I wear a tiny pin on my backpack that bears the words Burrito Eater. There is a mustache on it. I wear it because it is true. Minus the facial hair.
Charles Hodgkins, writer of BurritoEater.com gave me that pin. His site is an exhaustive website about, yes, burritos, but more specifically San Francisco-style burritos. Which didn't even know was a thing before I moved.
Before I moved a burrito was a thing that laid on a plate. It was never portable. It was almost always wet with sauce, mostly red, sometimes green. Burritos, back then, were filled with meat, cheese, maybe vegetables, but definitely meat and cheese. The tortillas were bland on their own, and frankly a ladle of sauce didn't improve matters much. Often burritos came with rice and beans on the side. This was a dish, back then, that I rarely ordered.
Now you can catch me eating a burrito on the regular. That is because, out here, the burrito is an institution. It is San Francisco's fast food. A proud, noble beast of a thing that can stand erect for hours on end. Which is a good thing, it might take you that long to defeat it.
Wrapped in aluminum foil and big enough to cause major damage if thrown directly at a head, a Mission-style burrito is an epic adventure in your mouth. Meat eaters have the hell of deciding on everything from el pastor to tender tongue. Rice, beans, cilantro, crema, cheese, avocado, sometimes lettuce--they pile all that shit on there and wrap it up in a fresh flour tortilla big enough to substitute as a blanket in a pinch. The deliciosity is undeniable.
My friend, no slouch at master the Mission-style slab, taught me the intircacies of pulling off just the right amount of foil. You see, I have never finished an SF burrito in a single sitting. There is always, as this friend calls it, a nub. You can have the nub tomorrow. Maybe for breakfast. The key is estimating how large of a nub will be left and pulling off the proper amount to be able to re-wrap your feast. I'm getting there.
It goes without saying that I've never had Mexican food like the Mexican food I've had since I moved to California. The tacos, tamales, quesadilla (there is this thing called a quesadilla suiza that blew my mind one beer-soaked night)--all of it is incredible. Less cheese and cream, fresher herbs and salsas, ridiculously ripe produce. And most importantly, no sauce.
I never knew what a burrito could be. Now I wear a pin.