Heaven has come to Dallas. Which is good, because it's summertime here, so it'll soon be hot as hell. Heaven, to me, is a little place called Freebird's World Burrito. I first became acquainted with Freebird's my freshman year at Texas A&M University, where Freebird's was legendary. It was a cool day that fall so long ago and I was busying myself studying and watching My So-Called Life
reruns on MTV in my room in the Commons. Bill from across the hall came over to my room, dispensing with the convention of knocking and instead just bursting right in, like a lame imitation of Cosmo Kramer. I looked up from my books, or maybe it was the TV, and gave him a "WTF?" look. He asked me what I was doing and I replied that I was watching My So-Called Life
. and studying for Chem 101. He questioned why I, a hetero guy, would be watching My So-Called Life
and I replied that it was the only thing on. Besides, everyone in that whole damn dorm, including Bill, watched that show. It was addictive, like heroin. Or Lay's Potato Chips.
Bill watched with me for a bit before mentioning that he was steering towards that gastronomical freeway called hunger. I replied that I, too, was getting a bit of a peckish. He asked me if I wanted to get some lunch, to which I replied in the affirmative. I expected to walk down to the lobby of the Commons and get something from the cheesily-named "Common Denominator" restaurant. Which is a misnomer, as it wasn't really a restaurant, but it wasn't really a snack bar either. It was more of a fried foods emporium. Chicken strips, french fries, onion rings, hamburgers and fried burritos. My expectations were wrong, as Bill decided that we wouldn't be going to the Denominator, but instead would be trekking to Freebird's. I'd heard of Freebird's, but had never eaten there. My curiosity was piqued and I decided that it would be a good experience to at least give it a try.
After pulling on a light jacket to brace against the cool November wind, we set off from the Commons towards this Mecca of Stuffed Tortillas. If you know anything about Texas A&M, you know that it's a long walk across the vast campus from the Commons to Northgate--an area that's an eclectic mixture of bars, nightclubs, restaurants and, strangely, churches. As we walked, I could feel the hunger begin to well up inside my stomach. I started to walk faster, Bill straining to keep up. Past Old Sully and the Academic Building. Past Beutel Health Center, or the "Quack Shack" as we called it. Past Sbisa. Past the Northside dorms. Soon, our destination was in sight, right across University Drive. There, in the middle of Northgate, sat Freebird's World Burrito.
Dodging traffic, we scrambled across the road, disregarding oncoming traffic. After all, we were young and immortal, or so we thought. We ducked inside and, for the first time, I made my pilgrimage to the Hajj. As it was the middle of the afternoon, the line was short and it wasn't long before I was choosing what size burrito I wanted. They offered me a Regular, a Monster or the ungodly Super Monster, which can weigh over two pounds. I chose the Regular, which should be called "Pretty Freakin' Huge". I can't imagine ever wrapping my lips around something called a Monster, as the Regular is almost too much to consume to begin with. I chose a spinach-flavored tortilla, though they also offer cayenne, white flour and wheat. As for toppings, the array offered to me was amazing. I went through the myriad of combinations in my mind before settling on steak, refried beans, spanish rice, lettuce, red onions, cilantro, guacamole and sour cream, along with some hot tomatillo sauce. The worker wrapped the burrito in foil, making a perfect cylinder of burrito-y goodness. Handing me the burrito, I felt its heft in my hand and I remember thinking that it in that foil, it resembledm in both size and shape, a chromed spray paint can. I paid and joined Bill at a table. Unwrapping my burrito and biting into the end, the most wonderful sensation of taste flooded my oral cavity. It was perfection in my mouth. I ate slowly, savoring every single bite as if it were my last.
Over the next few years, as I finished out my education in College Station, Freebird's was a favored destination for dining. I would try to make my burritos spicier and spicier, never mind what it did to my colon. Upon graduation, I was saddened that I wouldn't be able to have Freebird's very often, as their only branch locations were in Houston and Austin, neither of which city I had any desire to live in. So, imagine my delight a few months back when I discovered that they were building a location in Dallas, at Lovers and Greenville. Excitement swept through me and as the months leading to the opening passed, it got to the point where I couldn't stand the anxiousness. Finally, last week, they opened. I made my pilgrimage on Wednesday night and was in love all over again. It was everything I remembered and more. Everyone should experience Freebird's at least once in their lifetime. So, the next time you're in Dallas, College Station, Austin or Houston, stop by and experience Freebird's. It's like heaven. Except you probably don't get diarrhea in heaven.