New fiction Part 1 of 4 in Edible SF: The Burrito Prince of Folsom Street by John Birdsall


Don Rafael had heard talk about a carniceria that had been struggling, like Guadalupe Market. Raúl Durán, the owner, had just changed the place over into a taqueria. One day he walked down 16th Street to Valencia and found the place, the front freshly painted with the new name: Taqueria La Cumbre. Raúl’s wife, Señora Michaela, was rolling up carne asada and beans, with a little rice to keep the juice from soaking through, in a couple of wheat-flour tortillas and charging two dollars, four times the price of a taco! And people were buying, Americano kids were standing in line for these burritos, as Señora Michaela was calling them (one of her cooks was from Sonora, and it was he who gave them the name, after the rolled-up tacos from home).

Don Rafael expanded Maria Guadalupe’s counter. They started selling tacos, and pozole and sopa de res every day. They made these rolled-up super tacos—these burritos—setting two flour tortillas together like shingles on a roof (Maria Guadalupe tried using corn tortillas, but the juices from her frijoles de olla soaked through too fast), adding a clump of soft chicken and onions from her Guadalajara-style tinga de pollo, topping it like a taco with cilantro and salsa verde, and rolling it up tight (you needed foil, the expensive heavy kind, to keep it from unrolling).

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Bessarabsky Market, Kyiv. Ukraine
Credit: Juan Antonio Segal, Flickr