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Proposed (by me) ban on wraps


Fat Guy
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Like most things we embrace it's over done to the point of exhaustion. I've been wraping food in tortillas for many years. I really like corn totillas but the flour ones and whole wheat ones make good wraps. I've never tired the flavored wraps with the bad after taste that's been mentioned.

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BTW the traditional "WRAP BREAD" is not the same (IMO) as a Flour Tortilla.

The Flour Tortilla doesnt have that bad aftertaste, the bread thats marked "WRAP or WRAPS" has a bad aftertaste. I bought this Wrap Bread:

http://www.flatoutbread.com/movie.html

and it had the worst aftertaste of all of them.

Well, that must explain why I've never been able to make a wrap!

I only buy flour tortillas, not wraps. Of course, that means that I don't get all those lovely fluorescent colors and strange flavors, but that's OK: I can get them often enough at work, where I can be assured of encountering wraps at least once per semester at a catered lunch meeting or when I run across the leftovers of someone else's catered lunch meeting in the coffee/copier room.

My guess is that the wrap caught on in part because it does come in all those lovely fluorescent colors. They may leak, drip, spill and fall apart in your hand, but they look so colorful arrayed on the platter!

Even though you can do the same thing with a half sandwich or a hoagie, I also think the idea that you could hold a wrap in just one hand like a hot dog probably also accounts for the wrap's appeal. If you have a hoagie or sandwich that's substantial enough (IOW, a halfway decent specimen of either), you really do need both hands to keep everything under control.

So how do Mission's deli wraps do in the off-taste department? Their flour tortillas seem okay. (Maybe I should check out one of the Mexican grocers on 9th Street for a yardstick for comparison.)

Edited to add: After looking at the ingredients list for the wraps and the flour tortillas on Mission's Web site, I suspect that Mission wraps will have the same chemical tastes that GlorifiedRice finds in the other wraps. The wraps have a whole bunch more ingredients that look like they were produced in a lab than do the flour tortillas, which only have the usual preservatives.

Edited by MarketStEl (log)

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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I live in San Francisco and I've never seen anything like that unless it was on a KFC billboard. I did once eat at some kind of "wrap" place in Seattle many years ago, and while I did not enjoy the food there (tasted like lawn clippings), it bore no resemblance to anything you're describing.

Looks like you missed this place in Northern California.

and Seattle

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Isn't this just a subset of the greater problem: almost nobody in the USA can manufacture a decent tortilla, and those who can aren't distributing them widely?

Complaints about fragility and flavor of the wrapper are about the tortilla.  Solve the tortilla problem, and the wrap problem goes away.

I think I'm with cdh on this one. It's the damn bread -- it sucks! I've never had one that didn't have an awful metallic aftertaste. Why bother when there are other great flatbreads and tortillas out there that are better suited to the task at hand? I never heard anyone complain about a good gyro or a good soft taco.

Edited for punctuation.

Edited by Manley (log)
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Thanks FatGuy, I agree and feel your pain. :smile: I hate wraps and I see that I'm not alone. I hate them for many of the reasons already mentioned, but probably the number one reason I detest them is the dreaded "breakfast burrito." Ick. I want my scrambled eggs, home fries, bacon and sausage on a plate like God intended, not smushed within a nasty, pasty, unbaked tasting breadlike product where you can't even properly season each component of your breakfast. Also, for any wrap type foods like fajitas, shawarma, Vietnamese summer rolls, etc. I prefer to be presented with the individual ingredients and roll my own; tastier and more fun. :biggrin: Besides, you just can't beat the flavor of making your own wrap using a freshly cooked corn tortilla and slow cooked green chile pork. Yum. :smile:

Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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Count me in on the wrap haters. Perhaps we should call them "warps".

Once upon a time, I had lovely soft, fluffy warm flour tortillas in a restaurant. Only once. They might have done.

Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

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Got to disagree. I love wraps or burritos or what ever you call food enshrouded with a tortilla. Breakfast burritos with scrambled eggs bacon and green chillis are wonderful.

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Got to disagree.  I love wraps or burritos or what ever you call food enshrouded with a tortilla.  Breakfast burritos with scrambled eggs bacon and green chillis are wonderful.

I have to assume you live in West Texas, New Mexico or Arizona and have access to good tortillas! :laugh:

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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There seems to be some confusion here with respect to what a wrap is. A wrap is an American innovation that takes all the wonderful traits of the burrito and other wrap-like international foods and discards them, replacing the goodness of those products with a nasty tasting ruined tortilla-like thing and poor-quality American sandwich fillings. A burrito is not a wrap. A ssam is not a wrap. Moo-shu pork is not a wrap. If you like or don't like those things, that has no bearing on your position on wraps.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I guess I've never had a wrap. I've eaten lots of food wrapped in a tortilla and will continue with this habit. I love it. I'm not sure what you're talking about FG. If you mean bad food wrapped in a tortilla, I agree. But if you're dissin' the whole idea of wrapping good stuffing in a flat bread count me out

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I am just back from our cabin. One of our guest showed up with farmer's market spinach, prime steak, a fab selection of wine, etc. And, a cellophane package from the deli with a label: Unforgettable Turkey Wrap. Apparently the wrap was very forgettable because it is now in the trash, but the kids and I did disect it today: Some spongey thing purporting to be a tortilla; a mess of diced stryofoam tomatoes, something that was lettuce in a former life, and something else purporting to be "roasted turkey breast" that looked more like some sort of pressed turkey product. We could find no evidence of the mustard listed ont he label, and we were not willing to venture a guess as to whether there were any other condiments on the thing. Yew. Peter (age 11) asked: "Are wraps the new black?"

I can get great wraps close by. Soft, hand-made tortillas wrapped around all manner of fatty pork products. Summer rolls made to order by the little Hmong ladies at the local deli. Like some have said, not all "wraps" are bad. But, then again, they aren't called wraps. Or at my house, larb wrapped in lettuce leaves?

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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There seems to be some confusion here with respect to what a wrap is.

It's arguable that this confusion would seem to indicate that the prevalence of these products in the marketplace is capable of being greatly exaggerated by one's perceptions. I don't doubt that they exist, but there's never been any shortage of really bad sandwich shops in the world; so what if they found a new substrate to slather? I'll take a horrible tortilla over the Texan rendition of sourdough any day.

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There seems to be some confusion here with respect to what a wrap is.

It's arguable that this confusion would seem to indicate that the prevalence of these products in the marketplace is capable of being greatly exaggerated by one's perceptions.

I don't think their prevalence is exaggerated, although I do think they are less popular now than they were 4 or 5 years ago. I haven't seen them in Japan, but when I'm in Canada and the US, I see them at almost every sandwich shop and supermarket I visit.

It could also be argued that some people are taking this topic a wee bit too seriously. There's nothing wrong with having some fun at the expense of a really bad sandwich.

I don't doubt that they exist, but there's never been any shortage of really bad sandwich shops in the world; so what if they found a new substrate to slather? I'll take a horrible tortilla over the Texan rendition of sourdough any day.

You've not had horrible wraps, then. They leave a very very bad aftertaste. I would suggest you try one (remember, they're not flour tortillas, they just look like them) before stating your preference.

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I'm going to be one of the dissenting voices here. First of all, let's recognize that the wrap as we know it today did not start in the United States but in South America, especially in Venezuala and in Brazil (in particular Sao Paolo). Second, I think we have to make the distinction that wraps outside of the USA are not to much things that people buy in supermarkets or make at home but buy as a more-or-less kind of street food. In that, like sausages, crepes, frozen yoghurt, hamburgers, fried chicken or a host of other street foods, they can range the gamut from out-and-out junk food to fast but fun food.

Also worth being aware that outside of the USA, most people refer to these creations as "tacos" and not as burritos.

Here in Israel, especially in Tel Aviv, wrap joints/taco bars have become the rage in the last nine months, with almost 70 of these places now doing business. As I said, earlier, some junk, some great fun. As to how long the rage will continue, only god knows and she's not talking.

Following is my review of one of the better taco bars now in Tel Aviv.

+++++++

There is nothing complex about a taco (Spanish for "snack"), for all one has to do is make a tortilla, fill it with chopped meat, refried beans and guacamole salad, fold it in half and munch away and at least since the twelfth century, these treats have been one of the mainstays of the diet of even the poorest Mexicans. Call them burritos if you like or call them tacos as is the local wont but not to feel left out, starting in the 1950's people in the United States started making tacos and, with the advent of the chain known as Taco Bell, tacos became a business almost as huge as hamburgers. With more than 6,000 restaurants in the United States and another 400 in places such as Guam, Aruba, the Dominican Republic, Chile, China and the Philippines, Taco Bell sells more than 6 billion dollars worth of tacos every year.

Not to be left out of the potential profits, the taco is rapidly on its way to becoming the next wave in Israeli fast food and taco joints are now opening at a pace as rapidly as once did frozen yoghurt stands. Some of those are serving food with a distinct Mediterranean touch, others with an American fast-food touch, and a few actually turning to Mexico and Central America for their inspiration. Some are serving junk food and others are offering up fare that is simple but at least relatively nutritious and great fun to eat.

My most recent visit was to Tel Aviv's recently opened Maya Taco Bar. Opened by chef Ilan Amir who for almost twelve years was the chef at Dixie, this may be a taco joint but it is one of spotlessly clean white walls, boasting lots of stainless steel, grills that are constantly being polished, a comfortable bar and outdoor tables at which one can sit. Watching the tortillas being prepared on special grills meant precisely for this process, and seeing how the staff cooks the meats or vegetables and then spreads each tortilla with whatever ingredients have been ordered and folding them quickly, wrapping them in paper and serving them up so quickly almost takes away the breath.

I sampled two tacos – the first filled with thin but surprisingly good cuts of entrecote steak, those even with a bit of crispness and on the meat refried beans (frijoles in Spanish), guacamole, tomatoes, onion and coriander. Over that is spread the house sauce, a tempting spicy mayonnaise sauce and, depending on how you like it, as much hot chili sauce as you want. It all sounds rather messy but when put together with professionalism winds up as a heckuva lot more note than a shwarma on a pita. With a bottle of cold Tuborg beer next to me, and drinking directly from the bottle which seems to be the modus operandi here, I enjoyed myself thoroughly. I went on to a vegetarian taco, that made by frying peppers, zucchini, carrots and garlic in olive oil as well as with guacamole, frijoles, tomatoes, onion and corriander, all of which are topped, with a tasty mango flavored sauce before folding. If the truth be told, the vegetarian offering was no less rewarding than the meat.

Tacos come in large and small sizes. Small meat-based tacos cost NIS 22 each and large NIS 28; the vegetarian tacos cost NIS 20 and 26 respectively; and bottles of Tuborg cost NIS 14 each. For a quick and fun meal, definitely worth visiting.

Maya Taco Bar; Rehov Ibn Gvirol 54, Tel Aviv. Open daily 12:00-01:00. Tel 03 6960304.

P.S. NIS 22 = about US$5.20 and NIS 28 = about US$6.50

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I also dislike flour tortillas used as wraps, but have had, and have made wraps using lavasch and pita. Always warmed first(the bread itself, not the entire sandwich) by either flattop or grill. So my point is its not the wrap but the wrapper used.

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I'm going to be one of the dissenting voices here.  First of all, let's recognize that the wrap as we know it today did not start in the United States but in South America, especially in Venezuala and in Brazil (in particular Sao Paolo).  Second, I think we have to make the distinction that wraps outside of the USA are not to much things that people buy in supermarkets or make at home but buy as a more-or-less kind of street food.  In that, like sausages, crepes, frozen yoghurt, hamburgers, fried chicken or a host of other street foods, they can range the gamut from out-and-out junk food to fast but fun food.

Also worth being aware that outside of the USA, most people refer to these creations as "tacos" and not as burritos.

A wrap is not a taco. It is not a burrito. One can tell by reading your post that you have not been subjected to the horror that is a wrap sandwich.

It's a tortilla-esque wrapper around inexpensive American sandwich components: lettuce, tomatos, usually some cold cuts. The usually somewhat benign power of the tortilla to visually conceal it's own contents is corrupted to pass off a sandwich loaded with 2nd rate produce. Handfulls of inexpensive filler such as iceberg lettuce and hothouse tomatos are used to allow the wrap vendor to achive a pleasing shape without increasing the cost of manufacture.

They are vile. They are everywhere. The Fat Guy has come to lead us from the wilderness. You should not stand in his way.

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Daniel, what Steven is talking about is a use of large flour tortillas as a bread replacement. Imagine a ham sandwich with mustard, Swiss cheese and lettuce on rye bread. Now, take away the rye bread and roll up everything else in an extra-large "spinach flavored" tortilla. That is a "wrap." The essence of "wrapness" is that the tortilla serves as a replacement for bread in an otherwise quotidian American sandwich. If the food is something that would ordinarily be served wrapped up in a tortilla (e.g., anything taco-like) then it would not be called a "wrap."

I don't prefer wraps, and I wouldn't necessarily buy one if I were going to buy a sandwich for lunch. But I do eat them with some regularity. This is for a few reasons.

First, I can get very high quality extra-large flour tortillas at Fairway. If I had to make do with those flabby, faux-flavored Mission brand flour tortillas, I don't think I could do it.

Second, they are a good choice for weight control versus bread, although one wrap often has more calories than two slices of bread. This is because, if you're me, you'd like to fill up the sandwich as much as possible with low-calorie ingredients (lettuce, arrugula, sprouts, onions, peppers, mushrooms, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc.) and use a small amount of high calorie foods like meats and cheeses primarily for flavoring. This way I can get the stomach-filling satisfaction of eating a big sandwich with a relatively small number of calories. Logistically, it's simply impossible to get that amount of vegetables between two slices of rye bread.

Third, I find that wraps are better than bread when I'm packing a lunch. If a sandwich is going to be living in the refrigerator wrapped in wax paper and stuck inside a paper bag or reusable plastic container for 5 hours before I eat it, bread will inevitably become unappetizingly soggy (especially if, per the above, it contains a lot of vegetables). Wraps, in my experience, end up in much better shape when lunchtime comes around.

Now... if weight-control is not a consideration, if I'm ordering a protein-focused sandwich at a deli to be consumed within the next 20 minutes, and if I'm basing my decision 100% on what will taste best... of course I'm choosing bread over a wrap. But if I did that I wouldn't be saving around 40 bucks a week on lunch money and I would be a lot fatter than I already am.

--

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I don't prefer wraps, and I wouldn't necessarily buy one if I were going to buy a sandwich for lunch.  But I do eat them with some regularity.  This is for a few reasons.

First, I can get very high quality extra-large flour tortillas at Fairway.  If I had to make do with those flabby, faux-flavored Mission brand flour tortillas, I don't think I could do it.

Second, they are a good choice for weight control versus bread, although one wrap often has more calories than two slices of bread.  This is because, if you're me, you'd like to fill up the sandwich as much as possible with low-calorie ingredients (lettuce, arrugula, sprouts, onions, peppers, mushrooms, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc.) and use a small amount of high calorie foods like meats and cheeses primarily for flavoring.  This way I can get the stomach-filling satisfaction of eating a big sandwich with a relatively small number of calories.  Logistically, it's simply impossible to get that amount of vegetables between two slices of rye bread.

Third, I find that wraps are better than bread when I'm packing a lunch.  If a sandwich is going to be living in the refrigerator wrapped in wax paper and stuck inside a paper bag or reusable plastic container for 5 hours before I eat it, bread will inevitably become unappetizingly soggy (especially if, per the above, it contains a lot of vegetables).  Wraps, in my experience, end up in much better shape when lunchtime comes around.

Now... if weight-control is not a consideration, if I'm ordering a protein-focused sandwich at a deli to be consumed within the next 20 minutes, and if I'm basing my decision 100% on what will taste best... of course I'm choosing bread over a wrap.  But if I did that I wouldn't be saving around 40 bucks a week on lunch money and I would be a lot fatter than I already am.

I don't think you need to be ashamed. That you may eat a wrap or two, every now and then, in the privacy of your own home, does not make you a bad person. Behind closed doors, consenting adults, none of my business.

What I am saying, is the very things you find appealing, that may have initally drawn you to the wrap, have been twisted to evil purposes. The greater internal volume of the tortilla and the ability of the wrap to sit for prolonged periods of time without losing it's visual appeal, combined with the tortilla's ability to cloak a wrap's contents from a potential consumer that I spoke of in my previous post have been exploited by caterers and sandwich vendors to form something unholy. And as a concerned and caring person, I worry that you are now in over your head, and do not have a way out.

The problem with a wrap it that the need to provide a greater volume of food to form a pleasing torpedo shape forces vendors to fill them with bland, inexpensive and inedible filler. Any flavorful items will be insulated from the tastebuds by layers of lettuce, sprouts, tomatos and such like fine china packed with styrofoam peanuts. In fact, I strongly suspect styrofoam peanuts were used in a Southwest Wrap I was forced to endure last week.

I will speak later on the implication that wraps are an attempt to appease the glutinous and portly. Until then: Say no to wraps.

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I've had many a thing sold as a wrap, but never the mess described as the only thing that can be called a wrap. I enjoy wraps with lots of sticky rice and strong flavored fillings on top of the rice. I have not noticed any particularly chemical flavor to the wrapping matrix - which looks like an oversized flour tortilla to me. My definition of wrap is anything wrapped up for eating in the style of a burrito, that doesnt already have a traditional name encompassing it (because its using different ingredients).

Now those pinwheel "sandwiches" that get sold for teas and luncheons and buffets - those are horrible indeed. The nastiness inveighed against by Stephen and others, sliced into slimy gummy little circles. Gack. The husband loves them. Pity him.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Dr. Teeth, I don't buy wraps. I make them. I know what goes inside them, and there's no bland filler in mine. What you may get from a caterer (loaded with mayonnaise, etc.) or in an airport sandwich shop is another story -- in which case I agree that they're often the Devil's spawn.

--

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How is a bad wrap any different from a bad sandwich? Saying you dislike bland ingredients mixed with a gloppy sauce served in some flavorless starch package isn't exactly earth shattering. What next? Proclaiming that puppies are cute?

I'd bet that Sam can make a more delicious wrap than the best traditional sandwich any domestic airline has ever served in-flight. To think that the American wrap is the worst offender of corporate/airline/lazy catering is a mistake. The in-flight food prior to wraps being served was no better and since most airlines and caterers have stopped serving wraps, it hasn't improved any. Focusing on the current garbage they produce just causes them to move on to the next culinary disaster - focusing on the poor quality of the ingredients and the careless preparation might actually make them consider serving something better...

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