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May 13, 2011 01:56 PM

When Did the Califonia Burrito First Become the California Burrito?

Gustavo Arellano of the OC Weekly says that San Diego was tardy to the party:

California Burrito
7754 Starling Dr, San Diego, CA 92123

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  1. Love Gustavo, but his first mistake was in assuming that the U/T would be a good resource. Iwonder if he's called Roberto's headquarters

    1. Santana's created the California burrito, when they took carne asada fries and wrapped them in a flour tortilla. Yeah, the U-T is always 10 years behind the ball. When I was working for the census in 2000 (good job as far as part-time jobs go), we would meet at a taco shop in Tierrasanta, and that place was carrying the California burrito.

      1. Or better, Why did the California Burrito first become the California Burrito?

        Touche, poutine. Touche.

        The CA burrito of my dreams contains avocado, rajas, queso oaxaca, and stewed-shredded brown pelican meat...maybe a lightly deep-fried Garibaldi fillet. Guisado de oso negro?

        Hail the Bear Flag Republic, and Cheers!

        1. This is actually a topic I intend to write about for publication some day.

          The earliest trace of the California Burrito I know of is this: In the April 1995 issue of our 'zine (remember 'zines?), "Big In Vegas", my friend Fred Kokaska wrote a review of the Roberto's on the corner of Convoy and Opportunity:

          "I was excited to see the handmade sign displaying the special of the day: "California Burrito".

          I had to laugh. How oxymoronic!....I tried to imagine how my politically correct burrito would look; would it have alfalfa sprouts? Would it be filled with dolphin-safe tuna?

          Answer: No. Turns out, a "California Burrito" is a carne asada burrito with cheese, stuffed with tater-tots! Ummmm!"

          3 Replies
          1. re: jayporter

            Tater Tots and not fries? In some respects that kind of makes a lot of sense

            1. re: jayporter

              You forgot the sour cream.

              My first recollection of the california burrito was not fries or tots, but potato cubes or chunks. I would say I started seeing it more often around the early to mid 90's. My ex-gf was flying them to Texas to take to her aunt in 1995 (her aunt isn't from here but Port Arthur but when she visited, she had to have them)

              1. re: jayporter

                Wow. California burrito with tater tots. That sounds amazing. Does anybody still do that?

              2. I love this article just because he wrote pendejos.