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Goldies 2007: Critics' Picks
Goldies Guide to Burritos
By Laura Mattingly
Burritos contain all the necessary components to maintain existence, including five food groups, durability, weight, convenience, tastiness, genius--it's wrapped up like a baby, fiber and sour cream. Anyone who relocates to that other coast knows, the further east one travels from Santa Cruz, the less likely one is to find some decent semblance of this miraculous food. We're very lucky here.
A little ways out of the downtown-thick-of-it, Tacos Morenos, on Mission Street, is worth the short bike ride. It also serves beer (for those of us who need a Cervesa to cut through the beans), and has just enough ambience to qualify for a potential date location. FYI, if you're on your way to a Guerrilla Drive In, and cleverly think you'll stop into Morenos for a "something quick" to eat during the movie, be sure to leave a good 20 minutes early. Everyone else going to the flick is just as clever.
This is the ideal eatery for students, low-paid workers and all others in the zone of "broke" we lovingly refer to as "the contemporary American phenomenon of the disappearing middle class." If a burrito's too steep, the vegetarian tacos here are cheap, significantly sized and amazing, and you have the option of ordering them with black beans. These people are not stingy with sour cream.
Planet Fresh performs what could be referred to as "multicultural burrito alchemy": where else can you get a burrito with zucchini in it? Planet Fresh also gives the choice of a sun-dried tomato, wheat flavored tortilla or a tortilla that's green. And salsa? TONS of salsas. Your table will be littered with a half-dozen little cups in the wake of the heinous dipping party that may ensue.
You know, the little place next to the liquor store on Pacific. And there's another one across town on Soquel near Seabright. A Jalapenos Burrito can be used for two meals, or just one if you have a cart to roll yourself out with. There's not always a lot of room to sit in the downtown location because it's tiny, but there are very rarely lines more than a couple minutes long, so it's a good place to stop in and out of quickly. (The couple of parking spaces out front make it ideal for a drive-by-burrito-ing).
If you walk in the Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting Co., follow the path past the tables, the piano, the baristas and the gift shop, to the very back of the store, you'll find yourself teetering on a brink, a delicate portal between the realms of caffeination and burritonation. Break on through to the other side. El Palomar divides itself into a casual bar area serving alcohol and burritos where you can sit on tall stools, and a separate, fancier restaurant area.
Who would've thunk? Get your latte and your breakfast burrito in one stop. AMAZING. They have egg burritos with a choice of veggies, turkey or sausage, served with salsa upon request.
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