melted onto the bottom of the wrapper. (Some burritophiles care about
steamed-versus-grilled tortillas, but that's never been as much of a
priority to us as well seasoned meat and rice, which has more
of an impact on the overall flavor.) There wasn't a bland spot in La Cumbre's burrito. Yet after a few bites we
realized that we were chewing. And chewing. The steak might
have gone straight from the grill to the tortilla, but it appeared to have come from the most rubbery cows who've ever grazed the American
The next day, we rode over to El Faro. The flagship store is clearly of its time (i.e., the same era as the rise of Hardee's and Arby's), but it's still around and still well maintained. In fact, El Faro still has locations in downtown S.F. and Concord, not to mention a successful chain of imitators (El Farolito).
But if El Faro's super carne asada burrito is the Eve of the Mission burrito, the species has since invented the wheel and written language. We watched the cooks spoon refried beans over the rice, followed by chopped steak that had been floating in its own juices on the steam table. Afterward came a shower of cheese, a fat, liquid dollop of guacamole, and a big white squiggle of sour cream. When we picked up the burrito, it sloshed; when we bit in, it spurted ― Mexican beef stroganoff. You may accuse SFoodie of being biased, not to mention disrespectful of our predecessors, but the next time the burrito hunger descends, we're back to our normal haunts.
Taqueria La Cumbre: 515 Valencia (at 16th St.), 863-8205.
El Faro: 2399 Folsom (at 20th St.), 647-3716.