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The Right Bite Idea

Christopher Gardner

The Whole Enchilada: World Wrapps rolls out burritos that are global in taste and size.

By Ami Chen Mills

Be it duck, goat cheese, tofu, shrimp or snapper, wrap it up--we'll take it

WE WHO EAT FAST FOODS have waited too long for someone, anyone, to take the basic concept of burrito (all-in-one convenience, affordability, speed) and raise it from mushy, starch-intensive and tasteless lows to glorious, veggie-packed, piquant highs. Well, the time has come and the place is World Wrapps, with one fortuitous county location on University Avenue in Palo Alto. Although a rash of recent spin-offs are creating a West Coast wrap attack, the four savvy Californians who started World Wrapps claim they were the first to think of wraps. And just in time.

At World Wrapps, burritos come in international flavors and colors, packed with fresh vegetables, tofu, seafood, meats and even Peking duck. Slurp these mostly delicious wraps down with fresh fruit smoothies like Blue Mango Boost ($2.25/$3.25) and Peanut Butter Banana ($2.15/$2.95) and bingo, you're happy, healthy and full in record time.

World Wrapps is currently so busy, it's rare to walk in and not find a crowd lined up at the counter or waiting for orders in the noisy, brightly painted dining room. Because of the crush--and overwhelmed management?--the ordering and waiting process at World Wrapps can feel chaotic. But the food is worth the wait.

World Wrapps has clued into the mysterious appeal of foreign foods: that is, mix hot and salty with sweet and tart for maximum palate pique. Two outrageously good wraps which follow this formula are the mango snapper ($5.95) stuffed with snapper, mango salsa, rice, avocado and ginger slaw; and the roasted veggie wrap ($4.95)--99 percent fat free--stuffed with zucchini, yellow squash, red bell peppers, Japanese eggplant, rice, black beans and balsamic tomato salsa.

The wraps at World Wrapps can be inconsistent. The Samurai Salmon special sounded great in concept, but at $6.95 was unbearably dry. (I asked for extra sauce.) Also, two ingredients were missing--but at World Wrapps the help is so busy, you're reluctant to bug them or wait again for food. The Bombay curried vegetable wrap ($4.95) tasted bland, and my Teriyaki Tofu ($4.50) wrap was flavorful and filling but had a large tear on one side, while the other side was wrapped eight intimidating whole-wheat tortilla layers thick. Smoothies I've tried, like the Luna C ($2.25/$3.25) and the Tropical Storm (same price) are unsubtle, being predominately one flavor.

But what World Wrapps lacks in consistency, it makes up for in inspired combinations that keep customers coming back for more--in droves. By all means, give World Wrapps a try, but pick your favorites and stick to them while the restaurant catches up with its own popularity. World Wrapps is located at 201 University Ave., Palo Alto. Phone and fax order services. Phone 415-327-9777; fax 415-327-8679. Open daily, 10:30am­11pm.

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From the August 29-September 4, 1996 issue of Metro

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