Sunday before we left, I had some unfinished business finding some of my favorite Southern California chow.I was on a mission for a California Burrito.A California burrito, for those of you unfamiliar, is a four dollar tortilla conduit pipe full of steak (usually of questionable origin and quality), overflowing with sour cream, cheese, guacamole and finally…..french fries.The french fries are the operative ingredient here, as they displace traditional beans and rice, and make it the unique SoCal delicacy that it is.In my opinion, whatever visionary genius first decided to put French fries in a burrito should be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, or at least a complimentary set of Sham-wow’s.

I had discovered this heavenly delight in San Diego between bouts of unsuccessful surfing attempts, and promised myself that any return trips to California would include at least one of these prodigious gut bombs.Despite its namesake and much to my chagrin, however, the concept of a “California Burrito” seems to elude the entire City of Angels.After a handful of puzzled looks from some of our resident L.A. experts when I inquired about it, they pointed us in the direction of a quintessential beach dive Mexican joint called “El Tarasco”.We were assured us that if any place had a California Burrito they would.

They didn’t.

Despite the lack of a California Burrito, they still served up some admirable food.

El Tarasco, which translated means “The Tarasco” is what you would consider classic beach dive Mexican.Located a stones throw from the Pacific Ocean in Manhattan Beach, the colorful restaurant features little more than a kitchen and a handful of countertop seats.The no frills, galley like interior puts you up close and personal with all the action going on at the grill and you are never more than a subtle nod away from the cook/waitstaff.It keeps the service quick and efficient, and I plowed through a couple baskets of homemade tortilla chips before they could serve up my burrito.

The burrito itself is served “wet” style, which means slathered in sauce and designed to be consumed in a high society manner: with a knife and fork.It might not be a Cali Burrito, but it’s messy and mysterious (that’s a good thing), and for six bucks on a Sunday morning it sure eats pretty good.

(Yes I finished it before you ask…)

The drive down the pacific coast a few miles away isn’t too shabby either.

The hunt for the California Burrito will be continued next year….

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