erikv

California Tortilla, Rockville Burrito Chain with Dozens of Locations

39 posts in this topic

I've been a fan since they opened the Bethesda location many moons ago. The food is consistantly great for fast food, and blows away Chipotle and Baja Fresh in my opinion. Any other fans out there? Favorite burrito? I've been rotating between the Blackened Chicken Caesar and the Spicy Sunset lately....

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I am. I used them to cater a party recently and was very pleased. Queso, guac, chips and salsa. Chicken and steak fajitas with all the sides and rice and beans. Plus brownies and cookies, all for about $9 a person. Their chips must be fried in lard because they have a "meaty" taste (and that's a good thing).

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I've only eaten at the location in the food court at BWI because it always LOOKS the best - jenrus insists that it is better outside the airport, but everything I've had at that location has been really, really bad.

Let's put it this way - I ate at Quizno's before my last trip.

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I've had mixed experiences. Some of the Burritos a excellent, but much depends on who puts it together and how they handle the ingredients. I tend to like non-designer Burritos, with loads of jalepenos and a fair amount of hot salsa.

But what I like best about Californai Tortilla is the selection of hot sauces. I generally leave having bought at least one or two that I haven't tried, as well as replentishments of my staples, like Maui Mango Eruption. Yum.....

The one near the courthouse in Rockville is the one I frequent the most. Their quality is generally consistant on the good side.

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I've had mixed experiences. Some of the Burritos a excellent, but much depends on who puts it together and how they handle the ingredients. I tend to like non-designer Burritos, with loads of jalepenos and a fair amount of hot salsa.

But what I like best about Californai Tortilla is the selection of hot sauces. I generally leave having bought at least one or two that I haven't tried, as well as replentishments of my staples, like Maui Mango Eruption. Yum.....

This is exactly my experience the few times that I've stopped by the one on Colesville Road in the TJ's strip mall. Haven't been to the one in Rockville, so I can't really compare locations.

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I'm pretty surprised at the positive comments (local or not, it IS a chain, and we know how most folks around here feel about chains :) ) I have only been to the Verizon Center location. Went twice and thought it sucked both times. YMMV but I have no interest in trying again.

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We've stopped by the Rockville location a couple of times before a movie and was not impressed enough to pick up a carryout menu. For fast salt-bomb burritos I prefer the carnitas at Chipotle, but CT gets at least a couple of points for having some kid-sized options.

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I'm pretty surprised at the positive comments (local or not, it IS a chain, and we know how most folks around here feel about chains :) ) I have only been to the Verizon Center location. Went twice and thought it sucked both times. YMMV but I have no interest in trying again.

One.Time.Only.

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I ate once at the Fairfax location. I found the burritos to be fairly bland. I much prefer Baja Fresh or Chipotle despite all of the California Tortilla coupons that we used to get in the mail.

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I've tried the Cleveland Park location a couple of times and noticed that every burrito tastes the same, whether it's Caesar-themed, Mexican-themed, or Mediterranean-themed. It's just very big and bland (I guess that's where the wall of hot sauces comes in).

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We've stopped by the Rockville location a couple of times before a movie and was not impressed enough to pick up a carryout menu. For fast salt-bomb burritos I prefer the carnitas at Chipotle, but CT gets at least a couple of points for having some kid-sized options.

Indeed - they definitely have a more kid-friendly menu. Their guacamole doesn't suck, but I definitely stick with the "classic burritos" - all of the specialty ones don't seem to pique my interest.

They also have the the Monday Night Mystery Price Burrito Wheel.

No, really.

click

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I think California Tortilla is consistently the best. I used to prefer Baja Fresh, but their quality has slipped over the last year and a half. For those who like Chipotle, I'd recommend trying Qdoba. Same quickness, but better and, for reasons I can't explain, seemingly fresher (both have the food by the counter all day).

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I like California Tortilla best for burritos, especially with the addition of the many available hot sauces. I find Chipotle burritos to be very bland and the rice/beans/meat not well distributed within the flour tortilla. Plus, Chipotle's tortilla chips taste stale to me. However, I will note that the quality of California Tortilla varies by location. My favorite is the one in Olney, which is not as close to me as the one in Rockville, which I find only to be good. My least favorite is the one in Potomac.

Ignacio

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I find Chipotle burritos to be very bland and the rice/beans/meat not well distributed within the flour tortilla. Plus, Chipotle's tortilla chips taste stale to me. However, I will note that the quality of California Tortilla varies by location.
I agree regarding Chipotle's chips, but I don't think that their burritos are bland, particularly when compared to California Tortilla. I do have to admit that I actually enjoy a somewhat uneven dispersion of Burrito components, as it makes each bite a distinct flavor adventure.

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However, I will note that the quality of California Tortilla varies by location.
True indeed. I am a fan of the Bethesda location.

My poison? A classic veggie with guac and enough hot sauce to burn my face off.

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Well, here goes my credibility: I like Chipotle. No, it's not a burrito stand on the Texas border and it may not be nearly as good as what can be found at mom and pop joints in Amarillo or Hatch. Or Chula Vista. But for me it's better than California Tortilla who have discovered what a good franchise salesman can do for their bank account.

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Rice does not belong in burritos. What belong in a burrito are beans, meat and spicy salsa, and I ask for extra cilantro. Maybe some cheese and guacamole. It's a tossup whether Chipotle's pork or Baja Fresh's pork is better, although Chipotle's beef barbacoa can be tasty. When I get the peppers and onions with the stewy beef, it reminds me of machaca, my favorite from the old Burrito King days on Sepulveda near Venice Blvd. Before La Salsa opened. But seriously, rice ruins a burrito. It's just there to fill your stomach with cheap carbs.

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Rice does not belong in burritos. What belong in a burrito are beans, meat and spicy salsa, and I ask for extra cilantro. Maybe some cheese and guacamole. It's a tossup whether Chipotle's pork or Baja Fresh's pork is better, although Chipotle's beef barbacoa can be tasty. When I get the peppers and onions with the stewy beef, it reminds me of machaca, my favorite from the old Burrito King days on Sepulveda near Venice Blvd. Before La Salsa opened. But seriously, rice ruins a burrito. It's just there to fill your stomach with cheap carbs.
I'm with you on that, but you should see the looks I get when I say "carnitas, no rice please".

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Rice does not belong in burritos. What belong in a burrito are beans, meat and spicy salsa, and I ask for extra cilantro. Maybe some cheese and guacamole. It's a tossup whether Chipotle's pork or Baja Fresh's pork is better, although Chipotle's beef barbacoa can be tasty. When I get the peppers and onions with the stewy beef, it reminds me of machaca, my favorite from the old Burrito King days on Sepulveda near Venice Blvd. Before La Salsa opened. But seriously, rice ruins a burrito. It's just there to fill your stomach with cheap carbs.
Absolutely no argument over authenticity, however, the California Tortilla burritos remind me of what I ate growing up Cuban in the Miami area--rice, beans, and a protein. Except it wasn't wrapped in a flour tortilla. I can really empathsize with you about your favorite burrito. One of my favorite items growing up was masitas de puerco or fried pork chunks. Sure, you can get them here, but they are not the same. Good fried pork chunks are marinated to develop the flavor, braised to tenderize them, and then fried to crisp to crisp them up. They should be melt-in-your-mouth soft, surrouned by a crispy shell. All they have here is bland, hard deep fried pork bits it seems.

Ignacio

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One of my favorite items growing up was masitas de puerco or fried pork chunks. Sure, you can get them here, but they are not the same. Good fried pork chunks are marinated to develop the flavor, braised to tenderize them, and then fried to crisp to crisp them up. They should be melt-in-your-mouth soft, surrouned by a crispy shell. All they have here is bland, hard deep fried pork bits it seems.

What you are describing sounds similar to the method for making authentic carnitas--minus the citrus marinade that is customary in Cuban cuisine, and roasting instead of frying to achieve crispiness. The chains (BF and C) call their pork "carnitas" but it is really just stewed, pulled pork--it lacks the extra step of roasting and crisping of true carnitas.

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Rice does not belong in burritos. What belong in a burrito are beans, meat and spicy salsa, and I ask for extra cilantro. Maybe some cheese and guacamole. It's a tossup whether Chipotle's pork or Baja Fresh's pork is better, although Chipotle's beef barbacoa can be tasty. When I get the peppers and onions with the stewy beef, it reminds me of machaca, my favorite from the old Burrito King days on Sepulveda near Venice Blvd. Before La Salsa opened. But seriously, rice ruins a burrito. It's just there to fill your stomach with cheap carbs.

See I totally disagree with your rice comment. There's nothing I love more than a bean, rice, and cheese breakfast burrito. Followed closely by a potato, egg and bacon breakfast taco. The great thing about burritos are you can throw what ever you want in to it, wrap it up and chow down.

Chipotle will mix your burrito with a spoon if you ask. I was suprised to see this one day. Me I look forward to a bite of rice mixed with cheese and sour cream followed by a bite of guacamole, lettuce and beans. Love those simple pleasures.

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AS far as fast food goes, I am not sure what beats CA Tortilla. I have always found the ingrediants to be fresh and the service to be fast. I would much rather get food from this joint than another chain. I for one can't go out to DC Coast, or Ceiba, or Kaz everyday for lunch. I just don't make that kind of scratch.

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The great thing about burritos are you can throw what ever you want in to it, wrap it up and chow down.

There's a mini-chain in L.A. called Stan's Oki-Dog that makes teriyaki burritos and pastrami burritos. You can put baba ghanouj or creamed chipped beef in a flour tortilla and call it a burrito, if you want. I'll pass.

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AS far as fast food goes, I am not sure what beats CA Tortilla.

Chick-fil-A beats it. :)

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