Why San Diego Burritos are the best.
I was recently reading the Union-Tribune's "Burrito Chronicles" and I found myself in total agreement with both the author and the "burrito expert" they interviewed in the article. Before we really get going here is the original article:
And a follow up article:
In San Diego when you order a burrito you get something simple but honest which doesn't try to be something it isn't. The tortilla is lightly toasted and you won't find junk filler like rice and beans in our burritos; instead if you order carnitas then your burrito is filled with carnitas and little else. Plus there is normally a great salsa bar filled with freshly made salsa. If you go north of San Diego and get further from the border burritos turn into something wholy less satisfying. They start to steam the tortillas so that it becomes soggy and has difficulty keeping its shape. If you order a carne asada burrito there is very little actual carne asada in it and most of the burrito is just junk filler such as rice & beans. It costs a bit more to have an honest burrito but once you have one you just don't want a junk burrito.
I agree that many SD taquerias keep it simple, but there are plenty of glaring exceptions. I'm not sure adding rice makes a burrito illegitimate (maybe someone who is a little more of a burrito nazi could provide some more insight) but I also prefer the simple style you mention. I disagree with your comment that "If you go north of SD and get further from the border burritos turninto something whilly less satisfying." You ever had in Mexican in L.A.? Mexican food in the area I grew up (Monterey Bay) is excellent. Go to Salinas or Watsonville (or even Santa Cruz) and tell me they don't know what they're doing. My impression is that the Mexicans may be from another area of Mexico, so the food IS different, but it's not inferior. The SF area is another story. My buddy from Sonora (who lives in San Jose and used to live in SF but spent his teenage years in L.A.) claims he can't find decent Mexican food anywhere but the catering trucks.
Amen to that!
When I moved from San Diego to Bakersfield, I was disappointed to find all the burritos here filled with rice & beans. What was up with that? Don't these people know any better?
Then came the glorious day when an Alberto's opened up here. Whoo-who! Their carne asada burrito (no rice & beans inside!) was a welcome sight. I make sure to eat there once a week. I'm hoping they stay in business.
I just noticed the latest edition of the burrito chronicles.
The entry to notice is this one:
Cabeza burrito ($3.99
)10 out of 10 beans
Kyle says: My first face. What did it look/taste like? Like pork. Except it's not. It's face (cow face). These fools thought they were laying a joke with the recommendation, even calling cabeza "brain" like this was "Fear Factor," but a new flavor is no skin off my ... OK, so maybe not the best meat on the rack (stringy, chewy in spots, a tad salty), and I didn't get to point and pick ("li'l right cheek, li'l left ear"), but there was next to no gristle, and after swallowing some ash and some coffee on the drive back to work, I slid into my desk chair and oozed into a curiously potent burrito head(!)-coma, coasting fuzzily until day's end.
This subject Really gets my attention.
oerdin, if you search on 'mission burrito' you will find evidence of the Good Fight between those of us who know the True Burrito, and those who are under the influence of an evil tract within San Francisco (and elsewhere) where burritos are willingly stuffed with unnecessary ingredients.
It seems that some businesses of West Dogpatch, er, Bakersfield, have fallen under the spell of this evil influence. I chalk it up to working class Bubba of all ethnicities.
Hang in there.