When the Mission style burrito first came into existence, it is said that Jesus wept tears of cumin into taco meat. In fact in some of the more remote regions of Mexico, guacamole is a sacrament.
Visit a place like San Francisco’s Mission District, a place I’ve long been a fan of for its vibrant food scene. Spots like KronnerBurger, and Mission Street Chinese were popular during the height of the post recession pop-up boom.
La Taqueria is full of regulars, and everyone behind the counter is constantly moving. Patrons sit in close confines quietly munching, and sharing condiments like nonchalant no-look passes.
Ask anyone here about the house’s best offering and you’ll get a different answer. On our first visit we foolishly did not order tacos thinking only of ritual burrito worship and fooled by burrito fables. As we begin to baptize our food in salsa, we slowly realized our burrito folly. At La Taqueria you can tell a local cognoscenti by what’s on their plate. Everyone here is eating tacos.
These were great tacos – yet the bar is extremely high in that crowded space. I still have yet to have a better Al Pastor than the one that can be found on the corner of Venice and La Brea in Los Angeles, the late night legend of Tacos Leo.
Go to El Castillo we were told by a kindly old man who immediately recognized our plight. Mind you, our La Taqueria meal was exceptional – El Castillito is the restaurant with a true burrito focus.
Of the three main burrito styles, the Mission Style is one of the great food concepts mankind has ever invented. A trinity of refried beans, rice, and meat that never ceases to leave the colon feeling delightful. The burrito succeeds in the only way a taco can fail, commercial corn tortillas. Here a commercial product in the flour tortilla serves as a firewall against an avalanche of flavor. El Castillito truly was one of the best burrito’s I have ever tasted as evidenced by the most perfect burrito picture ever taken.
We are all very familiar with it, and there are several now national chains specializing in exactly this currency. Moe’s, Chipotle, Qdoba, Baha Fresh, and Free Birds, to name a few.
The power of Ricky Martin, and his ability to physically shake bon bons while simultaneously living la vida loca should never be mistaken nor forgotten. Several scientists have actually proven that Ricky makes the Salsa spicier – particularly the green salsa, which becomes much more flamboyant. El Castillito wisely immortalizes Ricky on the jukebox.
For me, The Mission Style clearly trumps the California Style which features the addition of Potatoes, and represents an evolution of the traditional style. If you consider yourself a casual fan, or a true American you own yourself a burrito pilgrimage – head to the source. The Mission in San Francisco.