Cheap Eats: Chinelos II Burrito

Cheap Eats: Authentic Burritos

“Cheap Eats” is my post-series on cheap restaurants and prepared food options in New York. I recommend cooking your own food most of the time, but every once in a while it is nice to indulge and you don’t have to pay through the nose to do so. I plan to review many of the cheap options I find on various websites and will let you know if they are as good and as cheap as advertised. If you have a suggestion for a place to review, feel free to let me know through my contact page.

I am finally exploring other sections of the city (I’ll be back, Chinatown. I promise. Miss you already!). I live on the Upper West Side, so it is surprising that I haven’t taken the short trip to Harlem for Cheap Eats yet. Harlem is regarded as an amazing section of town for food. I have had a few really great inexpensive meals there, but none yet that clock in at Cheap Eats level (under $5). If you are willing to spend a little more money (again, not expensive, just more than $5), I high recommend Miss Maude’s/Miss Mamie’s for Southern comfort food and Zoma for Ethiopian food.

But I knew there had to be options for super cheap eats, so I did some research and immediately saw the word “burrito”. I knew I had to go. So, on a bitter cold winter night in NYC, I went up to…

Cheap Eats: Chinelos II
Sorry for the night time shot and the scaffolding. You get the idea, though.

Chinelos II – 530 w 136th St (map)

From the outside, it looks like a plain bodega. In fact, the words “DELI GROCERY” are more prominent than the name of the place itself. Don’t worry, delicious burritos await within.

Cheap Eats: Chinelos II Burrito
Nice little drizzle of sour cream on top along with some melted cheese!
Cheap Eats: Chinelos II Sauces
Don’t forget the sauces. The red sauce is a little spicy and good. The GREEN sauce though – not spicy, but unbelievable – don’t miss it.

I went with a chorizo burrito, because chorizo is a huge weakness of mine. They have a ton of options, though, including a veggie burrito. I think I am going to try the carne enchilada (aka spicy pork) burrito next!

THE CHEAP EATS BREAKDOWN

How was the ordering experience? This experience is one of the parts of New York that I absolutely love. I called ahead to order a burrito for pickup. No problems. When I arrived, whoever took my order must have stepped out because nobody there had more than a VERY basic understanding of English. I know un poco Spanish, but not a whole lot, so we had a back and forth, trying to communicate which order was mine, how I planned on paying for it, and if I wanted sauces. It was a tiny little step out of my comfort zone that makes travel so appealing, but I just had to go north a few dozen blocks! Also note – the restaurant is divided in half between the restaurant and the bodega. Go pay at the bodega side before you pick up your burrito.

How unique is the food? I love burritos and in my extensive research eating them, I have discovered that there are burritos, and then there are burritos. Hell, I’ll admit that I like Chipotle. But it’s not the same as getting an awesome, authentic-tasting Mexican burrito. So while burritos aren’t unique, the experience of an authentic one is, in my book.

How delicious was the food? So good! I might even say my second favorite in the city (beating out the Jalapeño food cart that I don’t think is around anymore, sadly, but still not topping Tulcingo Del Valle in Hell’s Kitchen)

Did it fill me up for $5 or less? Oh yeah. It was a giant chorizo burrito and the final cost was $4 – no tax! I couldn’t be more excited about this find.

Conclusion: Pick up one of these burritos. They are delicious and getting them is an experience. Make sure you figure out a way to communicate that you want the sauces as well!


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6 thoughts on “Cheap Eats: Authentic Burritos

  1. The Jackal January 26, 2015 at 9:30 am

    Damn – next time you go let me know. Also, I’m waiting for the interactive map for all these spots. Could have used it this past weekend.

    Thanks,

    TJ

    • Mr NYBudget January 26, 2015 at 2:02 pm

      Will do!

      The interactive map is a little tricky. Haven’t found a service yet that will do it for me. I am working on a “Top 10 List” where I have a static map, though. Be on the lookout for that.

  2. FI Fighter January 26, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    Looks good! The Mexican restaurant we went to was good as well, I forget the name of that place.

    Just got news my cousin is graduating in May… I may be back in NYC again 🙂
    FI Fighter recently posted: December 2014 Cash Flow StatementMy Profile

    • Mr NYBudget February 1, 2015 at 11:10 am

      Tulcingo Del Valle! Yeah, that one is my favorite in NYC. And yeah, hit me up if you are back in NYC!

  3. Mel January 30, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    Haha, it’s always so exciting to get to use your un poco Espanol. I swear living up in Inwood brushed up my high school Spanish quicker than anything else I’ve experienced since leaving high school. And the fact that the main thing you learn in school seems to be numbers and food makes much more sense out in the real world… since that was pretty much all I ever used.
    Mel recently posted: Accountability: January 2015My Profile

    • Mr NYBudget February 1, 2015 at 11:12 am

      Yeah! My high school Spanish teacher always told our class that the best way to learn the language was to go to a foreign country. She should have also mentioned living in Inwood!

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