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100 Burritos in San Diego: 10-dimensional rating system

This article on the 10-dimensional burrito was posted by Scott Cole. Scott is a PhD student studying neuroscience at UC San Diego, currently researching the functions and measures of neural oscillations in the Voytek lab.

In his work, Scott and his team have developed a 10-dimensional system for rating the burritos in San Diego. The goal of this project is threefold:

  1. Identify the best and worst burritos in San Diego to share this information with others
  2. Characterize the variance in burrito qualities across the county.
  3. Generate models for what makes a burrito great and investigate correlations in its dimensions

At this time, 30 reviewers have visited 31 taco shops and critiqued 104 burritos. So far, a general consensus has identified The Taco Stand in downtown La Jolla as having the best California burrito, but there are many more to try. Here, the average burrito costs about $7 and is about 850mL in volume. Further, they explore correlations between burrito dimensions, such as the quality of the meat and nonmeat fillings, and identify a novel correlation between tortillas and Yelp ratings.

The 10-dimensional burrito

Contrary to popular belief, burritos do not merely exist in 3 dimensions. They transcend the physical limitations of space. From polling several San Diegans, we’ve established the 10 core dimensions of the San Diego burrito.

  1. Volume – “size matters,” “bigger is better,” or whatever your favorite innuendo is fits because there’s nothing more disconcerting than ordering a burrito and not being full.
  2. Tortilla quality
  3. Temperature – the Goldilocks zone
  4. Meat quality
  5. Non-meat filling quality
  6. Meat : filling – The ratio between meat and non-meat. Perhaps the golden ratio: 1.6180339887…
  7. Uniformity – Bites full of sour cream and cheese with no meat are disappointing.
  8. Salsa quality – and variety!
  9. Flavor synergy – “That magical aspect a great burrito has, making everything come together like it is a gift from the skies” – A wise Dutchman
  10. Wrap integrity – you ordered a burrito, not a burrito bowl.

All of these measures (except for Volume) are rated on a scale from 0 to 5, 0 being terrible, and 5 being optimal. In the future, Meat:Filling and Temperature measures may stray from this subjective scale in order to better quantify these two valuable burrito characteristics. Additionally, acquisition of a portable scale will allow collection of mass. Cost (in USD) and hunger level (on the same 0-5 scale) are measured as potential control factors.

In the full article, you will find also:

  • Motivation
  • Where can I get the best burrito?
  • The MNIST (Mexican National Institute for Sustenance Taste) burrito database
  • Linear models to predict overall burrito quality
  • Correlations: Difficult to interpret and possibly spurious
  • Reviewer ratings vs. Yelp ratings
  • Future plans

Click here to read the original article.

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