“You guys downed those quick,” says our aghast (or possibly impressed) c.1949 beertender as we pass a set of empty glasses to him for the second time in 10 minutes.
We’re big fans of the Lowry Park Central craft beer bar, but we had a small window on this specific weeknight, and I needed a proper buzz before that window closed at 8 p.m.
Tampa’s Xtreme Tacos has been on my radar since it opened. That anticipation has only intensified, mostly thanks to my taco enthusiast friend Xavier, who is lucky enough to share a neighborhood with XT and has visited several times. But also because one menu item in particular is calling my name: the Stoner Burrito.
Complete with one pound of your choice of meat and all the standard accompaniments (Mexican rice, black beans, shredded cabbage, pico de gallo, sour cream and guacamole) — plus french fries and queso fresco — this behemoth of a burrito, which reads like it puts even the most munchies-afflicted stoner’s Taco Bell order to shame, demands you bring your A-game. So, as someone who doesn’t smoke, you can understand my pregame visit to the bar for a couple of quick high-ABV brews to wet the appetite.
After the quick drive over to XT, my first impression is exactly what I’d hoped for. The small two-room taqueria has just two bar stools and a few tables. A dream catcher and string lights around the front window serve as minimal decor elements. And the colorful, handwritten chalkboard menu is filled top to bottom with tempting choices.
With several people seated and others waiting to place take-out orders, the line disperses — and it’s go time. We’re greeted by the delightful Sofie, who takes our order behind the counter, though our interaction feels more like a conversation between friends than a restaurant transaction.
I eagerly, and perhaps rudely, lead the way: “I’ll have the Stoner Burrito.”
My understanding companion takes her turn: “I’ll have the veggie sope and…”
Her slight hesitation seems like a giant opportunity. Xavier has raved about the queso and chips.
I quickly whisper: “QUESO!”
My dining partner obliges, and Sofie sounds just as stoked as me, enthusiastically affirming our choices. Now I’m even more psyched. (Pro tip: Don’t go the UberEATS route for your first XT experience; make the trip and introduce yourself to Sofie, who makes it a point to remember your name. You won’t regret it.)
Our order is called after a short wait. We opt to get our haul to-go, because I feel nobody should have to be subjected to the carnage I’m about to inflict on my burrito. But the dreamy smells of XT follow us outside.
Nearing our destination, Travis Scott’s “Goosebumps” plays on the radio, which couldn’t be any more appropriate for our smorgasbord.
I get those goosebumps every time, yeah, you come around, yeah...
My stomach is at full growl at this point. Unwrapping the Stoner Burrito’s tightly wrapped foil blanket feels like Christmas morning. I dig in, and the combination of flavors — all the ones you’d expect from a proper Mexican joint — are perfect. The back of the burrito gives way and its insides escape down my hand and wrist by Bite Five, while Bite Six results in a loose French fry on my plate. (I somehow glossed over fries as an ingredient upon ordering, but they add welcome American flair to the party.)
Eventually, I manage to choke down the massive flavor log, and even some more house-made chips and queso, which are legit. The Stoner Burrito, a ravenous treat for anyone with (or without) a buzz, did not disappoint. My return to Xtreme Tacos can’t come soon enough.
Grouper tacos, anyone?