Dish of the Week: California Burrito

Chef Ben Allen took inspiration for his popup restaurant, El Norte Kitchen, from his time spent in New Mexico. It’s yet another flavormobile barreling headfirst into the suddenly crowded southern border food scene here in the Bold North (™ some sports team probably). As the former executive chef of WA Frost, though, he’s certainly got the chops to fit in nicely. Right now ENK is a periodic popup, so when I saw on The Insta that I could snag a copy of the transcendent California Burrito this past Sunday, I jumped at the chance. Uncommon in the Great White Northern Land (That one’s ALLLL me!), I get a CA burrito whenever I visit family in San Diego, so getting it here was a special treat for me. The novelty of a CA burrito is that, along with the expected fixins, they stuff in French fries as well! I know! Potatoes?! In a burrito?! What will they think of next?? OK, it’s not that revolutionary of a concept, but nobody really does it here and it’s incredibly delicious. Add fried potatoes to anything and it’s immediately better, but there’s something about its pairing with carne asada, avocado, and cheese/crema that the whole thing shines above its station. Plus, crafted by a legit chef and not some blitzed high school kid in the back of a 24/7 fast food joint like I’m used to, this was one of the best iterations I’ve ever had. Felt weird to eat one with my winter coat on, but I’ll take anything that brings a bit of California sunshine to the Freezy Cold SnowZone.™ The dinner also came with a bomb-ass churro with caramel dipping sauce, and a trio of homemade salsas. I don’t know what the plan is for El Norte, but I will certainly be following along.