hi, i’m richard. at the 2010 london twestival, chilango, the mexican food chain donated a prize in aid of concern. the prize was a year’s free burrito meals, luckily i won! just as i was about to selfishly stuff my face with burritos, i began to experience twitter envy. in a moment of weakness (or greatness?!), i decided to share the prize by taking a different girl for a burrito every week for a whole year! how generous of me 😉 this is the story of the 52 burrito dates…
(update 9 May 2011)

… the story of the 52 burrito dates has concluded. I hope you have enjoyed reading. Thank you!


#52 – Sarah F.

burrito date 52

This final date was all about closure for me. And I apologise to my date for that. Former Irish footballer Tony Cascarino was once asked whether scoring a goal was a better feeling than sex. He replied that the feeling was more like masturbation than sex, it’s more relief than pleasure. And that’s exactly how I felt.

To be fair to Sarah, she was a perfect final date. She probably has more dating experience than I do. She is a freelance writer based in Hertfordshire, and writes for newspapers and monthly magazines mostly, and has become a dating expert through her writing. Her dating blog, Loves of a London Girl is part of this. So I had met my match!

We went for a drink in the Cittie of York pub just off Chancery Lane. It was a typical first date greeting, same old chat. We quickly moved on to what we have learned about dating. The best thing, and the tip that is a cliche, be yourself. She told of her worst date being with a guy who was a good few years younger than her, who insulted her all evening thinking he was flirting. Then at the end of the evening, he appeared surprised that she didn’t want to meet him again. I can empathise with that, I used to be one of those guys who thought that insulting was flirting. At least I learned something.

The focal point of the date was the VIP party for the launch of the 5th Chilango restaurant on 76 Chancery lane. It was packed. We squeezed into the smart new interior, designed with a Mexican Street style to it, and grabbed a couple of Coronas and burritos. I’ve mentioned it numerous times before, but the food never fails to disappoint. A new place, same great burritos. A cheap compliment you might think, but I mean it.

A year ago when I met these guys, they were dipping their toes into social media, and they really have got the hang of it now. The gave out free burritos the next day, and the word spread so fast that they were trending on Twitter. There were 1 ½ hr queues all day. Chilango is a great example of building a brand, and one I am very fond of. Their co-owner Eric, and head of marketing, Shannon, have been great to me through out the year, and I wish them every success in the future.

The party was fun, I choose not to go to the after party. Preferring to go home early, I’m not sure what Sarah made of that. I was probably being a bit selfish, and I apologised to her for that.

My mate asked me what would I change about all this in hindsight.  I have lived with this for over a year, and analysed it to death. But in the end, I have stuck with the original premise. And I wouldn’t change a thing.

And what now? The story of the 52 burrito dates has come to it’s natural conclusion and that’s the ending that I am comfortable with. Rina has kindly offered to continue the blog as a sequel, but any continuation would change the nature of the blog. The blog set the challenge of 52 burrito dates, and now that it has been achieved, it is over now.

So a final BIG thank you to all the burrito babes who have taken part, and to you the readers! Take the burrito love and go forth!

#51 – Rina

Remember Eevil Midget from date number 45? She became date 51 as well. I met her outside Chilango on Upper St for the penultimate time. I really have become a damn fine burrito eater, I must have eaten between 100 and 150 of the meet, beans, rice, salsa, cheese, sour-cream, lettuce and guacamole – 1,000 calorie burritos (guesstimate)! And today was my best yet. Not one bit spilled out and I only needed to use one napkin! The same can’t be said for Rina, who resorted to eating the burrito with her fingers, that’s the first time that’s happened!

Rina is the girl from the Philippines, attractive, outgoing, into art, works in advertising and almost as mad about Social Media as I am. I’ve got more followers than her though, which I don’t think she likes. We met once since our last date, but have Tweeted, emailed and text-ed as well. And while we hit it off on the date, it didn’t develop in cyberspace as well as I had hoped. But I guess I was keen to give it another date to see if there was something more than friends.

We talked Social Media and work. One of the things I like about Rina is all the fun stuff she does outside of work, for example this weekend she is working of the Becks Pub / Art Crawl in Shoreditch.

Dan from Lucky Voice, the Karaoke place, got in touch a few weeks ago. They do private booths and so it seemed like the perfect post burrito date activity. Singing isn’t something that I’ve ever done well, it wasn’t going to be my comfort zone. But I felt I knew Rina a little bit already and wasn’t worried if my voice didn’t impress her.

Rina on the other hand could sing. We ordered a couple of whiskeys and she got the ball rolling with The Sundays. I sang a couple of old staples like Westlife’s Mandy and Elvis’s In The Getto. We dueted on Wheetus’ Teenage Dirtbag and The Killers’ Mr. Brightside. An hour and a half had passed before we knew it.

She used to sing in church as a kid in the Philippines. I used to do the same in Ireland. They must have better singing priests in the Philippines. Rina thought I could sing, I just needed to try a little harder. I told her it’s that kind of support that leads to deluded tone deaf appearing on X-Factor. I won’t be trying harder. But I would do this kind of date again, if I had discovered Lucky Voice on Upper St. earlier on in the Burrito Dating adventure, I would have used it more often.

There were moments in the booth when I thought differently, you know the feeling when you’re singing face to face with a girl the lyrics ‘It was only a kiss, it was only a kiss’… but walking Rina to the tube at the end of the date it was clear to me that this burrito dating episode wouldn’t have a romantic ending. Ah well, we tried.

So, 1 to go. I’ve pencilled it in for next Wednesday but I haven’t organised a date yet. I have been trying to finish with a splash, dating someone famous. You know like, if you could have a burrito date with anyone in the world, who would it be type of finale. No joy as yet, I’ll keep ya posted.

Vote for Rina!

#50 – Sophie D.

I was introduced to date number 50 in a pub called Flithy McNasty’s on St. Patricks Day. It was late in the evening and I had had a few drinks. I told her
friend that I thought she was hot. We chatted; she had a soft Australian accent, brown hair, green eyes. Shortly after being told her name I forgot it, and realised that I was making a very poor attempt at trying to impress her. The words I was desparately trying to say just wouldn’t come out. I remember thinking, ‘I am getting nowhere here’! Then waving her away, back to her friends. I left the pub shortly afterwards.

Early the next morning, I joined the same group of friends on the train to Cheltenham races. To my surprise and delight, Sophie was coming along for the day also. I quickly made a joke about forgetting her name, and apologised for my sudden departure the night before.

Cheltenham was great, the sun was shining and the racing was class. Sophie and I kept running off and placing bets. She hadn’t done it much, even though she is from Melbourne. After lots of drinks, and lots of laughts, we sat beside each other on the train on the way back. She told me how she met our mutual friend, Kate while traveling in Argentina. It was Kate who Sophie was visiting for a week here in London. She told me stories of her current studies in Salamanca. I also spent a year studying in Europe, and had a rough idea of the kind of disorganised-fun year she was having.

The next morning we went to Broadway market and played board games over coffee. I liked her carefree attitude, and found her good company. She has been travelling a lot, and is at ease meeting new people. It was another stunning day, so we took a walk by the canal and took some photos. I had told her about 52 burrito dates, and she was keen to take part. She asked could she be date number 50 though. That afternoon we watched the 6 nations in Convent Garden. Sophie didn’t really get rugby, but she was happy to sit through the match. Again, she was fun to hang out with for the day.

The actual Burrito Date lacked the spark of our previous meetings.  We agreed to meet again on the Tuesday for our burrito date. A friend of mine, Damien, was taking part in a play, A Cure for a Cuckold, in the Cochrane Theatre. It was a classical English play about obsession, love and betrayal of friendship. Damien was great and easier to understand than the others as his part required a strong Irish accent. I collected the burritos in Chilango on Fleet St., and we ate them in upstairs in the Cochrane café. We didn’t have to pretend we were on a first date, but we did anyway. Sophie was going back to Spain the next day, and was exhausted from her adventures week in England that saw her in Wales, Oxford, Cheltenham and Greenwich. I was fairly shattered as well.

The play dragged on a bit, and at the end it felt like Sophie and I we’re were doing the same. It fizzled out. Not sure why. She chatted online, about probably not writing about it on the blog. However, although our actual burrito date was not the best; I’ll still remember her as one of the best dates. And for that reason I had to oblige to her original request, and make her number 50.

Vote for Sophie!

#49 – Richelle

Richelle writes for a website called Young & Poor. The site is run by a girl called Ranji, who I met through The London Blog Club. Their site is all about the great things you can do in London, for very little cost. And of course we decided to do something recommended on their website for our date. On Thursdays the National Portrait gallery opens late, and we decided to go there. Richelle is young (at 21 she is the youngest burrito date!), and poor, well I don’t know if she is poor, but she is still a student. Generally, I wouldn’t mind dating a 21 year old, depending out how young she acted, I would have more difficulty dating a student, as our livestyles would be too different.

She studies classics in Kings College. She particularly enjoys the Greek History. I would like to have studied history to that extent more. She told me a story, or a love poem from ancient Greece, where in it the man turns to the woman and says, stop ironing your hair, it is burning it to bits. Or words to that effect. We both concluded that people change very little. I wonder has my behaviour towards females changed as much as I imagine in the past year. Probably not.

Everywhere I go in London lately reminds me of a burrito date. Like the way one might feel about an ex-girlfriend. For the past year, the burrito first dates, have been my girlfriend.  For this date, number 49, Richelle and I met by the Trafalgar Lions, much like date number 9. I have brought the burritos from Chilango on Fleet st., and we ate them in the middle of the square surrounded by tourists, as the newly acquired late-evening daylight faded away.

Richelle said that she loves all the things they put on in Trafalgar Square. At the moment there is a clock counting down to the 2012 Olympics. They day actually changed while we were looking at the clock, it switches over at 7:30pm in the evening, must be the time of the opening ceremony on the 27th of July 2012 (which will, incidentally, be my 29th Birthday). I am so excited about the Olympics, in fact in is the single most exciting thing that is taking place between now and next summer. I do some work through Marketing related to the Olympics, Richelle on the other hand is involved in the Olympics from a cultural perspective. She is part of a group that advises museums how to attract a younger audience, and is currently helping the Museum of London. After our burrito, we had our photo taken by the clock.

In the National Portrait galley we viewed the contemporary permanent collection.  There was a lot of work by Tracy Emin and Sarah Lucas, who are both just annoying and vulgar. We saw an interesting series of photographs of English people in New York. The photos were great, and so were the stories. The idea could work for me, as part of an exhibition of Irish people in London, or Richellle, Filipino people in London.

Up we went to a packed top floor for a cocktail. The view of the London skyline was spectacular as usual. The atmosphere was great, as were the cocktails served by an enthusiastic bar man. However, the conversation was dying out. I sensed that Richelle was worried that the date wasn’t going well, and that I might not write a nice post. For all the above reasons, I enjoyed the date. Richelle is nice, nothing superficial and deluded about, and she is good company. But like many other of these burrito dates, a second date is probably not likely.

Vote for Richelle!

#48 – Kathryn M.

Burrito date 48

This time last year, the 25th of March 2010 to be precise, I won a year’s supply of Burritos at London Twitter festival, a prize from which this blog emerged a few weeks later. So when Twestival came along again, it seemed only natural that I would take a date to the event. I opened up the invitation to people attending Twestival with a blog post on their site, asking those interested in being my date to comment. Kathryn responded and the burrito date 48 was set in motion.

Kathryn is from Carlow in Ireland, and we have mutual friends (35 according to Facebook). She spent many years studying in Edinburgh so I don’t know her as well as I would her friends. She originally studied something along the lines of textile designs, and that interest in fashion is evident in her style.  I knew that she would be good company at Twestival, where we would be chatting to lots of different people, and  I was glad when she wanted to come on a date with me.

As well as having friends in common, Kathryn is also a blogger. She is passionate about cooking, from what I’ve seen she is excellent and has a unique original twist to everything she cooks. I’ve been really impressed with how quickly she has taken to blogging, on her blog Tasty Ribbons, and she also makes great cooking tutorial videos.

We met at Chilango on Fleet St., first for a burrito. It was a bit awkward at first, because we already new each other, for some reason. We joked about it though, and soon we were asking those first date questions that you never get the chance to ask a friend of a friend. We were soon getting on well, so well that I wondered why we hadn’t done something like this before.

Soon we were checking into the Cape Bar a short walk away, where Twestival was taking place. The venue was a wide open bar, with most of the fun on the stage, from various music acts, to karaoke and a charity raffle. There were screens with live tweets, you can see my tweet in the below image if you look close enough! Eric and Shannon from Chilango were there feeding the crowd with their amazing burritos, I’ve gotten to know them over the year and they are really nice people. They are opening the 5th Chilango in Holborn soon, and I wish them lots more success in the future. They had kindly donated another prize for the raffle, and asked me what I’d do if I won? Dates more burrrito babes of course!!

I met all my old colleagues from We Are Social, who I haven’t seen in months. It was great to catch up offline and in person! They are another small company who are doing great things, also opening their 5th office soon. They played a big role in the beginning of this journey: it was with them that I attending last year’s event and they helped get the word out there from the first tweet, as well as on their blog. A big thank you to them as well!

Alas I didn’t win the prize again, so the slim chance of more burrito dates won’t be happening. I bumped in to one of the top Social Media bloggers, Adam Vincenzini. He was telling me that he did a blogging adventure about how he went one year without reading newspapers. Near the end of it, he said there was pressure to go out with a bang as people asked him how he would finish it. He told them, it’s just another week in a long year. That’s exactly how I feel about the burrito dates, and it was nice to hear that from someone who had been there, done it.

Is this post getting a bit sentential? Well that’s not how the date was. It was very much focused on Kathryn. She made me laugh all night, and had ALL my attention. Check out this video of Kathryn on helium!

At around 11 we left to go for a quieter drink somewhere. I gave her a cross bar on my bike, probably a bit silly but so much fun. Then in a bar by Old St round about, we kissed. I hadn’t planned it at all, it just kind of happened. I think we’re both glad it did. I don’t think there will be another date though, as there I think she likes another boy. And so another chapter ends, 4 to go.

Vote for Kathryn!

#47 Nalia S.

Burrito date 47

This is a video I came across from Helen Fisher on Ted.com about Romantic Love. The video was shared over one fellow date blogger The Date Guy, (a good read for those who will have a gap in their regular weekly date blog slot soon!). The talk is about love and the role it plays today, including a clever quote from George Bernard Shaw

‘Love consists of over-estimating the difference between one woman and another’

Her talk gets very scientific, and most of the words go over my head. It is her message at the end, about the relationship between drugs in modern society and love, especially on anti-depressants – and that is the link to Nalia. Burrito Date no. 47 would not have the same difficulty. She studied bio-chemistry and deals with drugs every day in her job. I learned so much about the industry from listening to her; in short, pharamaceuticals  are really bad. They are only in it for the money. But they do find some amazing drugs, Nalia told me about a drug that can cure the paralysing effects of epilepsy (although not without it’s side affects it has to be said). The fact that I was so interested in Nalia talking about medicine is more down to how much fun she is. She’s got a bubbly, lively fun personality. One that I wouldn’t typically match with a bio-chemist!

We moved away from sciency stuff, and I asked her a question I heard at an induction in work recently: would you prefer the body of a guy and the face of a woman, or the body of a woman, and the face of a guy? She gave a very calculating response, and leaned on the site of a guys body so that she could be better at sport! What would you have said?

There was no theme planned for this date. Being the eve of St. Patrick’s day it could have had an Irish theme. It could have been in the air, but we ended up talking about Ireland. I was surprised how little Nalia knew about it. She was never taught Irish history in school. She thought that the ‘troubles’ and the North-South divide were to do with internal political issues, and not aware of the role that the UK played. I explained bits and pieces, but it reminded me that I take for granted what people might or might not know about the country I am from, and vice-versa with some of the burrito dates. Nalia was interested though, and this could have been a more Irish-themed burrito date.

There was no event planned for afterwards either, we stayed until closing time. But we could have gone salsa dancing, or anything Brazilian-related. Although English through and through, the Brazilian culture is one that Nalia likes a lot. She had just come from Portuguese language classes that evening, but only likes the Brazilian version of the language! She has even tried Capoeria, and I imagine that if there was a Brazilian themed poetry reading, she would even have been excited about that.

This is one of those dates that was great fun, we just got on well. I’m don’t know if we would have the same fun a second time, and I don’t think there is time to find out. Too many dates, not enough burritos!

Vote for Nalia!

#46 – Ivanka v.m and Grace F.

Did you hear the one about 2 Girls and 1 Burrito?

I found myself going on a date with two girls on Thursday, Ivanka from Cape Town, and Grace from Indiana. They are friends from the Master’s course in Philosophy that they study at LSE. When Ivanka first got in touch, I suggested we go to one of the LSE public events; there is a Martin Wolf talk on the economy next Wednesday. She told me that would be way too boring, and suggested we go to a gig instead.

I thought I was meeting serious Master’s students, and I ended up with two college girls who were the most entertainment I’ve had on a date yet. Many of their jokes were un-postable, especially the ones about funny anti-feminist chat.

We met at Chilango on Fleet St, and the girls had already had a few drinks. Happy days. At the beginning of the 52 Burrito Dates story, I steered away from dating two girls at once, thinking it would set a bad precedent for a girl bringing along a friend for support. Ivanka was very persuasive so I agreed (and the fact that I wanted to write ‘2 girls 1 burrito’ in a blog post). But it mixed things up nicely. Just 3 people going to a gig together, grabbing some food beforehand and having a few drinks.

The band was The Boxer Rebellion, playing at Heaven. And yes, the girls asked the cab driver to take us to heaven. Heaven is normally a gay club when it’s not a gig venue. But there were a lot of guys there, Ivanka joked that her low cut top wouldn’t even help her get served at the bar. Both the girls like the band: Grace mostly because they feature in a rom-com called Going the Distance; Ivanka knows both their albums. She really likes music and, like, only ever listens to live albums instead studio albums. The gig was great, really good. I think there were about 1,000 people there, and the band were amazing. I enjoyed it a lot.

There was a bit of flirting going on. And I did enjoy having a girl on each arm.Now if I was back at Pick Up Artist bootcamp, I’d be given advice on how to play the two girls off each other. Make them work for my attention. I’m told there is a chapter in The Game all about how to work two girls. I haven’t read it, but I can’t help thinking if I had a few tricks up my sleve things would have turned out differently. How would you have got on? I think girls are better than guys at making people jealous, what do you think?

Afterwards I suggested Gordon’s Wine bar nearby, Grace is claustrophobic and that wouldn’t work. We walked a bit, but then I decided to leave the two college girls continue their night. So did I like them? I liked them both a little bit, they were very different but their sense of humour made them friends. Grace plays a lot of tennis, and talks about movies a lot. While Ivanka is genuinely very funny, she doesn’t sound like she takes anything seriously. She’s got a tattoo on her wrist, ‘so it goes…’ from her favourite book. And adopts that Ce la vie attitude to everything.

Writing this I trying to decide which girl I liked more, and if I really liked either of them and I can’t make my mind up. So 2 girls 1… Does it work? I can’t come to a conclusion on that one either. This date seems to be a compromise between having fun and having an actual date. I’m going to try the double date thing again with two different girls to compare notes.

Vote for Ivanka & Grace!