The California burrito, of course, is a regional Mexican legend: a massive burrito (though not as big as the Mission burrito of San Francisco) stuffed with French fries, a Mexican-American creation that could've only been created in Southern California and first popped up in San Diego at one of the -berto's during the 1980s. It's a meal that's still mostly found there, although you can find the burrito in Orange and Los Angeles counties.
But the fact that it's called a California burrito, attributed to the state and not its city of origin, has irked “AJ in the Morning,” a radio show airing on KEGY-FM 103.7 Energy. They have drafted up a petition demanding the world not refer to the California burrito as the California burrito, but rather the San Diego burrito.
“We, the undersigned recognize the fact that the food item commonly called a “California Burrito” (defined as a tortilla filled with carne asada, french fries and other optional fillings) was created in San Diego,” the petition reads. “Furthermore we acknowledge that standard procedure when naming regional foods is to recognize the name of the city (not state) of origin- i.e the Philly Cheese Steak, the Boston Cream Pie, Chicago Style Pizza.”
That's not necessarily true–think about all the barbecue traditions that in actuality come from one part of the state–but we wholeheartedly support AJ in the Morning's efforts. After all, as I documented in my book, the first burrito to be deemed a California burrito was a chimichanga sold by Carl's Jr. in the 1970s, and a California burrito sold in New York in the early 1990s wasn't one stuffed with French fries but rather what we call the Mission burrito. How San Diego's gift to burrito culture came to get the California moniker remains a mystery.
While we support the efforts, it'll be tough to change hearts and minds, especially when it comes to language–it's like trying to keep yourself dry from a hurricane with a Pennysaver. But we wish AJ luck, and many great San Diego burritos from Gilberto's…