This week's Ask Mr. Gold has ignited an intrastate burrito battle that seems founded more on geographical pride than tortilla fillings. If there's one thing we've learned from the overwhelming response to Gold's burrito ode, it's that other cities have more than a bit of burrito envy. San Francisco's Menu Pages gives Gold's burrito banter the tabloid treatment: LA Weekly Writer Attacks SF Burritos for “Yellow Cheese.” Yellow journalism, indeed.
Although initially a battle of two cities, the burrito wars have spread to Portland, San Diego, Santa Cruz, Isla Vista and even New York. Unfortunately, we saw little burrito insight and lots of city bashing based on rent prices, transportation and culture.
On laist, “bennyinsf” takes it from the tortilla to political autonomy:
“I know a lot of people in NorCal and especially here in SF who would love for California to be divided into two states. If it were already the case, we'd have legalized same-sex marriage in NorCal while SoCal would have an embalmed Reagan [for] governor.”
Others have used the dispute as an excuse to express their state pride. Via SFist:
From “dee jay see”:
“first off, this snobby cali shit doesn't fly anywhere else in the country….so while you might have some distaste for portland, the rent's cheaper and there's prolly considerably fewer smashed beer bottles sitting around.”
“A Native Son” replies:
“Our snobby Cali shit may not fly anywhere else in the country, but neither do we. We fly over the rest of the country, remember? Never forget it. Ever. ;)”
SF's Menu Pages decided to let San Diego settle the debate. They called up Crawford Coates of Dr. Burrito.com , already a controversial figure in the burrito world for his 2007 interview with San Diego's Side Dish, in which he reduced San Fran's burritos to drunk-munchie cuisine. “If there's a prototypical LA burrito, I wouldn't know it,” Coates admits.
Which leads us back to where we started: Jonathan Gold. Mr. Gold is the expert on Los Angeles grub and has tasted virtually every burrito bundled in the City of Angels. While some echo his reverence for El Tepeyac, and other Angelenos give shout-outs to their favorite local stands — La Estrella, Puebla Tacos — even Brock Keeling, editor of SFist, seems to agree that Los Angeles can claim better burritos than his town. “Pst,” he writes, “your burritos are secretly much, much better.”
SFweekly.com may have the sorriest plea:
“Keep your distance down I-5, Mr. Gold, happily nibbling your exquisitely delicate little roll-ups. If you've never had to cobble together the rent in the gray, drippy Sunset, you couldn't possibly understand our inextinguishable passion for cheap and bulky.”
Oh those poor, burrito-searching souls, struggling to find grub that agrees with the high rent, finding solace in an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink burrito. We almost feel sorry for them. Whether you head over to Al and Bea's, El Tepeyec or Yucas, it is guaranteed you will not find a “delicate little roll up.”
You can't take the city out of the man, nor can you keep the burrito out of the bowl. Sometimes, rice happens, and our only suggestion is to know your burrito before you bite. It's what's on the inside that counts.
Or as “photola” on LAist writes on the site's comments attached to the post:
“hey we are in the same state, let's not fight each other. instead we should be fighting new yorkers. now they have such shitty food they are known for their hot dog stands. taco trucks are much better (& cheaper).”