Makin' Burritos

| Comments (6) | Food
Bay Area burrito classic El Burrito Real just closed its doors. I must have eaten hundreds of burritos there and while I'd seen them made I thought before it went out of business, it would be interesting to see things from the other side of the counter. Cisco, the manager, was kind enough to teach me the basics and let me work a shift last Monday. Plus, I got a nifty shirt. No hair net, though.

The setup at EBR is simple: there's a long line of ingredients on a steam tray. You walk down the line and point to what you want. They pile it on the tortilla and then wrap it all up at the end. This turns out to be the tricky part of the operation, so they teach it to you first. I showed up at 4:30 and Cisco pointed me to a tortilla piled with rice and beans. He showed me how to do the wraps and set me to practicing. After about 50 wraps and more than a few ruined tortillas I was pronounced ready to try making a whole burrito.1 My first official burrito was for Mrs. Guesswork but then I stuck around and worked the counter for a while. I'm also fully qualified to make tacos and combo plates, so if the whole security thing doesn't work out...

1. The important things to know here are (1) get the fillings centered on the tortilla (2) once you get the tortilla half-rolled to collect the filling and pull it back into the roll (3) fold the edges of the tortilla back in before you give it one final roll.


I'm so sorry! I've heard of that place even up here in Seattle and wanted to try it one day.

My money's on El Farolito on Mission at 24th in San Fran, so if you ever get up that way, check them out.

C'mon, Eric, you coulda smiled for the camera in at least one of the pics!

El Farolito's good, but Pancho Villa (16th/Valencia) is my favorite and the salsa bar at Pancho Villa can't be beat. There's several really good hot salsas and an abundant supply of limes and dry roasted chilies. (Their new branch on the Embarcadero pales in comparison to the original.)

El Tonayense (24th/Shotwell) is also good (as are their taco trucks). Burritos are a personal thing, everybody has their particular combination they like and you have to find the ones that work for you. I happen to like chicken asado and black beans, and Pancho Villa is great for that. But their carnitas is no where near as good as El Tonayense or La Taqueria (Mission/24th+). And other folks rave about the carne asado at La Cumbre (Valencia/16th).

There's only one cardinal rule of thumb in the Mission. Don't eat there if it's empty. Take it as a sign of the gods and move on. And as a bonus, most places in the Mission have Mexican Coke with real sugar in a real Coke bottle. Score!

More Mission burrioto silliness here:

While you mourn the passing of EBR, try the Marlen Taqueria on California St. in Mountain View (opposite the San Antonio shopping center). I can't vouch for the burritos, but their tacos are the tastiest around (and among the cheapest). Plus, the place is always clean.

I can't believe I missed this. Carne asada, extra carne please.

Holy crap! What happened to your hair?!? Wow, I really haven't seen you in a LOOONG time.

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