Another forecast of relentless rainy and gloomy weather has just about pushed me to my limit. I used to celebrate rain, running barefoot with friends down the streets of San Diego which were only ever wetted by the sprinklers feeding perfectly manicured lawns. But now, my days of rain dancing are long gone.
With my tinge of homesickness and craving for sunshine, comes another, much more powerful craving that is impossible to alleviate with any form of substitution: Mexican Food.
Now I know you’re listing all the new faddy Mexican restaurants popping up across London in your head, but it just isn’t the same. There’s something about homemade Mexican food combined with salt hanging in the air and the crashing of waves nearby that really gives it its flavor.
In Southern California, we have a very strange cultural obsession with the Taco Shop. Similar to having your favourite sports team or favourite band, you form an allegiance, an unspoken bond to your favourite taco shop. There’s Karina’s Taco Shop, Juanita’s Taco Shop, Rico’s Taco Shop… do you see a trend here? Now I know that this is bold and somewhat controversial of me, but Roberto’s Taco Shop is the best. There, I said it.
Anyone from SoCal, knows exactly what i’m talking about. But, for those of you who don’t, i’m sure you’re wondering how on earth you differentiate a bunch of taco shops. Is it the venue? No, most taco shops are small, unattractive little hole in the walls. The focus is on good, freshly made Mexican food.
Is it the menu? No, most taco shops have a similar menu, and although they may have a specialty, there is a standard assortment of Mexican food goodness on offer.
Is it the price? No, that’s the best thing about Taco Shops. You get an incredible meal for an incredibly reasonable price.
Alright, you’re getting frustrated. I’ll reveal the Taco Shop secret to their cult-like following. It’s all about the sauce. Each Taco Shop has their own freshly made, traditional salsa. To be honest, they’re all phenomenal. Roberto’s however, happens to have the best.
It’s a double knockout, red sauce and green sauce. Both fiery hot, one with red chillies, the other from jalapeños. Now that i’ve enticed you with their sauces, you’re wondering what you should order. Listen closely, because this piece of advice may just change your life. When and if you are granted an experience to visit Roberto’s (that’s right, shameless taco shop plug) you are to do exactly this: walk into the Taco Shop (Roberto’s) and utter these two words: California Burrito. Maybe you should throw in a por favor, but other than that, that’s all you need. After receiving your order number, make your way to the two metal containers sitting on a bed of ice that proudly display a sea of chilled red and green sauce. Gather several of each of the small pots and collect your order. A gracias would be nice.
Roberto’s has several locations at which you can dine, but I would suggest taking a friend, grabbing your burritos, and driving to the beach. With your toes wriggled into the sand, a friend by your side, and a view of blue ocean and suntanned surfers, the California Burrito tastes that much better.
I’ve told you about the Taco Shop, introduced the sauce culture, and even taught you how and what to order. Now all that’s left is the California Burrito.
A fresh, warm, flour tortilla encasing one of the most beautiful, unexpected combinations ever: Carne Asada, Sour Cream, Shredded Cheese…. and French Fries. I can tell your mind has just been blown, but trust me when I say it is the most magical, tastebud tantalising mix offered in a delicious bundle. With each bite of your burrito, pour a drop of green then red sauce. This becomes a delectable, drawn out process which maximises the flavour of each bite.
You’re welcome / De nada