— Emma Goldman

Juanita's Taco Shop Estilo Tepatitlán

290 North Coast Highway 101, Encinitas

Is this where the Mex-Cal culture, was born?

Juanita’s sits on Highway 101, a tiny shack among surf shops, eateries, bike shops, and airbrush tanning salons. It’s famous for its rolled tacos, carnitas tacos, and flautas.

But you’re here for a man’s meal: the burrito. More than that, two special burritos: the chile relleno burrito and, yes, the California.

“These guys are why we make them,” says Alex, one of the two sons of Juanita, who started this in 1984. He’s looking at the surfer kids filling the place.

“Call it MexCal culture. Surfers are crazy for them.”

And, boy, guilty pleasure. Burst open your California burrito, chew down. You may say it’s not the real thing, but what else can beat that combo of marinated carne asada and juices-soaked fat french fries and sour cream?

The chile relleno burrito? Beautiful battered poblano chiles stuffed with jack cheese, wrapped in a tortilla. Make a nice hot mess all over your face. Wash it down with a milky chufa nut and cinnamon horchata.

Sigh. Almost as perfect as the perfect wave.

— Ed Bedford

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