hope this was due to a sauce mixing mix-up and not a recipe change. Overall it was delicious and every complaint was a pretty minor one. After I had satisfied my initial craving I turned to my roommates dish with a “it’s for the blog” plea to scrom off his plate.
He ordered some weird Churkeychanga specialty burrito that is apparently a Thanksgiving-only deal. It sounded pretty interesting, and I was glad he ordered it so I wouldn’t have to sacrifice my precious nachos. Its a deep fried burrito stuffed with turkey, jalapeno cornbread stuffing, and chili garlic potatoes, then doused in jalapeno cream gravy and paired with a cranberry salsa. It was a huge letdown. The ingredients weren’t well balanced, the potatoes tasted very little of chili or garlic, but the cornbread stuffing on its own was quite tasty. One of the biggest problems was that all those ingredients are moisture suckers and the amount of gravy (which was really yummy) wasn’t nearly enough to offset it. The cranberry salsa would’ve been perfect with your average turkey feast so no complaint there. Overall this burrito was a great idea, but probably needs a little tinkering. Also, thanks to my roommate for taking one for the team and allowing me to resume my nacho killing spree after two bites of his burrito.
After two more pitchers of PBR we decided to head home and start some real drinking. Flaming Amy’s has cheap beer, decent prices, amazing salsa, and some pretty interesting food combos. Maybe everything isn’t my favorite, but I would want to taste almost everything on the menu (if I wasn’t paying). I have to appreciate a place that steps out of the menu norms and tries new things with general success. Its worth a shot, especially when you’re in the mood to try something new without going too crazy. Over all I’m going to rate it 3 out of 3 pitchers…. because $3.50 pitchers overrule any food. Just be glad I didn’t take off for the lack of Sriracha bottles…. It’s on the menu I know you have it back there!