Local Wally's Guide to San Diego

Local Wally's Guide to San Diego

California Burrito Smackdown: Rubios Versus Robertos

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 Rubios California Burrito

Rubios California Burrito

You could WIN THIS RUBIO'S CALIFORNIA BURRITO! 


Rubio's is best known for bringing the fish taco to San Diego and subsequently the rest of the world.  No doubt about it, Ralph Rubio nailed that one.  But San Diego is also known for another Cali-Mex creation, the CALIFORNIA BURRITO.  Filled with carne asada, fries, cheese, and typically sour cream, one of the Roberto's claims to have invented it.  Or Santana's?  Or ---- berto's?  No matter, it's a San Diego tradition.  And San Diegans often argue over who makes the best California Burrito with the same passion as In N Out versus Shake Shack (um, come on people, In N Out wins, no contest).  Yes, we love our California Burritos.

So Rubio's, not satisfied to have already claimed the Fish Taco crown, has decided to enter the California Burrito space.  But can they beat Roberto's????  There's only one way to find out and that's with the CALIFORNIA BURRITO SMACKDOWN:  RUBIO'S VERSUS ROBERTO'S!

AND YES, YOU CAN WIN A RUBIOS GIFT CARD.  More on that at the end.

UNBOXING THE CALIFORNIA BURRITO

californiaBurrito.jpg

Here are the contenders, side by side.  The Roberto's California Burrito on the left, Rubio's on the right.  Right off the bat the Rubio's appears heftier, fatter, more substantial.

 On the left, Robert's. On the right, Rubio's.

On the left, Robert's. On the right, Rubio's.

FATTER IS BETTER - OR IS IT?

It's pretty obvious that Rubio's California Burrito is fatter and heftier.   I was going to weigh it but my Biggest Loser food scale was dead, sort of like my diet.  I give this one to Rubio's for shear bulk.  Let's see what's inside these monsters.

WHAT'S INSIDE?

Rubio's stuffs their burrito with steak, salsa fresca, guacamole, and fat french fries.  The flour tortilla is legit by taco shop standards and will not disappoint purists.

 Inside Rubio's California Burrito

Inside Rubio's California Burrito

 Inside Robert's California Burrito

Inside Robert's California Burrito

They may look similar on the outside but not inside.  Roberto's uses skinnier fries, the same meat as their carne asada burrito, cheese, and sour cream.  Roberto's has more meat than fries whereas Rubio's has a 50/50 mix.  Roberto's wins this round as it stays true to the formula - meat, fries, cheese.

Let's roll these back up and cut them in half.

 My mom always said it's what's inside that counts.

My mom always said it's what's inside that counts.

Very interesting.   By visuals alone the Rubio's California Burrito is winning the battle with it's fresh ingredients and eye appeal.  This is one sexy burrito.  Roberto's, on the other hand, seems less sophisticated, perhaps even less appetizing.  I tasted the meat of both and both were very good - Rubio's had a more steak taste as if you made a steak at home and cut it into chunks.  Roberto's has a bit more of the carne asada char that you get from a taco shop grill.  'Rubio's wins this round.

Of course, a burrito needs salsa so let;'s see the options.

 Roberto's Salsa Options.

Roberto's Salsa Options.

Roberto's has two salsas, a red and a green.  Not much selection but both pretty good. 

 Rubio's has a plethora of salsa options!

Rubio's has a plethora of salsa options!

Rubio's has six salsa options - mild, tomatillo, spicy, roasted chipotle, and a couple of jalapeno salsas in squeeze bottles, a green and a red.  Rubio's wins this round!

THE SCORE SO FAR:  RUBIO'S 3, ROBERTO'S 1


 Rubio's California Burrito

Rubio's California Burrito

LET THE TASTING BEGIN!

The judges included myself and a neighbor I found trimming his own trees.  "Hey You" I shouted - "Want a Burrito?"  He climbed down faster than Curious George chasing a banana.  For me I knew which burrito was which but for my neighbor I didn't tell him anything.  He had no idea who the contenders were.  Yet his results were virtually identical.  The winner of the taste test gains an extra 3 points so it's anyone's ballgame at this point.

THE RESULTS:  WHO MAKES THE BETTER CALIFORNIA BURRITO, RUBIO'S OR ROBERTO'S?

1.  We both agreed that while the meat was different in both that they were both good.

2.  Rubio's had more fries and the fatter fries worked against them.  There were bites where all you got were fries. This did not happen with Roberto's where every bite was a delicious combination of meat, fries, and cheese.

3.  The guac was a nice touch but the salsa fresca made the Rubio's burrito less dense and harder to hold onto if you are trying to eat this while riding a skateboard or trying to shift gears on the Porsche.  This is a major concern.

 Roberto's California Burrito in hand

Roberto's California Burrito in hand

In the end the winner was.... ROBERTO'S.  It wasn't as fancy as Rubio's but the flavor was classic taco shop, the meat was more Mexican, and the grip was easier.  It is also cheaper, $7.50 versus $8.99.  So while the Rubio's was a VERY GOOD burrito, Roberto's did it just a bit better.  As Mike Love famously said about the Beach Boys, Don't F*ck With the Formula.  And since Roberto's possible created the formula, well, it's pretty easy to keep it going.

But I have to give Rubio's credit for even agreeing to this challenge and doing a take on another San Diego classic.  And don't get me wrong, the Rubio's California Burrito is a fine burrito, one that anyone would be happy to have in front of their face. 

WANT TO TRY A RUBIO'S CALIFORNIA BURRITO FOR YOURSELF?

To win a Rubio's Gift Card just go to my instagram page, like the photo of the burrito, and add a comment.  Extra points if you tag someone who would like to win a free burrito.  CONTEST ENDS AUGUST 15TH, 2018!

WHO MAKES YOUR FAVORITE CALI BURRITO?  ADD IN COMMENTS BELOW FOR EXTRA POINTS!