Road Trip, post 4: Cal-Mex is no Az-Mex, but it’s a good 2nd

Santa Rosa, CA

I’m going to admit my bias against California burritos right up front.  My Mexican food habits and predilections were formed largely in Arizona, so I just can’t wrap my head around a tortilla wrapped around rice.  In Arizona, burritos are filled with lots of things, but not rice (unless you’re eating at Chipotle or another fresh-mex chain), so in California I pretty much steer clear of burritos, which sometimes makes choosing a taqueria difficult since so many of the online reviews focus on burritos.

You can’t swing a dead cat around these parts and not hit a taqueria, but Taqueria Santa Rosa on Mendocino Avenue seems to be one of the most popular.  I’ve been here twice and the first time had the carnitas plate, based upon online reviews.  Like the reviews said, the carnitas were certainly crispy, but they were also too dry.  On my second visit, I got tacos with carne asada and pollo asado and these were spot on– especially the carne asada.   The chicken came with a salsa verde and the beef with a red sauce.  Rice and beans are very good, as are the chips and salsa (not complimentary).  The chips are served with both an incredibly fresh-tasting red salsa, and a green salsa that is unlike any other I’ve ever had.  It seems to be a blend of traditional salsa verde and guacamole and kept me dipping for more.

The hubs had a burrito that’s about the size of a newborn, and after he eats it he looks as if he’s in his third trimester carrying a burrito baby.  I never get to try this because 1) as I mentioned earlier I’m not keen on the CA burritos and don’t press the issue and 2) If I reached for a bite I might draw back a stump.  Anyhow, the boy likes it and it usually seems to satisfy his man-wich appetite.

When we make it back to Santa Rosa there are other taquerias I must try, but I don’t expect I’ll ever find anything to meet the impossibly high standards set by the Arizona-style green chile chicken burros.

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