At One L.A. Gas Station, Robots Will Make Your Burrito

Our man on the West Coast takes the first-ever Burrito Box vending machine for a spin, and befriends a porn star in the process.

A writer and a porn star walk into a gas station. Each is attempting to buy a burrito from a first-of-its-kind vending machine. Sounds like the setup to a vaudeville-esque joke, except that’s exactly how it played out. But let’s back up for a moment.

Situated inside a Mobil Gas Station in West Hollywood, CA, is Burrito Box – a bright orange computerized kiosk that immediately evokes thoughts of Red Box. But instead of DVDs, it spits out burrito combinations like uncured bacon with egg and cheese, free-range chicken with beans and rice, shredded beef and cheese, roasted potato with egg and cheese, and chorizo sausage with egg and cheese.

After navigating an easy-to-use touch screen that (unfortunately) provides nutritional facts before turning itself into a jukebox as the “magic happens,” ultimately a burrito appears in the chute, along with any condiments you’ve ordered for an additional fee (sour cream, Tabasco, guacamole). All in, you’re looking at about $4 for a regular unleaded burrito.

It was about 2 pm on a Wednesday when my editor at Maxim gave me the greenlight for my culinary adventure. At 3, I entered the relatively chic gas station market, deciding that I would lose my Burrito Box virginity to free-range chicken. After following the instructions and hearing the machine switch on, I was but a minute away from sampling the goods, when I was suddenly greeted by an error message. Fail.

I decided to try again – perhaps the little sprites inside the machine were out of certain ingredients? – but another error message popped up. Just then, a guy who seemed to be around my age came over and asked if I was trying to get a burrito. I informed him that I was, but that the machine seemed to be broken. Undeterred, he decided to try it for himself. He, too, was greeted by an error message, but to make matters worse, the machine also took his money. He joked that this would be bad news for Burrito Box, as he has 10K Twitter followers. Naturally, I asked him what he did. Without flinching, he answered, “porn star.”

Ladies and gentleman, I wasn’t Eskimo Brothers with this man (pictured above), who turned out to be Dane Cross – AVN winner for Best Newcomer in 2010 – but we did hope to be Burrito Box brothers.

Dane was focused. Another swipe, and the same thing happened. I’m a man of patience, but I couldn’t imagine spending another hour at this gas station waiting for some maintenance guy to satiate our culinary delights. It was then that, as a last ditch effort, Dane reached inside the little chute… And there they were. Whether they were our burritos or merely a glorious gift from the stoner Gods, we were now primed to get our grub on

In the end, the burritos themselves were pretty much what you’d expect from a machine that spits out pre-wrapped Mexican fare. They had a strange consistency. It was hard to determine meat from beans.  As Dane put it, “It’s similar to a microwaved burrito, but not as bland, and more evenly cooked.”

While the burrito angle (new name for a sex position?) didn’t prove to be as juicy of a tidbit as I’d hoped, I did learn that Dane was shooting a scene with a starlet named Allison Moore just a few hours later. Which led me to wonder, for a porn veteran like Dane Cross, who has had hundreds of sexual partners, what’s more thrilling: Burrito Box or sex?

“I can think of about a hundred or so instances when a burrito can be more satisfying than shooting a sex scene. It’s work; we get paired up with people we can’t really even stand to converse with, let alone fuck. But, we are actors! So, the show must go on. With that, it becomes not as satisfying at the end of the day if you work with someone whom you have zero connection with. You could use this vending machine as metaphor for the porn business. I used her burrito box and came away satisfied.”

Only in Los Angeles do you come for a burrito and stay for the sexcapade tales. Dane and I bid each other a fond farewell – united in the notion that you gotta do what you gotta do to earn a living in this town. Would I recommend Burrito Box? No way. As for Dane Cross, “Alas, the future is not here yet. For now, I’ll just stick to Taco Bell. But not before [shooting] a scene.”

And there you have it.