Carne asada, sour cream, cheese, and French fries, wrapped tightly in a giant, warm flour tortilla. Hungry yet? It may sound simple, but the California burrito has taken San Diego by storm and has been slowly making its way up the West Coast. Although there’s no confirmed origin, the California burrito is easily the most popular burrito, and, because of this, has rightfully made its way on virtually every taco shop’s menu. Every time a native San Diegan leaves the county, their taste buds cry, as they know that no other burrito anywhere else will fill the void the California burrito has left. Even though I’ve come across bastardized versions of the California burrito in Los Angeles, and even as far up as Chico, it’s just never quite the same. The ingredients are all there, but it lacks the particular flavors I’m looking for. Maybe it’s San Diego’s close proximity to Mexico. Maybe it’s because it was born in the heart of Southern California. Whatever the reason may be, the California burrito is steadily landing on menus all across the American Southwest.
This cultural food revolution isn’t just limited to burritos exclusively. There is a whole array of other menu items that are rarely found outside of San Diego County. This includes carne asada fries, the taquito burrito, the chile realleno burrito and many more. Carne asada fries are essentially fries smothered with meat drowning in sour cream, cheese and guacamole. They are the ultimate drunchies after a fun night on the town with your friends. Usually, the carne asada fries are served in huge portions, making it the ideal meal to share with other people. The taquito burrito is probably exactly how you imagine it; a burrito with carne asada, guacamole, cheese, and, two to three taquitos stuffed inside. The chile relleno burrito is similar to the taquito burrito, but instead of carne asada, the burrito has rice and refried beans instead. This is the quintessential burrito for vegetarians looking for something more unique than the standard veggie or bean and cheese. These food combinations may sound odd at first, but I highly recommend giving each of them a taste. I guarantee you’ll find at least one that will change your perspective about what you consider standard taco shop food, forever. As I sit here writing this, hundreds of miles away from my favorite San Diego taco shops, I remain ever hopeful that, one day, my beloved California burrito will be perfected, no matter where I find myself.
Top 5 Burritos in the San Diego Area:
Don Pedro Taco Shop
Roberto’s Taco Shop
Las Cuatro Milpas
1857 Logan Ave, San Diego, CA 92113
Habaneros Mexican Grill