The Best Post-Adventure Food

“What is the best post-adventure food?” - Socrates (probably)

By: The LA Field Guide + Save to a List

This simple yet staggeringly divisive question has split adventurers into polarized camps for centuries (or so I imagine). Some groups swear by the burger, fries, and beer combo. Others gravitate toward protein shakes or fully loaded salads. A large cult of outdoorsy people in Los Angeles swear by no other post-adventure food than the simple street taco. One point I think we can all agree on is that a massive perk of going out on a long hike or bike ride is getting to replenish all the calories you burned in a delicious and guilt-free feast.

I consider myself to be somewhat of an expert when it comes to food. I’ve been eating it every day for almost thirty years, and over the thousands of meals I’ve consumed, I’ve settled on the definitive crown jewel of post-adventure nourishment: the burrito.

DURABILITY

The humble burrito is a study in resilience. They can be stuffed, squished, bounced, rattled, lobbed, bruised, bent, twisted, and mushed, and still emerge from their foil casing intact. (Or at least no-less delicious.) The burrito’s inventor took the open-top vulnerability inherent in tacos and sealed it up with a bomb-proof flour tortilla defense.

Burritos just might be the most easily transportable food in the game. They are so transportable, in fact, that multiple companies have capitalized on the inherent trait and market “burrito bags” for bicycles. As of this writing, no bicycle company is selling a “salad satchel” or a “burger baggie”. A burrito stuffed in a bag almost always emerges in a like-new state and, unlike sandwiches, salads, wraps, burgers, or protein shakes, burritos age remarkably well. A burrito that has been sitting in a car all afternoon is superior by the order of several magnitudes to any other served-hot meal.

CALORIC DENSITY

Burritos are a no-nonsense meal. There are no side dishes to worry about and very few decisions to be made before digging in. A hefty burrito can provide anywhere from 800 to over 2,000 calories and comes packed with essential protein paired with delicious (and necessary) carbs and fats.

I love tacos just as much as the next person, but after a long adventure I don’t want to be fussing around with six individual tacos and two separate sides of rice and beans. Wrap all that goodness up into one heavyweight-champion burrito and sign me up for a one way ticket to chow-town.

FLEXIBILITY

Burritos have a “come one, come all” philosophy that really sets them a rung above the competition. I like to think of a burrito as a platform from which a variety of culinary experiences burst forth. Morning time? Hello breakfast burrito. Afternoon? Come at me California Supreme. Looking for something more elegant in the evening? Welcome the sauce-drenched and somehow inherently fancier wet burrito.

Burritos cater to all dietary restrictions and preferences. Gluten free? Cozy up with a corn tortilla. Vegetarian? Replace the carne asada with some fajita veggies or jackfruit and call it a party. For meat eaters, the options are as endless as your spirit of adventure. Staples like al pastor, pollo, and carne asada never disappoint and, for the more culinarily curious, choices like lengua (cow tongue), cabeza (cow head), or buche (pig stomach) are all up for grabs.

ACCESSIBILITY

Nobody wants to drive out of their way for food after a long day exploring. Other post-adventure needs like showering fight for priority. Fortunately, you are never more than a mile from a burrito (at least in Southern California, but I imagine this is more or less true across the country). There are more taquerias per capita in Los Angeles than Starbucks. Burritos are at least as, if not more accessible than coffee—let that sink in.

DEPENDABILITY

Let me ask you a question: have you ever had a bad burrito? If so, so let me ask you another question: was it worse than having no burrito?

Unless you’ve gotten food poisoning from a burrito (in which case I extend my sincerest condolences) chances are even the worst burrito you’ve come across was still at least okay. A 2021 survey of my fiance and myself concluded that burritos are the most dependable food out there. We have been let down by sandwiches, smoothies, and burgers much more frequently than by burritos.

While solid cases have been made for In N Out here in California, or pizza pretty much anywhere, I hold fast that burritos are the beginning and the end of post-adventure food, bar none.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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