Serious Eats

What Is a California Burrito?

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[Flickr: kimboy1904]

There are burritos, and then there are California Burritos. The San Diego staple is not trying to be authentic Mexican cuisine—it's basically meat and potatoes stuffed into a flour tortilla for hungry, sand-crusted surfers. The beast of a thing usually involves carne asada, french fries, a bunch of cheese, salsa fresca and of course guacamole.

As Zach of the food blog The Eaten Path admits, it deserves its own chapter in the Mexican food almanac. He writes:

"The Cali burrito is a San Diego phenomenon thanks to gringos like me and a dominant beach culture, because when you're starving after three hours in the ocean, which would you rather have: some meaty stew with corn tortillas, or a handheld half-pound of beef and potatoes that you can pour hot sauce all over?...It's part of the culinary whitewash that makes waves over Mexican food north of downtown San Diego, where people add potatoes and avocados to neutralize those strong and delicious Mexican spices."

The California Burrito has a special place in the San Diego subgroup of Mexican food culture just like the fish taco does. Maybe it's not South-of-the-border-authentic, but it's delicious and makes sense in flip flop-wearin' San Diego. Where do you like to get your California Burrito fill?

Related
Roundup: Fish Taco Chains in Southern California
San Francisco Burritos at La Cornet
Video: Dog Eats a Burrito in One Second

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