California Burrito from Sombrero's, Lakeside CAMy whole life I’ve eaten burritos.  I grew up in Long Beach, CA - a “suburb” of Los Angeles with 460,000 residents, the southernmost city in LA County along the coast.  My childhood consisted of the memories in between Mia Lupitas’ burritos smothered in Ranchero Sauce and half-off burritos from El Burrito Jr. when you tore the coupon out of the Seal Beach Sun.  

I’ve spent a hundred life-hours waiting for the Breakfast Burritos from Nick’s Deli, their potatoes seem to soak up the essence of chorizo better than any other I’ve had.  Let’s not forget the Carnitas at Super Mex either; my dad used to take me to the one on 1st and Alamitos before they opened one closer to home on 2nd.  

If you are what you eat, I’m more than 25% burrito.

California Burrito from Rudy's, Carlsbad CA
After living in San Francisco for 5 years I was surprised to discover a phenomenon that emerged while I was away from Southern California, the California Burrito.  My jaw dropped when I pulled into the drive-through of a Cotixan and asked what one consisted of.  

If I were to have guessed the contents of a California Burrito it would have been something with brown rice, black beans, avocado, maybe fish, maybe sprouts, and definitely a whole grain tortilla.  Much to my chagrin, they are something down a completely different path.

In my research at more than a half-dozen Mexican joints in the San Diego area, the common thread that binds them all is carne asada (steak, for you gringos), cheese, and potatoes - which are overwhelmingly in the form of French fries.

French fries?  Yes, French fries.  CA Burritos have more DNA in common with a cheeseburger and fries than they do to any real Mexican food.  No doubt they were the product of alcohol.  They are greasy and dense and warrant a post burrito nap or Metamucil, depending on how well they were prepared.

California from El Cotixan, Encinitas CA
What is most interesting is that controversy abounds at every turn regarding the California Burrito; where it orginated (was it really San Diego?), what restaurant first put it on the menu (many folks point to Santana’s), even what defines a true pure-breed (is it sour cream or guacamole?  Does pico de gallo come standard?).

Urban dictionary user, Ren Daasnes, states that a real CA Burrito has sour cream and if guacamole is substituted then it is an imposter, called a Cyrus Burrito.  Right or wrong, I love her logic.  Besides, how to better honor the founder of the Persian Empire by ordering a Cyrus Burrito at a Mexican drive-through?

California Burrito from La Gordita, Vista CA
In any case, the California Burrito is metastasizing.  It has been sited as far north as Sacramento (at Oscar’s), and I personally spotted one in Isla Vista, just north of Santa Barbara, at Cantina.  When done right, they can be phenomenal; synergistic, just like you would imagine when you combine two comfort foods, the burrito and the cheeseburger.

Be forewarned; however, when done poorly they can be disastrous.  The grease from the fries only fills the gaps in between the gristle of the carne asada and makes the salsa pool at the surface.  The two oils battle for your attention by dripping out the bottom onto your pants, making it look like you may have wet yourself a little while at lunch.

No bueno.

Next time you are in San Diego County, or see one in a higher latitude, check them out.  According to the San Diego Examiner, “Some of the top spots for the Cali meat-bombs in San Diego include La Posta de Acapulco's on Washington, Taco Surf in PB, Trujillo’s by State, Vallarta Express in CLMT and occasionally Santana’s.”


Authordavid koch
CategoriesHistory, Humor
8 CommentsPost a comment

My wife was craving some KFC the other day (it's not Kentucky Fried Chicken anymore) and I didn't feel like cooking... well that, I was exhausted from work and I could walk there too were all factors that helped her cause.  We got some combos with the requisite Mashed Potatoes 'N Gravy (which I call wallpaper paste), Cole Slaw (which I shamefully enjoy), and their biscuits (which have gone dreadfully downhill since my youth.)

What caught my eye was the packet titled "Colonel's Buttery Spread" which beyond its title bore only the following two tidbits of information: "Keep Refrigerated" and "Artificially Flavored."  What is this magical spread?  Was it outsourced to the Keebler Elves and made churning Yeti milk with a unicorn's horn?

I went online to take a peek at the KFC Nutrition Guide...

Authordavid koch
7 CommentsPost a comment


Two months ago, my girlfriend and I moved across an ocean.  Our first big purchase, before the boxes of clothing and kitchen supplies even arrived at our new abode, was a Big Green Egg.  The Egg has been faithful ever since*.


For those not familiar with the Big Green Egg (“BGE”), it is a barbecue and smoker with...

AuthorLoren Tama

We've covered Burger King's controversial ad campaigns in the past (Fast Food Frenzies) like their Whopper Virgins and the Whopper Sacrifice but this time, Burger King deals another foul ad, managing to offend only a billion people, Hindus.  In a print ad, they depict the goddess Lakshmi straddling a meat sandwich with a tagline of  "Snack is Sacred." 



I suppose no one in the Marketing Department knows much about Hinduism - which advocates vegetarianism; and those Hindus who do eat meat, nearly all abstain from beef.  The cow is considered a symbol of life and will likely never be successful on a Burger King menu in India.



Earlier this year Burger King released a rare apology over one of its ad campaigns in Spain after it offended the 150+ million Mexican people globally.  The ad in question was for its "Texican Whopper" - a cheeseburger with a chile and a spicy mayonnaise. 

The ads portray a short-stature Mexican wearing the Mexican flag and a professional wrestling mask co-inhabiting with a tall American cowboy character.  At one point in the ad, the American lifts up the Mexican character so that he can place a trophy on a high shelf.

The most notable reaction came from Mexico's ambassador to Spain who wrote a letter to the company.  Burger King quickly replied in a statement "Burger King Corporation has made the decision to revise the Texican Whopper advertising creative out of respect for the Mexican culture and its people" (via Reuters.)


Authordavid koch
CategoriesHumor, Politics

Snap, Crackle and Pop are all brothers and they are elves.  They were adapted from Kellogg's radio ad and were first illustrated by Vernon Grant in 1933.

Snap is the oldest and is the problem solver, fixing what his two brothers create.  Snap sports a chef's hat.  Crackle is the fun-loving middle child.  Crackle is also the leader of the group and the supposedly, smartest of the three. Crackle wears a red-and-white-striped hat.  Pop is the jokester, youngest elf; Pop doesn’t take anything seriously and he wears a band leader's hat.

According to Mental Floss Magazine (2008) "A Second Helping of Cereal Facts" there was a fourth brother, Pow.  - "In the 1950s, [Pow] was supposed to represent Rice Krispies’ explosive nutritional value.  Sadly, four proved to be one cereal gnome too many, and Pow was given the pink slip."

I grew up on Rice Krispies, usually heaping three or four tablespoons of granulated sugar atop each bowl.  I enjoyed the ads as a youngster, but who knows, maybe I would have enjoyed them 33% more had there been Pow...

Interestingly enough, the names Snap, Crackle, and Pop are changed from country to country in order to better fit into each culture, this process is called glocalization.  Here are some of them (via the Wiki):

  • Belgium - Pif! Paf! Pof!
  • Canadian French - Cric! Crac! Croc!
  • Denmark - Pif! Paf! Puf!
  • Finland - Poks! Riks! Raks!
  • Germany - Knisper! Knasper! Knusper!
  • Holland - Pif! Paf! Pof!
  • Italy - Pif! Paf! Pof!
  • Mexico - Pim! Pum! Pam!
  • Norway - Piff! Paff! Puff!
  • South Africa - Knap! Knaetter! Knak!
  • Sweden - Piff! Paff! Puff!
  • Switzerland - Piff! Paff! Poff!
  • United Kingdom - The mascots were portrayed, for a while, as cows instead of gnomes.


What's your favorite? - I like South Africa's...


Authordavid koch

photo by architekt2

If Ettore Boiardi only knew what ConAgraFoods was doing with his name (albiet Americanized) he would likely not approve.  The story of Boiardi (from Wikipedia):

"The Chef Boyardee product began when its founder, Ettore Boiardi, founded an Italian restaurant, Giardino d'Italia, at East 9th Street and Woodland Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio.  People began asking Ettore for his recipe and samples of his ingredients, and as demand grew he opened a factory in 1928 to keep up with orders.

Ten years later, he moved his factory to Milton, Pennsylvania. When his product began mass-distributing, he decided to name his product "Boy-Ar-Dee" to help Americans properly pronounce his name."

I'm all for getting creative but with reagards to food, a line needs to be drawn where children especially begin to become alienated from what they're actually eating.  How is a 6 year old suppose to draw the conclusion that his pasta dinosaurs came from a field of Semolina?

Here are some of the more off-the-wall products with the Chef Boyardee label on them:

ABC's 'n 123's Mini Meatballs - Nothing says delicious like food shaped like letters and numbers. 

Beefaroni - I have nothing to say about this one.

BIG Beefaroni - A bigger version of the previous entry that made me speechless.

Cheesy Burger Macaroni - I like cheeseburgers AND macaroni; however, I don't think they should be stuffed into a can together.

Cheesy Burger Ravioli - Same "two dishes, one can" rule applies for ravioli.

Chili Cheese Dog Twistaroni - A new pasta appears here, the twistaroni, not to be confused with Fusilli.

Dinosaurs with Mini Meatballs - There's nothing quite like a perfectly al dente dinosaur.

Mini Bites Micro Beef Ravioli - I prefer my Micro Beef meduim rare.

Mini Bites Mini Ravioli with Mini Meatballs - Perfect for jockeys?

Nacho Cheese Twistaroni - The twistaroni with a Mexican... twist?  Pun intended.

Pepperoni Pizzazaroli - Ahh, the Pizzazaroli.  Don't confuse this with Pizzoccheri.


Authordavid koch
CategoriesHistory, Humor
3 CommentsPost a comment

It was only about a year ago when I picked up my first copy of the magazine Real Simple and while reading it, my quick browse soon turned into a full blown peruse.  I like it.  The mag is like Martha Stewart Living only more practical and not so hoity-toity when it comes to cooking, and gardening, and well... life in general.  

Now now, I have the utmost respect for Martha and the empire she has built, I really do.  I may be a big fan but nevertheless, it's still fun to post screenshots of her drinking an Olde English 40oz malt liquor and eating a Taco Bell burrito on Late Night with Conan O'Brien.  You can watch the whole clip here.


Martha Stewart and a 40 of Old English "Old E" Malt Liquor


So back to the story at hand...

Real Simple recently did a piece online called 7 Common Cooking Mistakes and they added "What to do next time" instructions in the article.  Their original list consisted of the following:

  1. You didn’t read the recipe all the way through before you started cooking.
  2. You overcrowded the pan.
  3. You didn’t preheat the pan, and your fish fillets turned out soggy.
  4. You cooked pasta in a small pot and ended up with a pile of gummy noodles.
  5. You sautéed wet greens.
  6. You used dried herbs in a recipe in place of fresh ones, resulting in a heavily overseasoned dinner.
  7. You fried food in oil that wasn’t hot enough.


Here are the more uncommon mistakes that I would have added:

  1. You thought it was sugar, but it wasn't.
  2. The last person to wash the blender didn't screw the bottom on tight, and you just made margaritas.
  3. You forgot to rinse your beans and now you just poured wall paper paste on your salad.
  4. You got all wrapped up playing Cranium and scorched the Thanksgiving turkey.
  5. "Baking Powder, Baking Soda... what's the difference?"
  6. "Jalapeno... Habanero, what's the difference?"
  7. You completely forgot about the rice...
  8. You fell asleep on the couch and just made a briquette from a frozen pizza...

Feel free to add your own in the comments



Authordavid koch