The California burrito is typically a simple affair (as opposed to the Mission burrito) and is filled with nothing but meat, cheese and salsa, and the meat is usually carne asada. Other versions make things a bit more American by throwing french fries into the mix, sometimes adding additional ingredients like cilantro, pico de gallo, sour cream, onion, or guacamole and substituting carnitas, chicken, or shrimp for the carne asada.
The Mission burrito has become one of the most widely recognized burrito styles in the nation, standing out for both its massive size and the sheer number of ingredients it incorporates. The burrito begins with an extra large flour tortilla, usually press-steamed to increase flexibility and minimize the chance of breakage. This foundation is filled with a customer’s choice of rice, beans, salsas and meat. On top of these standard ingredients, customers can order a ‘super’ to include cheese, sour cream, avocado or guacamole, and sometimes shredded lettuce. What makes a true Mission burrito stand out is its exceptional quality, as the many taquerias in the small Mission District of San Francisco were forced to improve in every way possible to compete.
San Diego-Style Carne Asada Burrito
While Californians may not be able to claim complete credit for inventing the carne asada burrito, locals claim that San Diego has certainly perfected it. The carne asada burrito is a delicacy essential to the residents of this beachside SoCal town, featuring a tortilla packed with chunks of carne asada, guacamole and pico de gallo. This dish is designed in contrast to other burrito styles that include rice and beans, which San Diego natives consider merely ‘filler’ ingredients.
While it is difficult to trace the exact origins of the sushi burrito, there are claims that this fusion phenomenon was started in Los Angeles. The sushi burrito is basically a massive, customizable version of a sushi roll, filled with typical sushi ingredients like fish, rice, cucumber, avocado and more, and sometimes wrapped in a flour tortilla in addition to a sheet of seaweed. Instead of slicing the roll into slices, like a typical sushi roll, it is eaten whole with your hands, like a typical burrito. In Los Angeles, the sushi burrito was popularized by the Jogasaki food truck, but in San Francisco, it has taken on a life of its own at Sushirrito.
Throughout Los Angeles, street food has been turning gourmet in recent years. A great example is the extremely popular Kogi food truck, led by Chef Roy Choi, who famously fuses Mexican and Korean foods. One of the most popular items on his menu is the Kogi burrito, filled with options of short rib, spicy pork, chicken or tofu, and topped with chile-soy vinaigrette, sesame oil and lime juice. The burrito has earned wide acclaim in a number of Los Angeles publications in the past few years.