In san Francisco we were informed by our host that the best burrito in the entire country could be found in La Taqueria on Mission Street. But the chap in the bike shop told us, “no not there, you want La Taqueria Cancun just two blocks down, they have the indisputable best burrito”. This highly sort after accolade is up for debate across the breadth of the state with each town, no village, claiming to have The Burrito. In San Diego they do the Californian, in the place of rice you get French fries wrapped up in the depths of the parcel amongst the beans and the meaty goodness.
Now in Mexico I’m getting a taste for the authentic. On the Baja peninsula it seems that tacos are king. On my first afternoon I have a trio of street tacos, add a dollop of guacamole, a sprinkling of onions and a good scoop of tomatoes and you are in business. So day three and I think I better branch out and see how American burritos square up to the real deal; well Yankee burritos are certainly bigger for one thing. It seems that the real deal is not what I’m used to; they seem to be pre wrapped tacos with none of the trimmings save the cursory chilli sauce. Small for my big stomach. From what I taste they have beef filling, though its not juicy steak but more like slightly dry, stringy braising steak. But not unpleasant by any means, though along way from what I was expecting. Begrudgingly I lean in favour of the Americanised style burritos.
So what is the difference between a taco and a burrito, a quesadilla or a fajita? I’ve not even seen fajitas on the menu so I’m not sure if they are even a thing. I’ve already established that a burrito is a disappointing taco. A quesadilla is a burrito without meat or any trimmings but just cheese; essentially it is the Mexican cheese on toast and yet I’ve not been offered a good dollop of Branston Pickle once.
A fajita where its at is either a make it your self burrito or essentially a taco but bigger. In restaurants all are served up with a wedge of lime, refried beans and rice; on the street just get tacos- fish, chicken, beef or pulled pork go down the hatch nicely. And adding just sprinkling cheese on top of burritos does not make an entirely different dish, enchiladas.
All of the above come with what I assume is a home made chilli sauce or two. They are damn good but watch yourself, it might seem a good idea at the time but don’t over do it on the chilli especially if you have to sit on a small bike seat the next day.
I ponder these meanings of life as I go.
Now whilst you are enjoying some fine Mexican cuisine you might think to listen to some authentic music. I’ve taken to listening to local radio in each country I’m in. Its great to get to know what people are listening to. Now we have all seen a mariachi band at least on the tele. Its a very Mexican genre. The radio isn’t much different, its an onslaught of maracas, vihuela, guitar, trumpets and of course vocals. The album covers which can be spotted at the cashiers desk in most shops sporting men with fine moustaches and cow boys hats. It’s not to everyone’s taste.
The war on plastic hasn’t reached here, at any food stall to save on washing up the done thing is to have your plastic plate in a thin plastic bag like the ones you buys fruit in. When you are done the bag is simply whipped off and a new one used, a voila, no washing up. Wasteful genius.