My wife pointed out a show in the IFC called Young, Broke and Beautiful that is done by a guy I have met and been featured on his website — Broke Ass Stuart. I met him at the SF Weekly Webby Awards because he is generally in San Francisco, or New York, but now with his show he travels around a lot. Not too bad for being a broke ass. Today’s subject though was a minor part of his show in San Diego where he made that comment, a California Burrito has to have french fries. [cue record scratch]. No that is not correct. A San Diego, CA Burrito may need french fries, but not a California burrito and I am going to go into the history of burritos in California because they’ve gotten a claim to fame in the San Francisco Bay Area.
In Mexico a burrito is usually only beans and meat wrapped in a flour tortilla. It’s a simple hand held meal that’s easy to deal with. Not a balanced meal for the most part, but it’s a meal. When California transferred it’s ownership from Spain to the United States things changed a bit. California is a very agricultural state and we have lots of other things that the Mexican’s who now where American’s could add to the simple burrito. Cheese, Guacamole [probably from the tree in So Cal that was the birth of the Haas avocado], salsa, rice sometimes lettuce [which should never really be put in a burrito]. California being the green state greened up the burrito and that then was referred to in Mexico as the California burrito. Never was there any mention of putting french fries in a burrito. I did write an article about a place in SF that was making what they called the California burrito with french fries, but they got the idea from San Diego. El Burrito Express makes a BajaCal burrito with fries and we know that Baja California is down south so that would make sense since it’s closer to San Diego. Here in San Francisco you can even find the occasional peas, carrots or corn added into your burrito, but I shudder to think of that and just stick with the beans, meat, cheese guacamole and sour cream [I don’t like rice in my burritos].
If I further need to make my point the California burrito was invented in San Francisco in 1961 at El Faro and was first referred to as the Mission Style burrito and then the California burrito. The San Diego with french fries was first documented in 1995. San Francisco started the size of your calf style burrito as most of them before you could get one hand around with some extra room. It almost became comical when you could get a super burrito in some places that was bigger around than a kid’s thigh. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that San Francisco also came up with the Super Burrito as well.
Apparently the San Francisco Bay Area seems to also have the least expensive burritos in the world. Someone who’s name I couldn’t find who writes for SFGate.com seeks out burritos around the world and found awful burritos in Scotland at $15 each [does the burrito come with Haggis?] To the $10 tasteless burritos in Australia. I’m happy to say that I can get a regular cheese burrito for under $4 [when I’m in a broke kind of way] or with meat for under $5. If you like burritos, you need to come to San Francisco to try the best. Hell, you can even get vegan burritos here.
Shout out to Phil at @ebxsf!