Nate Silver's Forgotten Dream: Picking Chicago's Best Burrito

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Nov 8, 2012 7:00PM

Nate Silver is riding a post-Election Day high after he used statistics and analysis, instead of partisan bloviating, to predict Barack Obama’s re-election. (Silver was a perfect 51-for-51 Tuesday.)

Sales of Silver’s book, The Signal and the Noise, have skyrocketed since he ran the table. But before he became the darling of political prognosticators, Silver used his analysis to forecast simpler things. Like developing the PECOTA system that’s one of the foundations of Baseball Prospectus.

Silver also used his statistics in an attempt to find Chicago’s best burrito. Well, not all of Chicago; just the best one in the Wicker Park. In 2007 Silver set up the “Burrito Bracket,” which aimed to find the best burrito in the neighborhood most synonymous with Chicago’s hipster population. Here’s what we wrote about it five years ago.

With 19 places to evaluate, Burrito Bracket has some intense eating in store. Though we think it would have made sense to eat the same thing at each place (al pastor or carne asada would have been good options), instead each match-up features the same dish. Recent items featured include torta de milanesa, chicken tacos and chorizo tacos.

Problem was Silver never completed the bracket: the Burrito Bracket ended around the time he began blogging about political analysis for Daily Kos under the pseudonym “Poblano.” The rest, as they say, is history.

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(We’re still waiting for Silver to complete this bracket. Maybe he has some time now.)