Best Practices for Eating a Burrito in San Francisco

Categories: LOLS

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John Birdsall

A happy man once said, "The best burrito in the city is the one you are eating." He said it while cradling a ruptured super whose mass had burst through its tinfoil housing and was flowing, lavalike, down his forearms and plopping onto the sidewalk. We caught sight of lettuce and corn. There was no rice to speak of. He didn't comprehend his disaster. Corn.

He was a fool.

Step One: Ordering the burrito.
Say "No fucking lettuce!" as you walk into the shop. Scream it for everyone to hear, even the owner buying bulk iceberg out of a van. If given the option of a marjoram tortilla you're probably in Carlsbad or something so don't worry about that. Worry about the rice: Are they shoveling it in like insulators filling an attic? Will you haul it out like a ship emptying its ballast? Worry about the refried beans, which are alarmingly soupy, yet pinto beans are so bland, and black beans are for fools.

Try not to think about the flap of cheese. When did they stop shredding cheese? (Swear you'll order the super quesadilla once they figure out how not to charge $7.99 for just cheese and meat and a spoonful of fucking crema.) Lastly (and GOOD GOD) did someone just plonk down a snowball of salsa and not spread it around so now you've got one-to-three mouthfuls of snowball salsa?

A guide to some burrito meats:
Carne asada: Grilled steak. We don't know when it was grilled.
Carnitas: Succulent braised pork or shredded shoe leather. depending on your demeanor.
Al pastor: Barbecued pork, though it's nothing like Big Nate's.
Chile verde: Green chicken, beef, or pork. Probably pork.
Chile colorado: This is a bit of a secret.
Sesos: Oh my God.

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Jonathan Kauffman
Historical aside Number One: Some people say the burrito was invented by Americans, as if in the great history of Mexico no one thought to roll up a few of the most popular foodstuffs in a largish tortilla, instead of merely laying them on top of a smallish one. These people are idiots. Stay away from them. San Francisco can, however, lay claim to the Super Burrito, invented after a Mission restaurateur bought a Lincoln Fresh-O-Matic tortilla steamer and took his obsession with pearlescent neck goiters to the kitchen in 1969.

Historical aside Number Two: Some people also say the difference between NorCal and SoCal burritos is one pound of rice, which is shoved into the former like alginate paste into dental molds — which is perhaps true. But the difference you should be paying attention to is that in SoCal, your chef may insert French fries into your burrito. Nearly 20 of them. There's also less steaming, more guacamole, and more sun-blasted burnouts dabbling in online college trying to put together enough nickels to procure dos tacos.

Step Two: Eating the burrito.
First, cherish those exploratory moments toying with the tinfoil, testing avenues of entry and tensile strength. Take it all in. You're about to eat a burrito in San Francisco. This is like sitting down with Iggy Pop and a pizza in early-'70s New York. It doesn't get any better than this, but gets a lot worse, just like whenever Iggy Pop started eating his pizza.

Keep in mind that during the eating of any burrito from any shop you're going to wish you had another thing from another shop. It doesn't matter if you've gone aging heavyweight (Cancún), Hollywood (Papalote), scary at night (Farolito), strangely culty (Tonayense), a few more blocks down there somewhere (Metate), sans rice (La Taqueria), what are you doing in the Sunset? (Gordo), gloriously named (El Gran Taco Loco), honestly named (Taqueria San Francisco), just terrible (Tortilla Flats), have you been drinking? (Cancún in Mid-Market), overrated (El Faro), great for shareholders (Chipotle), or just full of little jars and a new name (SanJalisco, née Los Jarritos). There are just too many variables working against a burrito to allow you to eat every pound of it without wishing you were eating something else (super quesadilla), somewhere else (Farolito?), at some stage (final third), usually after you take a deep breath, suppress a fart, and resume thinking about how you are conducting your life.

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John Birdsall
​Now rip the tinfoil to reveal the pale heel. Think about how the bulk feels in your hands. Consider the structural integrity. Does it feel like a water balloon about to pop?

Step Three: How to respond to a rupturing burrito.

1. Pretend you're a dog.
Inhale the food in canine gulps, first attacking overflow and then burrito itself. Note that your communion with the burrito supersedes any table conversation, even on first dates. Act like you're Luke Wilson and this is a funny bit in one of his shitty romantic comedies. Focus on removing all trace of the burrito and then finding other burritos around it.


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15 comments
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Burrito-in-Chief
Burrito-in-Chief

I went to San Diego a few weeks ago and only ate Burritos. I kinda liked Lucha Libre's Surfin Califoria but it was pretty cold and the fries were thick and mushy. I did like Taco Surf a lot, they had crispy shoe string fries. but personally I want rice and beans in my Burrito over french fries.

gbabinecz
gbabinecz

Chavez meat market off whipple avenue exit....you won't get a better burrito anywhere in the bay area.

anonybro-diego
anonybro-diego

Guide to Ordering Burittos in SF:

1. Get in Car.2. Drive 6-7 hours.3. Arrive in San Diego.4. Go anywhere and it will most likely be better than anything you can eat in SF.

sd
sd

whoa, wait... seriously? the best practice for eating a burrito in san francisco is to not eat one. but following are the best practices for eating burritos in general: 1) tortillas should not be steamed. 2) burritos should be wrapped in paper, not foil. 3) burritos should not contain rice (in fact, they should really contain only meat, guacamole, and maybe some cheese. keep the salsa fresca in the fridge with the iceberg lettuce). 4) most burritos in so cal do not contain fries. only the ones called "california burritos" contain fries. don't like it? don't order that. 5) you don't know a good burrito from your ass if you haven't had a carne asada burrito in san diego.

erik_ellestad
erik_ellestad

While it is true that a Mexican or Mexican American cook probably invented the flour tortilla... Well, the fact is, Wheat Flour just didn't exist in America until the Europeans brought it over. The grain prior was corn. So while we had huraches and all sorts of corn based treats, no burrito possible until after the Spanish.

Cielo
Cielo

best burrito, Oxnard Calif - the Boulevard at 5th and Meta Street. We call it...'THE BRICK". YOU WILL NEVER BE THE SAME.

Mimi
Mimi

FUKK SO-CAL! We're in SF, do you really need an article about how to eat a burrito? Fukking Gringos get the fukk out of here.

Chris Tolles
Chris Tolles

Finally, an SF publication that understands that does not champion, unabashedly, the unholy carbohydrating up of the burrito. Maybe this is the first step of progress towards a rice (and dare I dream even bean) free SF burrito.

mexicanbybirth
mexicanbybirth

I might be an idiot, but the first 30 years of my life I lived in Mexico, and traveled (and ate) all around and NEVER, NOT ONCE I saw a burrito. So, if you have historical proof that burritos were invented in Mexico, I'd like to see it... ;-)

someJuan
someJuan

'bout time San Jalisco gets a mention. I've given up on burritos and taquerias in SF and just go with the bowls from Chipotle.

MrsHarperSF
MrsHarperSF

Michael Leaverton, you are one funny mofo.

burritojustice
burritojustice

Dear god I wish I had written this. (Except the bit about black beans, fool.)

Habanero4me
Habanero4me

Little rural towns in Mexico have tortilla shops that crank em out by the thousands. All little corn tortillas, they dont have large flour torts to make a burrito with

Blaah
Blaah

booooooooooo, one of the few things socal has better than up here is their burritos. don't rag on them. burritos here are bland, the meat, the tortillas, the beans, etc. there are a couple of ok spots, but socal has an awesome burrito every block.

MisplacedGiantsFan
MisplacedGiantsFan

are you effing kidding me? SoCal burritos suck, haven't found a decent one yet. Tacos are bomb tho...

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