California Dreamin’: One Man’s Search for Isla Vista’s Finest French Fry Burrito Combo


Robert Wojtkiewicz
Senior Layout Editor
Photo by Beth Askins, Layout Editor

Grease is an important part of many foods. Some run from it, others embrace its delicious, lubricating properties. As the grease gushes from the burrito and down the side of my hand on a sunny Isla Vista afternoon, not a moment of hesitation passes through my mind as I eagerly lick it off, returning to the chaotic concoction of fries, chicken, sour cream, cheese and–most importantly–grease. In my hands is what I believe to be the pinnacle of human achievement, the tortilla-wrapped unicorn, the great white whale of stuffed foods, my Holy Grail: the California burrito.

The logic isn’t difficult to understand. There are burritos. There are French fries. But not all combinations of the two are created equal.

I grew up in Southern California, so I have had my share of some of the most authentic Mexican food this side of the border. That being the case, my views on what should or shouldn’t go inside a burrito approach the militant. In its simplest form, the California burrito, which is widely regarded to have originated in San Diego, is meat (either pollo or carne asada), cheese, fries, and sour cream wrapped in a tortilla. In our own little nugget of foodie heaven, there are three options to fulfill your starchy burrito desires: Super Cuca’s, The Cantina, and Rosarito. Strap in, kids, we ain’t going to Freebirds.

Super Cuca’s
French Fries, Guacamole, Cheese, Sour Cream, Pico de Gallo, and Choice of Meat
— $9.25 + tax

Super Cuca’s California burrito is easily the best value burrito in IV. It’ll hurt your wallet a little more, but these things are huge. Also, it is the only stop on our Tour de Burritos that gives you additional meat options to the standard chicken and beef. The carnitas is fantastic, but for the sake of fairness, I went with the pollo at each restaurant. On a good day, the fries are crisp and fresh. More often than not, however, they tend to be a bit soggy and undercooked. But if you’re going for size, Super Cuca’s is the way to go.

The Cantina
Choice of Chicken or Steak with Cheese, French fries, and Sour Cream
— $7.25 + tax

The Cantina’s California burritos fall on the minimalist end of the spectrum. But don’t let the consistent lack of a line fool you–The Cantina has the real deal. Hot, fresh fries; juicy chicken seasoned to perfection; and a big scoop of cream. If you like your California burritos without any nonsense, vamos a la Cantina.

Choice of Chicken or Steak with Cheese, Lettuce, French Fries, Guacamole, Pico de Gallo, and Salsa
— $7.45 + tax

I like variety. And I like big burritos. Rosarito has both. Every time I go, the fries are crispy and salty, the pico de gallo and salsa are fresh, and the burritos are monster-sized. The lettuce adds a crunch that complements the rest of the burrito perfectly. When I’m really craving a California burrito, I go here.

There you have it, Gauchos: the complete rundown on your California burrito options in IV. Are there better California burritos in the state? Probably. But when your stomach is craving the smartest combination of foods since bread and butter, you know where to go. It’s been fun, now somebody please roll me home.