Thursday, July 21, 2011

Senor Sisig - California Sisig Burrito with Chicken

So my burrito the other day had french fries instead of rice. That is right, I said french fries. The California Sisig Burrito on the Senor Sisig menu taunts you with a combination of flavors that you would not think belongs wrapped up in a tortilla, but just like bacon and chocolate or chicken and waffles, it just works. Not only that, but I am totally convinced that whoever first put french fries in a burrito is an absolute genius.

You have to admit that the thought of french fries in a burrito is a little bit...well...wacky! Traditional American-style burritos are usually filled with a meat, rice, beans and other toppings such as sour cream, cheese or guacamole. And many cities have their own local style of burritos, from the wet burritos in Los Angeles to San Francisco's overstuffed Mission-style burritos. The french fry-laden California burrito is widely associated with San Diego, and it is believed to have been born sometime in the 1980's.

California burritos are hard to come by in the Bay Area, so Senor Sisig may have found a niche. My friends from San Diego who are well acquainted with this style of burrito may tell me it's the norm, but for a girl who is used to rice and rice only (no beans!), the first time I had a California Sisig Burrito I thought that this might just be a one-time novelty - something to try just for the sake of trying it. But as it turns out, I enjoyed my burrito so much that it certainly worked its way into my normal burrito rotation.

Senor Sisig takes the California burrito one step further than the San Diego original and prepares it with their sisig filling in your choice of pork, chicken or tofu. Traditional sisig preparation involves marinating in citrus juices and spices and then grilling. To this they add shredded cheese, sour cream, guacamole, salsa and french fries. It is all wrapped together in a flour tortilla to form a neat little aluminum foil package. There is a choice between spicy and mild, and with the reminder of last burrito's jalapeno debacle in my mind, I was certain to say mild, and then repeated, mild!

Let me tell you the first reason why I love this burrito - because I don't need to change or substitute anything! Whenever I order a burrito at a taqueria I always have to say, "no beans" and I get looked at as if I were sprouting a third eye. I just don't like beans in my burrito, but here they are not even part of the equation. I just need to order up my meat, and today I chose chicken. The second reason I love this burrito is because each of the flavors are truly distinct. They all are unique enough to stand out without any overpowering the others. The chicken was tender, the salsa was fiery and the french fries added a nice crunch to the otherwise soft texture of the burrito.

I certainly won't diss the jalapenos for those who truly crave that intense heat, but I felt that the true flavors of the sisig were really highlighted when they were not competing for center stage. In my last burrito the spice was overwhelming; today I thought the kick from the salsa was just enough. It was a perfect blend of heat and spiciness that allowed for the flavor of lime to seep through. It was sweet, citrusy and just overall well done. Tasting the true flavors of the sisig in this burrito has gotten me totally hooked on Senor Sisig.

The only real room for improvement is that the fries made the burrito a little on the dry side, but that was easily solved by making sure my bites were big enough to accommodate the guacamole and the sour cream. Even still, I liked the fries because it gave the burrito a different texture than what I am normally used to. Keep in mind, the potatoes are pretty dense, so this burrito is a lot more filling than your standard fare.

When I first tried Senor Sisig I asked for a recommendation on what to try, and was guided toward their "Senor" Sisig Burrito. And while that was fine, I think this is the stand-out dish! If you are not from Southern California and have never experienced a french fry burrito before, then make it your next stop because you are in for a treat!

Rating: 4/5 (ratings guide)

Senor Sisig, (@senorsisig), $8.00 per burrito

Senor Sisig (Mobile Truck) on Urbanspoon

Does reading this make you want to try this vendor? Tell them that you saw them at I Left My Cart in San Francisco and support San Francisco street cuisine!

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