Editor’s Eats: Faith restored through burritos

After sampling an offering of San Diego’s Mexican food during a booze filled trip I took to Southern California over a year ago, I nearly lost all hope for Northern California’s Mexican food.

That trip to San Diego set my burrito and taco standards way too high, and when I returned back home I aimlessly wandered around Northern California searching for a comparable Mexican eating experience.

I was just about ready to give up after having tried almost every taqueria in the West Bay, from the Peninsula all the way up to Mission St. in the city, but when I wandered into Taqueria San Bruno and had my first few bites of their blessed al pastor super burrito, the euphoria I had experienced in Southern California returned to my taste buds.

Like its name indicates, Taqueria San Bruno is located in San Bruno on the industrial side of San Mateo Avenue, making it somewhat of a hidden gem. This place is family owned and operated with an atmosphere that evokes a sense of home. The employees are friendly and the taqueria is consistently filled with customers, which is a pretty good indicator of a quality establishment.

Aside from a slight lack of parking, there isn’t really anything to complain about at Taqueria San Bruno. Even when strapped for cash there are delicious options on the menu.

Depending on my mood I will alternate between the carne asada (steak), the carnitas (chicken), the lengua (cow tongue), the pastor or the pollo tacos, because they’re extremely reasonably priced at $1.85 a pop, and all come with ample quantities of meat. For $3.00, customers can get a pescado (fish) taco. When feeling particularly hungry patrons can get a burrito with any of the aforementioned meats wrapped in a grilled tortilla stuffed with pinto beans, chile verde, brown rice, cilantro and melted cheese; Ask for a super burrito in order to add guacamole and sour cream to the mix.

I can vouch for the quality of the meats I’ve tried at Taqueria San Bruno. Their lengua is tender, and garnished with enough spice and seasoning to satisfy those who might be intimidated by the origin of the meat, give it a try! Their pescado is pan fried, covered in cilantro and dowsed in lime and spicy oil adequately as to not overpower the pleasant fish flavor.

Their carne asada is anything but bland or dry, it’s succulent, perfectly marinated and masterfully grilled, the same goes for the pollo . Al pastor might be the most flavorful marinated meat available at a taqueria, and Taqueria San Bruno’s is the pinnacle of pastor excellence. Their pastor is made with pork and gets drenched and marinated before being caramelized over an open flame. The marinade is concocted through a combination of dried peppers, vinegar, pineapple, onions, garlic and a number of other seasonings. It’s a meat lovers dream. It gets better with every bite, and is capable of making you feel guilty when you realize the speed at which you’ve devoured it.

These are all meats commonly served at taquerias, but there might not be another taqueria north of San Diego that can match the delectability of Taqueria San Bruno’s meat.