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Jan 4, 2010 03:16 PM

True SoCal Rolled Tacos in Bay Area?

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

    4 Replies
    1. re: ML8000

      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

        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

          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

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

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

        5 Replies
        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          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

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

              1. re: drewskiSF

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

        2. 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. Is this what a rolled taco looks like?

            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

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

              1. re: alpine chef

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

                1. re: ML8000

                  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. 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.