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True SoCal Rolled Tacos in Bay Area?

belanger Jan 4, 2010 03:16 PM

I've been searching for true Southern California rolled tacos up here ever since I moved to SF in 1994. Before I continue, I need to define "rolled tacos," because the NorCal equivalents, like flautas, are *not* rolled tacos. A proper rolled taco is:

- made of a tightly-rolled corn tortilla
- stuffed with shredded chicken or beef
- deep-fried
- covered in guacamole, grated cheddar and cotija cheese

I've attached a picture to make it crystal clear.

I'm aware of a place in Fairfield called Adalberto's, which appears to have the goods, at least based on the look of their menu, but I'm hoping for something closer to SF.

In case you can't tell, I really like rolled tacos. When I step off the plane while visiting my mother in San Diego, the first place I drive my rental car is to Hilberto's for 3 rolled tacos, not home.

End a 15 year quest and point me to local rolled tacos...

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  1. m
    ML8000 RE: belanger Jan 4, 2010 03:27 PM

    Just wondering, then how are flautas not rolled tacos? Your description of rolled tacos fits flautas to the t.

    4 Replies
    1. re: ML8000
      jennyo RE: ML8000 Jan 4, 2010 04:04 PM

      Trust me, there is a difference. Flautas are usually made with flour tortillas. Rolled tacos (in the San Diego sense) are made from corn tortillas, but I find them more commonly referred to here in NorCal as "taquitos."

      Unfortunately, Belanger, I do not know of any 'berto's type places in the Bay Area. I live in Sacramento and there are tons of them here. They even have Alberto's in St. George Utah. Not sure why they aren't in the Bay, but I suspect it has something to do with the mission burrito snobs.

      1. re: jennyo
        ML8000 RE: jennyo Jan 4, 2010 04:58 PM

        Flour tortillas? I can name 4 or 5 places that make what the OP describes, with corn tortillas, chicken, beef and topped with gauc, Mexican cheese, etc. I've only seen flour tortillas offered as an option...and a bad one at that.

        Just about every recipe calls for corn tortillas. However since I'm not certain it's the same thing, I hesitate. Also having grown in SoCal, I've never heard the term "rolled taco". Taquito and flautas, yes. Rolled taco, no. Oh well.

        1. re: ML8000
          Pei RE: ML8000 Jan 4, 2010 05:00 PM

          I grew up in LA and always heard them referred to as taquitos too. This is the first I'm hearing of a rolled taco. And definitely always corn flour.

          That said, I do see taquitos less often in San Francisco than I did in LA.

          1. re: ML8000
            cornflower55 RE: ML8000 Jan 5, 2010 02:18 PM

            ML8000 -- If you name the 4 or 5 places, then we can figure out whether they provide what the OP is looking for.

      2. Robert Lauriston RE: belanger Jan 4, 2010 04:16 PM

        Yeah, they call those taquitos here, just like they do in Mexico.


        5 Replies
        1. re: Robert Lauriston
          cornflower55 RE: Robert Lauriston Jan 5, 2010 11:28 PM

          belanger -- you are not alone in your search. here's a kqed blogpost on the subject (more for those who can't think of "authentic" mexican as being anything other than a san francisco burrito):


          in the comments they do mention el cachanilla on 21st near harrison in sf, and los panchos in san ramon. definitely on my to do list.

          this seems like an opportunity for someone with a taco cart and some entrepreneurial spirit

          1. re: cornflower55
            Robert Lauriston RE: cornflower55 Jan 6, 2010 09:26 AM

            I'm not sure El Cachanilla has taquitos. The $1 window definitely has only tacos al vapor.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston
              drewskiSF RE: Robert Lauriston Jan 6, 2010 04:39 PM

              what are tacos al vapor?

              1. re: drewskiSF
                wolfe RE: drewskiSF Jan 11, 2010 04:25 AM

                Several choices including tacos so good they make you faint or better check this thread.

                1. re: wolfe
                  drewskiSF RE: wolfe Jan 11, 2010 04:17 PM

                  thanks for the link!

        2. alpine chef RE: belanger Jan 4, 2010 05:38 PM

          i grew up in sf, went to college in san diego (late 80's-early 90's). i haven't found similar rolled tacos in the city....for that matter i haven't found a gordo's or mission burrito in sd. good luck and if you do find a place, please update this thread :)

          1. m
            ML8000 RE: belanger Jan 4, 2010 05:51 PM

            Is this what a rolled taco looks like? http://www.mybertos.com/images/tacosh...

            Looks like a flauta/taquito to me with the difference being the gauc is spread on the taquito and covered in cheese. In NorCal they usually toss a big glob of guac on the middle and just some cheese...but it's not really that big of a deal. You could ask for extra gauc and cheese so you can cover it like that.

            3 Replies
            1. re: ML8000
              alpine chef RE: ML8000 Jan 4, 2010 06:08 PM

              ml- conceptually a roll taco is similar to a taquito, but there is a definite difference in taste and texture.

              1. re: alpine chef
                ML8000 RE: alpine chef Jan 4, 2010 06:14 PM

                Just curious, how is the taste and texture different? Is the chicken seasoned or special tortillas?

                1. re: ML8000
                  alpine chef RE: ML8000 Jan 4, 2010 06:24 PM

                  your link looks like a flauta (flour tortilla). there seems to be different seasoning for the fillings of taquitos vs roll tacos and something different with either the corn tortillas, the way they roll them, or how they are fried..... i currently live in colorado and only a couple of years ago was introduced to "san diego" style taco shops down in denver. we tend to have a lot of tex-mex here ( i am craving both nor-cal and so-cal style mexican food).

            2. t
              thejab RE: belanger Jan 5, 2010 04:49 PM

              Adalberto's in Fairfield is the closest place for this San Diego specialty. Cheap, tasty, and filling. I have not found their equivalent here, though I have tried many taquitos around the Bay area.

              1. Mari RE: belanger Jan 5, 2010 07:23 PM

                They sell these taquitos at El Pollo Supremo on Mission Street near Geneva. They are served on a tray similar to the one in your picture. I'm not sure if they grate cheddar on them but they do serve them with guacamole. There was a Pollo Supremo on 24th Street several years ago but I think it's gone.

                1. s
                  sydthekyd RE: belanger Jan 6, 2010 11:58 AM

                  Mario's La Fiesta on Haste above Telegraph in Berkeley.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: sydthekyd
                    Robert Lauriston RE: sydthekyd Jan 6, 2010 12:47 PM

                    Do they make their flautas with corn tortillas?

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston
                      ML8000 RE: Robert Lauriston Jan 6, 2010 02:22 PM

                      They use corn tortillas.

                      There's also Juan's Place in Berkeley. La Fiesta in Mountain View and La Pinata (5-6 East Bay locations). Just about every old school Cal-Mex places serves them.

                  2. n
                    Nettan RE: belanger Jan 11, 2010 01:16 AM

                    Hi there! If you can't find what you want then why not make it yourself? I live in Sweden but am California born and bred and miss Mexican food. When my husband and I went for a visit we purchased a load of different dried chili peppers to take home to make a good rojo sauce, masa, and other things....while it's not exactly like the restaurants, it's pretty good if I say so myself :-) Give it a try....shouldn't be too hard to make "rolled tacos". :-)

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