La Taqueria's carnitas burrito named best in America 

click to enlarge La Taqueria, a Mission district restaurant beloved by diners such as celebrity chef Michael Mina as well as regular folks, has been named the home of America's best burrito by an ESPN blog. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
  • La Taqueria, a Mission district restaurant beloved by diners such as celebrity chef Michael Mina as well as regular folks, has been named the home of America's best burrito by an ESPN blog.

San Francisco knew it had the best burritos, but now it's an absolute fact.

The carnitas burrito at the Mission's La Taqueria was declared the best in America by ESPN.com's FiveThirtyEight blog Wednesday.

"I never expected this," La Taqueria owner Miguel Jara told The San Francisco Examiner in a Spanish-language interview. "I feel very proud."

Although devouring succulent braised-pork burritos isn't an actual sport (yet), the ESPN blog's editor in chief, Nate Silver, is known for the kind of expert statistical analyses that helped him accurately call the tight 2012 presidential race.

For burrito chronicler Anna Maria Barry-Jester, taste trumped data.

"This burrito's construction sets it apart," she wrote on the FiveThirtyEight blog, which evaluated 67,391 eateries before putting 64 in a burrito bracket. "Unlike at other taquerias, each ingredient keeps its juices, making this burrito saucy in form and personality (the absence of rice also makes it noteworthy among its neighbors)."

Silver was similarly transported.

"I watched Nate take his first bite, and I swear he achieved nirvana before my eyes," Barry-Jester testified.

Jara, a native of Villa Guerrero in the Mexican state of Jalisco, credited his ingredients and his staff.

"We make everything fresh with quality ingredients," he said, noting that nothing is reheated. "We make the beans twice a day."

"The people who work for me have been there for more than 30 years," Jara added; the eatery itself is 41 years old.

He noted famous visitors to La Taqueria, including actor Benjamin Bratt, a city native; Bay Area rockers Metallica; Giants stars Angel Pagan and Sergio Romo; and even James Beard Award winner Michael Mina, who spoke of his love for La Taqueria in Sunset magazine earlier this year.

For Jara, the accolades from everyday diners are the most important.

"The other day a customer told me ... it's like you put your heart in all your food."

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Got scoops or Bay Area celebrity gossip? Email scoop@sfexaminer.com.

About The Author

Giselle Velazquez

Bio:
Giselle Velazquez was born and raised in the shadow of San Francisco's Diamond Heights and now lives in the shadow of South San Francisco's Sign Hill. She has written for publications such as The S.F. Examiner, Ventura County Star, and the S.F. Bay Guardian.
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