Sunday, March 28, 2010

California Burrito Love

For one of my history classes, this week’s topic was the allure of the West. Reading of the promise of California, of the hope it instills in those that travel there, and often the eventual upset once they arrive, got me musing about my beloved native state. John Muir can speak in near rhapsodic tones about the wonders of Yosemite but I, devote my praises to a different sort of California landmark – the burrito.

I went home for Spring Break and found, between the sunlight and mass consumption of avocados and grapefruit, myself healthier for it. And for lunches home, there would only be one choice – El Tapitio Taqueria. My love of this taqueria began in high school and has since been the place I long for most when eating kale, yet again, in the Philadelphia December cold. El Tapitio has, on numerous occasions, been my first stop on the drive home from LAX. No time to put away luggage! Must have carne asada super burrito!

I never fathomed this loss would feel so detrimental to my every day. But it has.
And while you East Coasters will whine and plead that there is a burrito place here that is comparable to ones you find in Mexico or LA, you will be sorely mistaken.

For only in LA, can you find these wrapped mounds of joy.
I have yet to pinpoint what makes them so distinctly delectable in LA. The freshness of produce available in California undoubtedly plays a part. But it seems more complex than that.
Perhaps the standards are higher, the expectation greater, that taquerias must deliver in order to survive.

I struggle to convey how uniquely wonderful these burritos are. And yes, my mouth is watering in trying to conjure up the, now lost, taste.
It is the blending of succulent meat, marinated, dripping with flavor, mingled with mashed avocado, smothered in lime and cilantro, doused in pico de gallo, sprinkled with cheese, globed with sour cream, and sparingly given rice and beans (true burritos have no room for such wasteful items but the lesser kinds use these as filler). Folded and wrapped in aluminum, presented to you, and then devoured. These are the joys I no longer know, and yet yearn for every day.

You may find my longing laughable, trivial, unfound, but if you were raised on such wrapped perfection, you would be feeling my pangs of pain too.
To the Angelinos, a burrito is one’s lifeblood. One was raised to seek out carnitas and cilantro. The rational plays no part. And I must bite my tongue and wait, till May to return home to enjoy yet again my wrapped lifeblood.

Photo Credit:


  1. Nothing can compare to a California taqueria. Growing up there, one takes it for granted.

  2. Yumms. Yes, it's all those things--especially the cilantro.

  3. Mouthwatering photo and article! I totally agree...California has the best burritos around.



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