I had been away from the bay area for about 12 years, living in San Diego. During my time there, I had developed a strong preference for San Diego style ALL MEAT burritos dripping and popping with flavor.
Now, I have moved back, and after living in SF about a year I have almost given up my search to find them here, which has been kind of hopeless. I admit I haven't been looking very hard lately after my initial disappointment from hitting top recommendations.
To clarify, I am not looking for a 'Super Burrito' which I understand was perfected or maybe even invented here. That is nice, they are quite satisfying when I am looking for this style.
But what I am really looking for has no rice, and no beans, no cheese, and this is important: the key feature is the intense flavor of the meat itself.
What seems to be standard in SF is that many of the burrito and taco shops here have little buffet trays of meat sitting in hot water, the meat simmering in it's own juice, that ends up as kind of a stewed or carnitas type of consistency. Also... the popular item is the 'super burrito', adding heaps of other things. Reminds me of a Chipotle burrito....but not necessarily in a bad way, just different from what I am searching for.
In San Diego at my more favorite spots - the meat tastes more like BBQ - slow, low and dry heat. Or maybe even Grilled, or seared on a hot griddle before it goes on the chopping block. Its slightly crunchy, with bits of the end pieces, charred and also bits of fatty soft pieces as well. And ..... not much else is added to the burrito, mostly meat.
I am looking for Al Pastor cooked on a spit and sliced off , with the intense flavor of chile, lots of lime, fat, and spice. Added cilantro for a zesty kick. Dumped into a flour tortilla and optionally augmented with some creamy avocado salsa, grilled onions or other salsa.
Examples from San Diego: Tacos El Paisa (Imperial Ave) and Tacos El Gordo(Chula Vista), or El Cuervo (Mission Hills)<not cooked on a spit but still nice, if even maybe a little over spiced>
I am looking for Carne Asada. All meat with a bit of guacamole and maybe some salsa fresca to cut the smokey-limey-greasy flavor. (Example: Meat like they serve at any of the above but even something like Roberto's on Miramar Rd would be a better fit than what I have had so far found in San Francisco.)
I know it exists !!
I just don't know where to look anymore because the local blogs and my new friends seem to have totally different preference up here.
Anybody who has bridged the Tijuana to San Francisco Taco and Burrito Gap - can you please help ?
Links to previous threads I may have missed, and fresh opinions welcome!