I've driven by this place countless times. Though my eyes had always been drawn to the colorful mural and the cool sign on the roof, it never occurred to me to actually walk in and check the place out. This all changed last weekend, when we were at our Award-Winning Designer Loft in Little Italy. There was an unmistakable aroma of some good taco meat in the air, and we just had to go in.
The design and the decoration of the whole place plays well to the colors and imageries of somewhere deep in Mexico - during festival times - starting with the entrance to the restaurant that sets the mood.
The stuff hanging from the ceiling is evocative of piñatas. When we admitted to our hostess it was our first time, she offered to show us around. We settled on the table outside - it was the string lights (I am a sucker for those) and the fact that there was a super cool Chicana DJ mixing up the tunes.
All day Sunday, they have half off on burritos, and we decided to try - rather cautiously - California Burrito (back story: our beloved Mexican Fiesta on India St. permanently closed its doors last December. Ever since then, we have become lost souls without our favorite go-to place for California Burritos).
Every day from 5-7pm, they have Happy Hour (half-off on quesadillas, Carne Asada fries - if you never had these, it's a SD food bucket list item, $4 modelo on draft, etc.). I got a michelada (with Clamato, of course) to go with the burrito.
They also bring you free chips and salsas which are key when you are too hungry to wait for your food to arrive. Fueled by chips, we noticed the planes landing directly above us (actually, it was because of the sound, but chips always power my brain). See, this restaurant is directly under the flight path. If you can withstand the piercing roar of the jet engine for 2 seconds (3 seconds for the jumbo jets), you get an incredible opportunity to see the belly-side of a plane so close to you.
By the time food arrived, we noticed the place getting packed. The crowd here is all easy-going. A good mix between the locals and the tourists. You can't help but to feel festive when you see people start dancing to the tunes the DJ was belching out from her speakers and it felt like you are transported to a neighborhood bar somewhere in Mexico.
As for the California Burrito - it's no Mexican Fiesta (and I don't think any CB will ever be) - but it definitely held its own. The meat to fries ratio was just right. What made it really come together was the blend of melted cheese and the beans that amalgamated the rest of the ingredients inside of the slightly toasted tortilla.
The burrito went down fast - and when I saw another table get churros and flan, it was go time. The churros were freshly fried with a creamy filling. The flan was up to standard. All this for about $40 for 2 people. I would return just to see the planes land, but the food definitely holds up its end of the bargain.