Some things are just meant to go together. Peanut Butter and jelly, eggs and bacon, Kelly Slater and baldness – there might not be a clear explanation why these pair so nicely, but they simply just do. Don’t ask questions. And for California surfers, one post session cuisine undeniably couples with the sport better than any other: Mexican food.
The connection between California surfers and Mexican food is somewhat inexplicable. It just is. After a long session, you’ll never here about surfers grabbing Chinese food or Thai. Burgers? Maybe. But no other cuisine style stands out more, in the minds of surfers at least, than Mexican. And the apex of Mexican food is the burrito. So for the sake of arbitrary connections and pure subjectivity, here’s the definitive list of California’s best post-surf burritos:
Location: San Diego
What to order: Surfin’ California burrito
This ain’t your average burrito. First off, it’s in the California burrito style, a movement popularized right there in San Diego, which incorporates a handful of French fries. Next, this burrito also blends carne asada steak with shrimp. Top it off with some Pico de Gallo salsa, avocado, a special sauce and you’ve got yourself a behemoth burrito. Lucha Libre had its 15 minutes of fame when Travel Channel’s Man vs. Food stopped by the shop. And for any surfers having had a session out at Mission Beach, Ocean Beach or La Jolla, Lucha Libre is just a short drive to get some much-needed post surf fuel.
Location: Newport Beach
What to order: Chicken Burrito
Nestled on the edge of the Newport’s iconic surf scene, Chronic Tacos is a staple for many locals. It’s really either Chronic or Jack in the Box…not much of a debate. With its Chipotle style ordering system, Chronic has found the most efficient way to profit from the salty locals. But the assembly line style doesn’t take away from the quality. The chicken in particular has a specific seasoning, which is both unique and mouthwatering. Wolf that puppy down with some of the secret Baja sauce and your good to head back to 54th street for another session.
Location: Manhattan Beach
What to order: Super Deluxe Burrito
At just steps away from the water at Rosecrans Avenue in Manhattan Beach, El Tarasco is a must. Ask any South Bay surfer and they’ll tell you. If they haven’t been to El Tarasco’s then they’re posers. The workers are so used to having surfers in the shop that they don’t even bat an eye when a new group walks in, trailing sand on the floor. It’s standard protocol by now. The tiny little shop embodies the epitome of a “hole in the wall,” with stickers plastering the walls and only a handful of seats around a bar. Oh and the food ain’t half bad either. The Super Deluxe has all the necessities.
Location: Carpinteria, Santa Barabara
What to order: Super Burrito
Careful, or else you might miss this place. One location lies just off the CA-1 freeway in the sleepy town of Carpinteria and there’s another in Santa Barbara. But both are right there if you just surfed Rincon, Santa Barbara, or Ventura. And this place is worth the extra short drive. It’s authentic as they come, with rarely any gringos making an appearance. The menu features some traditional Mexican delicacies such as beef tongue and beef intestines. But for those less adventurous, there are also very solid burritos, like the Super Burrito, which comes with all the standard fixings but an unmistakable seasoning.
Location: San Diego
What to order: Surf and Turf Burrito
I know it says surf n’ turf, but don’t think your at some country club or a St. Regis Sunday buffet, bub. El Zarape loosely translates to a shawl, which was traditionally worn by Mexican men. And with the location in South San Diego County, the restaurant stays true to its roots. But you don’t have to cross the border to get some authentic food. Try the surf n’ turf burrito – a generous helping of marinated steak and a heap of succulent lobster – and you might think you’re South of the border in the small fishing village of Puerto Nuevo.
What to order: Carne Asada Burrito
After surfing your brains out in the sandbars of O-side, you’re going to need some serious refueling. The waves are consistently so fun down there that you’ll find yourself in the water for two hours at the very minimum. So the perfect place to go, right up the street from the pier, is the local dive, Colima’s. And because you’re so hungry, all you can think of is sustenance. No frills. Nothing special. Just fuel. The carne asada is perfect for that and it’s also bigger than your freakin’ head.
Location: San Clemente
What to order: Fried Chicken Burrito
With so many hungry surfers in San Clemente, Pedro’s Tacos had to open a second location just to feed all of their loyal customers. Literally, there are two Pedro’s just a few blocks down the road from each other. That’s how much of a staple this place is. So whether you just trudged the trail to Lowers or battled the crowd out at T-Street, you’re gonna need something to replenish. Pedro’s is the spot and the fried chicken is their specialty. (The fish ain’t bad, either).
Location: Playa del Rey
What to order: Carlito’s Way
It’s tough being a surfer in LA. You’ve got shit for waves and you’ve gotta deal with oblivious crowds on the road and in the water. But before you lose your mind and move to Indo (on second thought, do that!), revitalize your mind and your stomach with some Mexican deliciousness. The Carlito’s Way burrito features a lemon zest unique to the restaurant itself. Top that with beans and guac and you’ll be set to battle LA traffic.
What to order: Carnitas Burrito
You’re in the land of the rich and the famous. Malibu is home to more movie stars than most places in the world. And when you don’t wanna spring for a meal costing the same amount as a tank of gas, where do you go? Lily’s is a little hole in the wall joint but there’s nothing small about their burritos. These things are massive and after surfing Zuma or First Point, that’s what you’ll be craving. And the carnitas is on-point with an unbeatable authentic seasoning.
El Taco de Mexico
What to order: Desebrada Burrito (shredded beef)
Despite being over 200 miles from the Mexico border, Ventura County has a large Hispanic population. And, of course, that means good Mexican food. And with a name like El Taco de Mexico, you can’t go wrong. This is a no bullshit joint, dedicated to serving up cheap, tasty and authentic home cooking. Let the desebrada, or shredded beef, melt in your mouth while you listen to classic mariachi canciones. Maybe get a little crazy while your at it and try some cabeza (brains) or lengua (tongue)!