The Cali B

The sun stokes the flavor and creativity of San Diego’s taco shop food scene. For all of my life, the “California burrito” has been the go-to order at any taco shop. I was surprised to learn that this regional delicacy is a pretty recent invention. The story starts when… Roberto Robledo opened his first tortilleria in San Diego in the early 1960’s. By 1970, the first Roberto’s taco shop was opened. Roberto’s in San Diego is about as common today as Dunkin’ Donuts in Boston or Starbuck’s in Seattle. Throughout the 70’s and 80’s, taco shops around the county popped up, all using “-berto” as the suffix of their name: Rigoberto’s, Filiberto’s, Hilberto’s, Alberto’s, … Many shops sold simple bean burritos, but soon, at one of these many “Berto’s” shops, the California burrito was born! Thin slices of carne asada mixed with guacamole, french fries, queso, and salsa all wrapped in a scrumptious tortilla – essentially carne asada fries, another regional favorite, in burrito form. The California burrito reminds me of home, of laying out at the beach watching the sunset with friends, of surfing early in the morning, of enjoying a picnic in the city. The “no-frills” burrito is simple, yet iconic in San Diego. People from all backgrounds will come together to enjoy a California burrito in a hole-in-the-wall San Diego taco shop. The Cali b reminds me of my childhood playing soccer and the many friendships forged throughout the years. Its simplicity is its sophistication. Its juicy flavor will keep you coming back every time.

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