So. CAL (Roberto-style) Mexican in SF?
- Marc Schoenfeld
I have lamented the lack of -erto style Mexican food since leaving San Diego in 1997 and have yet to find anything that compares here. I'm looking for the classic Carne Asada Burrito, Steak, Salsa, Guac and that's all; none of this rice filler shamefullness that goes on up here. Though I have broken down and have learned to enjoy somewhat the style here at certain places, it will never be up to the level of set by the -ertos.
re: Marc Schoenfeld
Most burrito joints I frequent in SF use fresh avocado instead of guac... hard to water that down.
Most also will kick down some extra meat for a $1, upon request.
May I suggest, El Farolito, one of the better burrito joints in my opinion. They will surely accomodate such requests and, perhaps, get you closer to your burrito memories.
You know, I lived in Washington D.C. for several years and once complained to the Washington Post food critic at the time (Phyllis Richmond) that there was no good pizza, like in NY. She kindly reminded me that every region/city has its unique food history and distinct specialties... and, that's what makes them unique.
If every pizzeria in every town sold tastey slices like those in NYC, what would be so special about NYC
Perhaps the same goes for your So. Cal burritos.
To paraphrase another poster on this board; nostalgia, like hunger, is a wonderful sauce.
I realize this is a long ways off, but if you ever find yourself in Santa Cruz, try Tacos Moreno on Water Street. I don't think you'll be disappointed. As a southern Cal native, currently in NYC, with extended experience in the bay area, I share your sentiments re the burrito situation there. I've written on this topic as well, so we're not alone. Cheers.
When I moved here many years ago from Texas I was shocked! Rice in burritos, what's up with that????? Anyway, I spent about three years looking for Tex-Mex and SoCal-Mex before I gave up. Even though eventually I found a few dishes in a few places that could approximate what I grew up eating, it is completely impossible to factor in price. I never found the quality & quantity & the same prices as Texas or Southern Cal in one location. ($3 for a bland tamale? I was used to $8 for a spicy dozen!)
After 16 years in SF, I can accept what's good about the SF-Mex scene and just gorge myself on hometown favorites once a year when I go back to Texas.
re: Mike Epstein
I am rarely in Mountain View, but I'll put it on my list. Whenever I go to a place purporting to be "Tex-Mex", I ask where the owner is from and what makes their food Tex-Mex - that gives me an idea what to expect.
For me, Tex-Mex is not just about lack of rice - its about fresh, spicy food that doesn't get all of its heat from jalapeno but from a balance and mix of a specific range of herbs & spices. Its hard for me to explain - I guess Tex-Mex is sorta like "Art" - I know it when I see it (or taste it)!
Try La Taqueria, on Mission St at 25th St. in SF. No rice in those burritos--just lots of tasty carne asada or carnitas, beans, and salsa. My favorite are the tacos though--esp. with lots of fresh chopped (not pureed) avocado.
I love this little place in the Fruitvale area of Oakland. Authentic mexican taqueria (birria, slow simmered meats that fall apart in the yummy chile-laden sauces, menudo on the weekends, etc.) Might be worth the drive from the city.
Los Arcos Taqueria
3359 Foothill Boulevard
Oakland, CA 94601
(510) 532 - 3070 (Voice)