What the heck is a California burrito, anyway?

by Brian

Hey everybody,

Mikey’s been giving me the business about being a douchebag lately.  I know I haven’t been posting on the regular, and I plan on doing better over the next couple weeks.  I only have a few minutes to spend before getting back to work, but I wanted to give the peeps back home a little introduction to a dish that is unique to San Diego: The California Burrito.

Basically, you can only get California burritos in San Diego, which is retarded.  Shouldn’t they at least be called San Diego burritos?  Anyway, despite the misnomer, they are incredibly delicious.  The other great thing is that you can get them almost anywhere.  I haven’t verified this yet, but I’m pretty sure you can even get them at the local chinese food joint.

Since you can get a Cali burrito anywhere and it’ll taste great, my main priority in choosing a place to get one is proximity to my apartment.  Now, I have about 20 mexican food places within a short drive of my place, but since I live downtown, I rarely drive anymore.  Instead, I walk one block south and two blocks west, right into the front door of…

Azteca Taco Shop – Corner of Park and Market, East Village

Before I get into my review of Azteca, we need to talk about the Cali burrito for a second.  What the heck is a California burrito, anyway?  Well… it’s a magical dish, crafted from carne asada, guacamole, pico de gallo, cheese, sour cream and, here’s the kicker: french fries.


It has no beans, no rice, and essentially no unneccessary fillers.  It’s pure unadulterated goodness.  I usually get mine without the sour cream because they tend to put more guac in its place.  My favorite thing about the Cali burrito is the way the fries interact with the rest of the burrito.  It’s an Irishman’s dream.  You know how much we love our potatoes.

Like I said, you can get these anywhere and usually for around five bucks.  I get mine at Azteca for exactly that amount.

Azteca is a little hole-in-the-wall, right next to the train stop.  It is a little dirty, a little sketchy at night and hazardous in a general kind of way.  Some people get scared off by the neighborhood, but not me.  I am a man of the people.

Actually, I never stick around to eat at Azteca.  I simply get my food to go and retreat to the relative safety of my secure building.  I’m an elitist populist.

The best parts of the Azteca Cali burrito are the guac and the carne asada.  They also have a delicious hot sauce that you have to ask for on the side.  The guac is fresh and the carne is tender and juicy.  The fries are pretty pedestrian alone, but they get the job done when combined with the other ingredients. The cheese and pico contribute nicely as well.  Overall, it’s still a fast food burrito and it should be valued as such.

For the price, the quality of the food is pretty good and it’s served quickly.  The tables are kept clean and there are always a few people in the dining room.  They also offer breakfast, but I’m not sure if they serve it all day.  I already know a few good breakfast spots that I’ll be sharing with you over the next couple weeks, so keep coming back to see the places I’ve discovered.

For the moment, I’m holding off on recommending Azteca for anyone other than East Village residents.  The quality is good, but you can get a great Cali burrito almost anywhere.  Regardless of where you get it, the important thing is that you indulge in the wonder that is the California burrito.  Just be careful, these things are like crack to mexican food fans.



Filed under East Village, San Diego

4 responses to “What the heck is a California burrito, anyway?

  1. jackie

    Please tell San Diego to create a veggie version ’cause I’ll be in town tomorrow, and it sounds delightful [minus the carne asada for me]. Cheers!

  2. Katie

    If you like the idea of fries in your food, you need to make a trip to the Rutgers Grease Trucks. Anything and everything you can think of, all stuffed in a hero. My fav is the Fat Knight: chicken fingers, french fries, mozz sticks, tomato sauce, and hamburger patties. YUM.

  3. Great article about a Cali Burrito. I look forward to trying Azteca’s. Here is my “official” account of what a true California Burrito is. Let me know your thoughts http://unomos.blogspot.com/2009/10/california-burrito.html

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