"Of course, I wanted to be all down with the people, so I asked for 'an ess-pess-cee-ahl burrito.'"
Essential SF Burrito Resource
Burritoeater.com was a helpful resource on this trip. Though it ended up serving only as a wishlist, since I only got to visit one taqueria while in SF, Burritoeater at least assured me that the one I habitually visited was solid, with an "Overall Mustache Rating" of 8.13.
I've been in San Francisco since last Saturday, visiting the girlfriend's family for Christmas. In that time I've eaten three burritos. So far.
Now, some folks would say that's a piddly number for six days, and I would tend to agree with them.* But when you've got family dinners and friends to visit, there are only so many burritos you can fit in to a trip.
So far, all my burritos have been from one place: La Corneta in the Glen Park neighborhood. That's because it's close to home base and is essentially on the way coming and going via the BART station there. Yeah, I've gotten recommendations for La Taqueria and Pancho Villa in the Mission, and I swear, I've tried, but circumstances and bum luck** always led me back to Corneta.
Anyway, I'm not going to sit here and pretend I'm a burrito expert after only a handful of burritos, but as any fool can tell you, these San Franciscans know how to make burritos. From the quality and flavor of the innards to the all-important perfectly executed wrap, these things are tight little torpedos of deliciousness that don't get gloppy and fall apart on you like many burrito places (I'm looking at you, Chipotle).
Yes, San Francisco knows burritos. I'm just not sure I know how to order them.
Case in point: At La Corneta there are three burritos on the menu: Regular (rice, bean, meat), Especial (rice, bean, meat, cheese), and Super (rice, bean, meat, cheese, sour cream, guac). The GF invariably gets the regular, saying that's how real San Franciscans eat theirs, but I wanted cheese, so I went for the Especial.
Of course, I wanted to be all down with the people, so I asked for "an ess-pess-cee-ahl burrito."
The woman was like, "WHA?"
Me, sheepishly: "Um, ess-special burrito?"
"Ah! What kind of beans?" she asked.
Somehow I knew going as gringo as possible would work—I'm sure that's what's expected. The burrito woman and the customers behind me all had a good laugh at my expense.
Whatever. That's how you pronounce it in Spanish. Am I right?
So, yeah, I had an Especial with black beans and carnitas.
If you've ever known a San Francisco expat, you are familiar with their complaints about how there are no good burritos where they now live. After only a few burritos here in the City by the Bay, I'm beginning to see why. I only hope I get to do more research in the near future.
But to jump-start that research, lemme ask all you SF burrito partisans out there: Where can I find the best burrito in San Francisco?
* The girlfriend, however, would say it's too many. I would disagree.
** This is the kind of bum luck I'd always like to have, truth be told.