As a San Franciscan, when I say “California Burrito,” what do you think? If you’re like me — not a native Californian, but one who has come to her current lifestyle by happy happenstance — you may have learned that a California Burrito is stuffed full of healthy deliciousness. My first experience of a California Burrito was at Boca Grande in Cambridge, MA. (Stop laughing, good burritos CAN be found on the East Coast! Sometimes.) That particular burrito had me blissfully chewing through fresh-scented sprouts, velvety avocado, melty cheese, and the usual rice, beans, salsa, and lettuce. No meat.

However, in San Diego, at a choose-your-own-location Roberto’s, a California Burrito is a carne asada (steak) burrito with cheese, tomatoes, lettuce and…FRENCH FRIES! Seriously, french fries. Somehow, this just doesn’t strike me as a California type of thing. It’s, like, the polar opposite of all the fountain-of-youth-giving good fats/antioxidents/superfreak foods that one might expect to find in a stereotyped California burrito.

Roberto’s California Burrito puts me in delirious mind of the Brit après pub special of Chip Butty. For the uninitiated, a Chip Butty is exactly what you want on your way home from a lagered up night. It’s chips (fries) stuffed in a pita, slathered with mayonnaise, and doused with fruity HP Brown Sauce. It’s crazy, it’s artery clogging, but it’s so disgustingly good when you have a belly full of booze. Of course, if you’re feeling healthy, you might opt for the yogurt-based tzaziki over the mayo. I frequently did and staggered home feeling quite virtuous.

  • Anonymous

    I was just thinking about california burritos. We had those out in the central valley, stockton, until recently I didn’t know that those are pretty much nonexistant in the bay area. I know there are a lot of san diego transplants are missing those. So I challenge you and your collegues to find an authentic san diego style california up here in the san francisco bay area.

  • Jennifer Maiser

    I was in Boston last week and a friend was trying to tempt me to taste a burrito in Cambridge – not at the place you mentioned but somewhere else. Her explanation was much like yours: “I know you don’t believe in eating Mexican on the EC, but this one really is good, I promise!”

  • cookiecrumb

    Never heard of a “California Burrito.” I’m heading down to the San Diego area soon, though, so I’ll look around. Ew, I’m sorry, it sounds weird. (*I am so not a snob!*)
    When I lived in Virginia (high school, ohgod, ages ago), there was a “California” hamburger: lettuce, tomatoes, maybe even a schmear of mayonnaise… I thought — Not bad! Isn’t that what hamburgers should be?
    We are all such regional creatures.

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