Charles Hodgkins is as unpretentious as the food he writes about; the burrito. SF Gate’s columnist, Sam Whiting wrote on April, 2006 that Charles Hodgkins was a purist. Today I learned that Hodgkins, the burrito blogger, will survey and seriously write about Californians lifestyle county by county.
Hodgkins began his research on the ingredients and quality of the taste of burritos sold at local taquerias in San Francisco about three years ago. “Burritos are a real hot button issue,” said Charles during our afternoon interview. He was casually dressed in blue jeans, blue blazer and faded blue pull-over sweater.” Everybody in San Francisco eats slabs (the term for burritos), five star chefs to ordinary people like myself.
Charles is adamant about the burrito being the ultimate fast food that crosses all socio-economic and cultural borders. “Because it’s made from fresh ingredients, its portability, it’s inexpensive and most important of all, it’s good,” said Charles. “Burritos are the soul food of San Francisco.”
Recently Hodgkins has eaten and rated nearly 170 new burritos and according to his technical scoring system a burrito can receive a score of one mustache or 10 for its construction, taste, mix of ingredients and more. “You don’t want to bite of all guacamole,” Charles chortles lightly. He sprinkles humor over our conversation in similar fashion as he writes his food blogs.
“Burritos look like little footballs, so I don’t write with a lot of pretense. I think that is why my website; Burritoeater.com, had a strong popularity. I don’t pretend to be a respected food blogger, but I do take research seriously,” Hodgkins said.
Hodgkins harbors a love for exploration, for instance, just for the heck of it he skipped lunch and hiked for three hours across San Francisco to see the streets and its people up close. Lately his explorative approach paid off when approached by a friend of a friend to cover a large survey project. As a matter of fact it was Andrew Rosenberg, Executive Editor of a popular guide book, The Rough Guide to San Francisco & The Bay Area. It’s true, according to Hodgkins that some things happen when we are in the right place at the right time. Mr. Rosenberg impressed by Hodgkin’s efforts and accumulated material not to say the least about his humorous writing style asked Charles to contribute to the Guide for their upcoming January 2009 issue.
Hodgkins also writes a feature called, “Blocker” for a local news and cultural website, SFist.com., in which he explores/observes specific city blocks. Most of the research will take place this spring, production will take place this summer and fall and then the issue will be distributed in January of 2009. His dream is to complete a survey of all of California county by county.
“I want to survey each county throughout the state, and capture the reasons why people like to live one place versus another,” said Hodgkins. “ My latest blogger project-Blocker- is sort of a dry run, of which, I would like to extrapolate that all over the state as opposed to these forty-nine square miles.” That said Charles Hodgkins sounds like a Johnny Apple seed of survey bloggers. Because Hodgkins has recently received more work, his weekly posts at Burritoeater have been scaled back to bi-weekly.
When you read his reviews at Burritoeater.com you will enjoy and understand what distinguishes Charles from other food writers. Several eateries that are his favorites are: Taqueria San Francisco on 24th street and Paplote on 24th at Valencia both in the Mission District.