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The Adventures of the Flying Burrito

If I had a nickel for every time a fellow transplanted Californian and I had this conversation…

What good is a Steve Hanson-ish up-market Mexican restaurant in Manhattan–with its artisanal tequila tastings-this and wood-fired mole-that–when all I want is a $3 burrito? Sure, I’ll order one of their burritos for lunch, just to sate the craving for something carby and rectangular that’s topped with guac and sour cream. But nothing satisfies like a burrito from La Taqueria in San Francisco’s Mission.

Allow me to reflect for a moment: the crispy, but succulent carne asada, the adamant no-rice rules, the freshly made guac that only California Hass avocadoes can yield, the salty tang of Oaxacan cheese, the piquant pico de gallo…Taqueria’s burritos are the stuff of legends. Lunchtime on any given day draws a motley crowd of faux-hawked Mission area hipsters, longtime locals, school kids, hippies, you name it–all united by a shared love of Taqueria’s burritos.

One time I dug into my burrito so ferociously, the pieces of meat toppled down my lap and onto the floor. Despite being branded a germophobe by my friends, without flinching, I picked up the pieces of carne asada, and popped them right into my mouth. I even brought one home on the plane, and although the bag broke, and the burrito split, I pulled the tasty pieces out of the soiled pages of my notebook and ate them. Gross, yes, but I promise you would do the same.


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The Window Seat has taught me a new word today: “guac.” It’s quite fun to say out loud. “Guac, guac, guac…”


amo el guaco!
Yo quiero guaco!
a nickel for your thoughts…


Oh, the joys of Cali-Mex. It’s not just the authenticity and the fun of eating stick-to-your-ribs food with your fingers, but it’s the TONE of the eatery that makes the real difference. Who doesn’t enjoy simple, high-quality food made with little fuss? Forget the pomposity and exaggerated decorum of so many fine dining establishments. I’ll take a Mission-District taqueria packed with quirky characters, fresh Mexican fast food, and the occasional wondering Mariachi band any day of the week. Ok, make that several days of the week.

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