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Coming to SD this weekend! Need Burrito Help!

Ok, so here is my dilemna... I am originally from the Bay Area and moved to AZ 4 years ago. I grew up on the San Francisco Mission Style Burrito and thought that every Burrito was made like that. Boy, was I wrong... In AZm you're lucky to get anything more than salsa and a little bit of guac in a stiff tortilla.The only place to find a burrito in similar style in AZ is at the big corpo chains like chipotle and qdoba....yuk.

Im coming to SD this weekend with my family to escape the heat and Im hoping I can find an awesome California Mission Style Burrito. We will be staying in PB. Any suggestions?

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  1. No Mission style burritos in San Diego. That's only an SF thing.

    3 Replies
      1. re: RB Hound

        Who clearly prefers the SF burrito to others. The SF Mission Burrito as a culinary movement? Really, I had no idea ;-)

        1. re: DiningDiva

          I should have said "by Californians". Nothing is stopping anybody from going in and embellishing the San Diego entry, including making some not-so-subtle swipes at the mission or California burritos (e.g. "the San Diego style highlights the tastes of the primary ingredients, not overly muddying them with beans, rice, potatoes, etc.").

          Yeah, I'm a stirrer. :)

    1. I think you might be SOL. Mission style seems to be pretty endemic to the Bay Area. We have a great So. Cal taco style and some of the best Mexican style seafood around. I make it up to the Bay every few weeks so I can hold out for El Faro, El Farolito or Zona Rosa in the City. Hopefully someone else here can make a suggestion other than Chipolte.

      1. I had a feeling... Any good recommendations on Mexican restaurants nearby?

        1 Reply
        1. re: amonsalve

          La Playa Taco Shop - particularly for breakfast. 3973 Mission Blvd.

          Taco Surf - good taco shop fare with a relaxed beach vibe. 4657 Mission Blvd.

        2. Los Panchos Taco Shop with sit down service has one of the best carne asada burritos that my DH still swears it's one of the best in the US.
          Kind of divey but good and cheap...they serve you chips and salsa and you can get a cold Pacifico too.
          It's across from Pacific Plaza shopping Center on Garnet avenue.

          1775 Garnet Avenue, San Diego, CA‎ - (858) 272-0567

          2 Replies
          1. re: Beach Chick

            Los Panchos on Garnet RIP. It has been re-branded and I have not tried it since this happened.

          2. Most places will customize a burrito, just order a Carne Asada and ask them to dump on the beans, rice, lettuce, crema, etc (i.e.ruin it). To my knowledge none of the indie taco joints make this type of burrito specifically. You might want to give Bahia Don Bravo a try, it's just a bit north in Bird Rock and they have a few bean/meat hybrid burritos.

            Bahia Don Bravo
            5504 La Jolla Blvd, La Jolla, CA 92037

            4 Replies
              1. re: Beach Chick

                There is a Bahia Don Bravo on Grand Ave. In Pacific Beach as well.

                Bahia Don Bravo
                909 Grand Ave Ste 7, San Diego, CA 92109

                1. re: Captain Jack

                  is it as good as the one in Bird Rock?

                  1. re: Beach Chick

                    I think the Bird Rock location is better, but I visit the Grand Ave. location more often since it is just three blocks from my home.

            1. I also grew up in the Bay Area and usually wait until I visit there to get a good burrito. However, I find I can partially satisfy the NorCal-style burrito cravings with a chipotle shrimp burrito from Los Palmitos in Clairemont (something about the combination of sauce and rice). However it's definitely not like the preparations you get up North.

              1. Try to find a taco shop that isn't run by actual Mexicans.

                1. I didn't knoiw there was a Mission style burrito. So that's a burrito with everything in it, meat cheese, beans, rice, guac, salsa and the usual suspects? Monster burritos. Usually see them at chains like Baja Fresh and more local places like Los Primos and Lolita's. Can't tell you if they're any good because I don't care for beans in anything, but they seem to be popular with my hungry coworkers.

                  1. I lived in th Bay Area for 10 years and loved the burritos there. The closest thing I've found in SD is at Rubio's, a local chain more noted for Baja-style fish tacos. You won't get to proceed down the assembly line and pick each ingredient, but they do serve their burritos packed with rice, beans, meat, guac, sour cream, cheese, salsa, etc and you could possibly get them to customize. The Big Burrito Especial is "fully packed". Good luck!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: steveprez

                      I lived in the Bay Area for 10 years too and ate more than my share of Mission style burritos. But you know what, I've learned to like, appreciate and now actually prefer the SD style burrito. There's something very satisfying about a CAB with only carne asada, pico and guac, or a carnitas burrito with only carnitas, salsa verde and a dab of guac. For me there's a clarity and simplicity to the flavor profile in that it's not muddied up with all that extra stuff.

                      But when I first moved back home to SD, my first post on CH was to ask where to find a good Mission style burrito. Oddly enough, 10 years later it's still the same answer...not here my friend :-)

                      1. re: DiningDiva

                        I think were in agreement on this one. I generally prefer the "less is more" approach in the local burritos. I enjoy the overall flavor profile as well and as you say, more flavor comes through when it's not so muddled. Though I do have many a fond memory of consuming two pounds of carb-loaded burrito after a 20 mile mountain bike ride! I definitley pushed the burrito makers to the limits of the tortilla's capacity after these rides. ;)

                    2. Rice, beans and lettuce have no damn business being in a burrito.

                      Buy a combo meal if that's what you want, but using excess ingredients is clearly a sign of a chef who has not fully mastered the classics of the cuisine.

                      And please- black beans and brown rice? Go to Jyoti-Bihanga fer cryin out loud.

                      Note: The above post is entirely tongue-in-guanciale and should not be taken more seriously than the spirit in which it's posted. No offense is offered. But never, ever put lettuce on a burrito.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: Fake Name

                        In most cases I agree with you, but without beans, rice, and lettuce the veggie burrito ceases to exist.

                        My favorite burrito variation from munchie sessions past was the Bullfrog burrito conceived by El Rodeo in OB. Carne asada, enchilada sauce, and cheese (all inside the burrito). I used to get Martiza's in Clairemont to reproduce it with their homemade enchilada sauce and asador-grilled carne. That's some seriously good grub.

                        Have you tried the special "quesadilla" at La Posta in Hillcrest? It's two giant flour tortillas made into a quesadilla, then carne asada, guacamole, and pico are put in the middle and it's rolled into a burrito. I do not endorse this creation, but I'd be lying if I said I never enjoyed one late at night.

                        1. re: Josh

                          Made, without doubt, with grass-fed beef. And none of that gmo grass from Monsanto, either!

                          Damn you Josh, why not just encourage me to try heroin?

                          1. re: Fake Name

                            Consumed in the days of blissful ignorance about what was in my food. ;-)

                            Linkery's carne asada flatbread is damned good though, and Miho's carne asada tacos aren't too shabby either.

                            3794 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

                          2. re: Josh

                            Seriously? El Rodeo? My friends long ago nicknamed that spot "El Mistake-o." I've had mostly mediocre to bad burritos there...

                            As far as the special "quesadilla" at La Posta, I partook in a little too much imbibing+karaoke at the Lamplighter one evening not too long ago and ended my night with one of those monsters. And though it may very well be a heart attack wrapped in tortillas (yes, multiple), I am pretty sure nothing else has ever quite fulfilled my late-evening drunk food cravings quite so well...

                            1. re: Nick0771

                              Yeah, El Rodeo was disgusting. But they had the great virtue of being open and within walking distance of Winston's when they closed at 2am.

                          3. re: Fake Name

                            There is (or at least used to be) a produce shop in Corte Madera called David's Finest Produce. Back in the last centruy their produce was great, dead-on ripe, lusious, juicy and sweet. But because they traded in really ripe fruits and veg, spoilage was an issue. What to do? Why open a taqueria to use up all the left overs from the produce shop.

                            They made a stir-fry burrito that was about as good as it gets. Onions, squash, peppers, eggplant, beans and whatever else they had on hand made it into the tortilla to be topped with an equally delicious roasted corn salsa. Non-traditional? Of course., Good and tasty? You bet. It's the only veggie burrito I've ever enjoyed.

                          4. And another thing!

                            You were in the bay area and your craving is for a mission style burrito and NOT the Roasted Chicken with Bread Salad from Zuni?

                            I'm typeless!

                            Note: I am kidding, and welcome your perspective (Anton Ego's request- perspective) please don't take this post seriously.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: Fake Name

                              Fake Name you're cracking me up here. I hope the thought of beans, rice and *gulp* lettuce in a burrito didn't keep you up all night tossing and turning. How 'bout if we just call this sacrilegious burrito by another name? How 'bout a wrap?

                              Seriously though, is there a single definition of what is a real burrito?

                              1. re: Island

                                Yes! A "real" burrito is a small donkey. Everything else is open to interpretation. ;)

                                1. re: Island

                                  Interesting story about someone's quest to find the birthplace of the burrito...

                                  "As we followed the historical trail, and got closer and closer to the source, the burritos became smaller and smaller, and our favorite ingredients disappeared one by one. When we finally found what we thought was the original burrito, it was very different from the burritos we knew and loved. The burrito's evolution seemed like a cross-generational version of the children's game of telephone, in which a message is passed through so many people that the message at the end is completely different from the original."


                              2. Fred;s Mexican Cafe in Pacific Beach on Garnet has big burritos (over one pound) stuffed with a laundry list of ingredients. Most are served wet, with ranchero or creamy suiza sauce.

                                1. Its good to see people are passionate about their burritos! Agree to disagree on which one is better. I guess it all depends on where you grew up or have spent the most time. I have been in AZ for 4 years and still don't like the burrito here (which sounds very similar to the SD style). Im sure if we were on a Bay Area post, the mission style would win. Agree on the NO LETTUCE in the burrito. Either way this has been real entertaining to read!

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: amonsalve

                                    That's because you are in AZ. Live here for 10 years and you will change. Buddy from law school complained first year the burritos were so skimpy (he's from SF). No beans rice or anything in it. I was like, ewww, beans and rice in a burrito? 3 years later he preferred the San Diego style.

                                    SD natives living in LA/OC also complain they can't get SD style burritos. Carne, guac, a little pico. What else do you need? :)

                                    But yeah, we prefer what we grow up with. Give it some time, you'lll see the light :P

                                    1. re: deeznuts

                                      You have a point, It is kind of wierd that 90 miles up the road you have to order your burrito "all meat" and often pay extra for a proper burrito. At least this is true of Q-Torats in P-town. I think the OC ___ertos stick to the SD style.

                                      1. re: stevuchan

                                        They do. The saving grace for me when I lived in Westminster was Albertos (then Alertos) on Brookhurst. It was darn close to SD. But that's one or two places in all of OC and still, they didn't get their hot sauce right. Instead of hot sauce it was like the mild tomato sauce you see at El Pollo Loco. A lot of the tomato meat in the sauce where you use your fingers to pry it out of the container. Not really a hot sauce iMO. But it helped me survive college.

                                        Other than the fact me and my buddies almost got shot there by random guys looking for trouble I loved that place.

                                  2. You could just add whatever is normally in the mission style burrito. Me, I prefer to have those things on the side (rice and beans etc.)

                                    1. And lest we not forget- 100 miles east is the home of the *Burrito Especial*. I've not been able to locate one here in SD proper.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Fake Name

                                        Im intrigued. What is that? Is it located in El Centro?

                                        1. re: deeznuts

                                          Ok, not a burrito, but a quesadilla. But it's very much like a burrito: