Papalote Mexican Grill takes on Iron Chef Bobby Flay in Food Network’s Burrito Throwdown


Image: Yelp

When I first heard that Iron Chef Bobby Flay was doing a burrito throwdown on his Food Network show “Throwdown with Bobby Flay,” I immediately felt bad for whoever he was going up against. His Southwest style of cooking is heavily influenced by Mexican and Latin American cuisine, so I expected him to be comfortable in his own element. When I heard he was going up against San Francisco’s own Papalote Mexican Grill, I was even more worried.

The Mission district of San Francisco has really become the capital of burritos, pretty much, of the whole world.

– Miguel  Escobedo aka DJ Mr. E, Papalote Mexican Grill

I can’t argue with that, but that’s what made me worry initially. There are so many amazing taquerias in the Mission that I questioned whether or not Papalote should be the one to take down Bobby Flay. To be fair, while many of their burritos are good (hello adobo burrito!), the ones that seem to draw a huge following are their health conscious vegetarian and vegan options, which aren’t exactly what I expect from a burrito and stay far away from. Thankfully, Papalote eschewed the vegan “soyrizo” burrito in favor of their famed Triple Threat Burrito, named after legendary Bay Area DJ crew, Triple Threat DJs.

Papalote Mexican Grill is owned by two brothers, Victor and Miguel Escobedo. When they are not running their two Papalote locations, Victor moonlights as a stand-up comic and Miguel is a highly respected DJ that goes by the name Mr. E. Check out the demo tape that they sent to The Food Network:

While filming for The Food Network, they thought they were a part of a show called “Brotherly Grub,” and were surprised and excited when Bobby Flay walked onto the scene to challenge their Triple Threat Burrito.

The Triple Threat Burrito contains a three-pronged attack of grilled prawns, grilled chicken, and grilled steak topped with all the fixings, including their homemade guacamole and secret Papalote roasted salsa. Bobby Flay brought an all-green burrito to the table, which featured green rice, white beans with a green vinaigrette, avocado, cilantro, and green chile stewed pork. Fitting of him to create a “green” burrito in the San Francisco throwdown. I wonder if that was intentional? One of my favorite moments of the episode was when Victor got the crowd to chant “green-go! green-go! green-go!” Even Bobby thought it was a good joke.

There’s no upscaling a burrito.

-Bobby Flay’s assistant, in response to him suggesting they top the burrito with a sauce

I agree wholeheartedly, and Bobby Flay should have listened because some of the tasters in the audience were saying they needed a knife and fork to eat it, and another taster docked him a point for the burrito falling apart. However, the only opinions that really mattered were those of the two judges. They liked Bobby Flay’s burrito because it had some distinct flavors and was “light,” for a burrito. The Thriple Threat, however, is the Green Burrito’s exact opposite. It’s big, loud, and packed with robust flavors from three types of grilled marinated meat. Ultimately, the local judges sided with the hometown heroes and awarded the throwdown win to Victor and Miguel.

Miguel aka DJ Mr. E with Bobby Flay. Image/@papalote415

Congratulations to Victor and Miguel of Papalote for laying waste to Iron Chef Bobby Flay and showing him that nothing rivals the burritos that come out of San Francisco’s Misison district!

A few celebratory words from Miguel to Bobby:

Fuck no, we don’t!

Papalote Mexican Grill
3409 24th Street @ Valencia (415) 970 8815
1777 Fulton Street @ Masonic (415) 776 0106
Twitter: @papalote415

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