We use bay leaves to add a subtle depth of flavor to dishes like our beans, rice, Barbacoa, and Carnitas. We remove the leaves from our rice before serving, though we've been known to miss one here and there. So, if you happen to catch a bay leaf in your bowl and think we've somehow served you a leaf of an oak tree "from outside"—your words, not ours—know that it's actually the leaf of a plant called Bay Laurel. Like the unassuming bassist of a rock band, it usually fades into the background but plays an instrumental (get it?) role in your dish.
Keeping mediocrity at bay
Despite playing backup in your burrito, the bay leaf once took center stage in ancient Greece and Rome. The Greek god Apollo wore wreaths made of interlocking branches of the Bay Laurel plant. So did successful athletes, poets, and military leaders. To "rest on one's laurels" simply means to rely on your past laurel-wreath-worthy successes. When you think about it, that stray bay leaf in your bowl seems actually, well, lucky. You're welcome.