After posting Friday’s article I received some feedback that leads me to believe there is a burrito war brewing. The so called California Burrito which is indigenous to San Diego does not represent the California burrito in an way. The California burrito that San Diego lays claim to started around 1995 actually originating in Las Vegas before moving to San Diego. It generally consists of meat, guacamole or avocado, sour cream and french fries [the original Vegas version used tater tots].
If you look back farther as I mentioned in my Friday article the original burrito made in California for public consumption started life in 1961 at El Faro, but that was made with corn tortillas. The actually Mission style burrito using a flour tortilla originated in 1969 at La Cumbre and is representative of the size of your forearm or bigger things that we know as burritos today.
Prior to all of this the burrito originally got its start in Tuscon, Arizona in the 20’s from a man who carried his food on a donkey [el burro] because they resembled the rolled sacks that donkey’s carried on their sides he called them burritos [little donkeys]. There wasn’t much to them except a tortilla and some meat. Nothing like we expect to find today. Making it’s way farther West the immigrant farm workers in the central valley would pack there lunches in a similar way adding a few other things to the meat such as salsa, beans, rice maybe an avocado slice that they picked and pocketed.
As the farm workers moved north they hit the San Francisco Bay Area where many of them settled in the Mission district and never lost their love for the food that gave them energy when they were out in the fields. This is where the San Francisco or Mission style burrito originated. I do remember back in my youth in the 70’s that if you wanted real Mexican food you had to go to Mission District. The prepackaged burritos you would find at a 7-11 had chopped up beef [usually beef heart] and some beans. This was more like what you might find in Mexico than here in the Mission District.
Now here is where the war part comes in. I always knew growing up that SF had a rivalry with LA. Apparently now that all the party animals have left LA for Vegas San Diego wants in on the game. In doing some research over the weekend I found that San Diego claims to have the best burritos giving it the right to the name California Style burrito. Apparently no one informed us or any of the foodie people who write for magazines about this. As it turns out the french fries in a burrito isn’t a uniform thing in San Diego as well. There are several places in San Diego that serve California Style burritos, but not all of them. Some San Diegans moved up to our territory and opened Taqueria Los Coyotes which serves the California Style burrito. I wrote an article on them previously. For some reason people in San Diego are appalled at the size of our burritos which is odd because theirs are about the same size as ours. They also don’t seem to like all the crap we put in our burritos. I guess they never thought of asking to hold the rice, etc.
I will still stand by my statement that a California Style burrito refers to those made in San Francisco that are attempted to be copied around the world. On my one trip to Mexico they even had a taqueria offering California Style burritos that were made in the same way they were made in San Francisco, no french fries. If you go to any taqueria in California and order a burrito it’s more like what you find in San Francisco where it started. Perhaps I should just let the whole California Style thing go by the wayside because if you’re into burritos you know that San Francisco has the best.
I’ve been reading a lot about Amazon’s outrage on having to pay sales tax in California and I’ve been doing a little bit of thinking about it. I honestly think that they should collect sales tax in California, but the idea that they’re not having to collect it is hurting local businesses is incorrect. Even if they do collect sales tax, it is in my opinion that they will still hurt local businesses and here is why.
Amazon, which started as a book store is now the king of online purchasing. They have their shipping down and their huge inventory controlled in such a way that they can purchase the products they sell as a far greater discounted rate. If you purchase a book on Amazon that costs $25 that same book might cost you closer to $35 + tax at a large brick and mortar book store. If you go to your local mom and pop family owned book store [are then any of these left even?] you’ll probably be paying closer to $45 + tax for the same book.
If you purchase $25 or more the shipping is free, so the only draw back is you have to wait a little bit. I have been able to purchase items on Amazon that were sometimes more than 50% less that other online merchants and even more inexpensive than the brick and mortar stores. To all the local businesses out there I’ve got one thing to say to you and listen up good, the good ole days are coming to an end. If it’s not food or other non-perishable product that can be shipped quickly and efficiently, you’re pretty much going to have to look your business as whether it will be long term or not.
Most of the purchases I or my friends make, unless we’re talking groceries are done online because it’s a good way to save money. I have not been to a record store in years because I can download an album for $9.99 and not pay $16.99 for a CD [which are being marked down constantly as we speak.] Clothes I still tend to go to a real store to purchase just to make sure it fits unless it sizes S-M-L-XL, then I just go for the large and I know it fits. I find myself looking on line to try and find necessities that my family needs to see if I can get it for less and no, I don’t care about having to pay sales tax, it’s more about whether or not I have to pay shipping.
Bottom line: Amazon, pay the damn sales taxes, it’s not going to hurt you one bit and you’ll help out the state of California while you’re still pulling away sales from the local businesses.
I had a flashback to being a kid this week. I was down in the Mission and happened to be walking by Lucca’s Delicatessen (not to be confused with Lucca’s in the Marina) when I saw in the window a box of Bugia cookies. I had totally forgotten about these cookies of my youth and I had to buy a box.
The cookies derive their name from the Italian word, Bugia which translates to liar. They are called liar’s cookies because when Mama makes them and puts them in the cookie jar she’ll know immediately if you’ve stolen one by the trail of powdered sugar that leads up to your mouth. They make them all over Italy, but everyone does it a bit differently. These where oddly enough just like the one’s I ate as a kid. As it turns out they are made at the Liguria Bakery on Stockton Street. That would make sense since my family who came from Jackson, CA where there are a large population of Ligurian Italians (my family originally came from Genoa which is in Liguria).
These are puffy fried chips of dough covered in powdered sugar. There’s a little bit of citrus and anise in the dough that give them a wonderful taste. This isn’t like the fried dough they sell on the east coast. Nothing like zeppole which is a fried Italian doughnut, but crunchy and addictive. If some one could make a sweet potato chip it would probably taste a little bit like this.
Oddly enough they aren’t very bad for you even though they’re fried. Ten chips only have 150 calories and 1.5 grams of saturated fat. I’m not saying that you should change your diet for them, but they’re a great treat you should try.
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When people talk about the evils of the stimulus package by President Obama they here about the car company and bank bailouts and start pointing fingers and complaining about how Obama is killing America. What they don’t talk about is the employment stimulus that has given over 250,000 people jobs. These are jobs for unemployed parents [like me] whose wages are reimbursed by the government.
This wasn’t talked up too much and I found out about it quite by accident after reading a fairly well buried story on SF Gate. I got in and started making calls and got lots of interviews. I finally got a job in July from a very persistent employer who wanted me and kept in contact from March until the day I started my job. The problem is that at the end of this month the program ends and I will be out of work again. The problem is two-fold here. The first is that I took the job and lost my unemployment benefits. Unemployment is based on your earning of the last 18 months minus the current quarter. Since I’ve only worked in the current quarter I won’t be eligible for unemployment unless they make an exception for me. Second is that the our government is trying to extend it for a year, but while it passed the house, the republicans in congress have been filibustering against it.
Over a quarter of a million people will be unemployed once again because the Republicans hate Obama. The Republicans will be the cause of this unemployment because they believe that a cut in federal spending will help America. Unfortunately what it with do is put most of these people on unemployment which just moves the government spending from one room to another, so I ask you all to forward this piece to all your friends and neighbors and have them sign the online petition you’ll find here to ask the government to extend the program and keep the country from adding over a quarter of a million people to the unemployed list which will lead to an increase of the unemployment statistics, lower economic recovery because a quarter of a million people won’t have the money to spend and we’ll have more children going hungry…all because of a few Republicans, not Obama.
Think about this. A quarter of a million people unemployed, all of whom have families with kids who will have trouble living and making ends meet. I am only one, but it’s helping me provide for my wife and my daughter and we’re able to give back to our community by spending our money to purchase goods and services that in nine days will stop coming in. So we’re not talking about over a quarter of a million people being affected but closer to a million people being affected. Please, help do what is right so we can get America back on it’s feet.