Wednesday, March 19, 2008

"On Your Jam" with Half-Later Vol. 2


SAN DIEGO, Ca - I met this man, who now goes by Dr. Burrito, shit... probably about 10 years ago in Bostontown. A mutual friend of ours thought it necessary to start a band. The Dr. showed up at my house, we went down to the basement: he with a 60's Fender Mustang and a matching vintage Fender Bassman amp, me with an 80's Les Paul and matching 80's Marshall. We strung some riffs together and decided that starting a band was a good idea indeed. A grand "Deuces Wild" spraypaint piece went up in my basement and the rest... I can't really remember. Anyway, I hadn't heard anything about the good doctor in years when one recent evening I was feeling nostalgic and decided to "Google" him. Turns out, this guy had been researching JamZone's most revered jam: The Burrito. Jammers of the world, I present to you: Dr. Burrito.

1. Who is Dr. Burrito and how did you earn such a title?

I'm just a guy in San Diego, from San Diego, who like many people here loves the burritos. After moving around a bit, I discovered our burritos are like none other. I mean all burritos are similar, so it's the details that are critical. I should have known better because just up the road in San Clemente you have about an 85 percent chance of getting a shitty burrito.

So I began to wonder why this is and there are many reasons, I think, going back to when California was a Mexican territory. I mean, really going back, it's all about the Columbian transfer, but that affects all foods we eat today. Suffice it to say, it's about the people who make the food and San Diego's rich history as a border town, both Mexican and American and something altogether its own.

Oh, to answer your question, my brother's friend works for the local paper's web site and she interviewed me about burritos and called the piece "Dining with Dr. Burrito." I was like, shit, that was easy and I got my Phd!

2. It seems some of your most controversial work involves you pitting San Francisco Burritos against San Diego Burritos. What is the difference?

Yeah, I'm sort of sorry for this, so my answer will be long. See, I didn't realize that everybody in San Fran has a web site. There were two burrito-based web sites that didn't like what I said, which was, "SD burritos are better." Kind of a broad brush stroke, that one, I admit.

The differences are, like I said, details. SD tends to toast the tortilla on the griddle. SF likes the tortilla pliable and moist and often the tortilla is steamed and the burrito stored in tinfoil. Second, SD's burritos are about a few, simple ingredients. I just had a carnitas burrito for lunch: carnitas, guacamole, and cilantro, served with limes and red hot sauce. In SF, that would have had beans and rice and salsa fresca. Probably a healthier burrito but less focused. What San Franciscans describe as "freshness."

And then, it just comes down to the ingredients. Who is making their carne asada out of lean skirt steak? Who knows how to really make carnitas? Whose chile verde is pungent and piquant just like your grandma used to make? For the most part, the staples of the Mexican-American kitchen are what make a good burrito and I've found them to be better down here, generally speaking.

Having said that, there are awesome burritos in SF and they must be respected in their own context. SF has a rich Mexican history as well and was the de facto capital of the California territory after Monterey.

3. You must jam to live. What is your jam today?

There's this Jackie McLean/Ornette Coleman jam, I think it's Old Gospel. It's really good, especially on a sunny day like today.

Oh, if I may, and Joni Mitchell's album Blue is my other jam. Kind of opposite sides of the coin that is today.

4. What is your Spirit Jam-Animal?

The coyote.

5. Do you like Deuces Wild?

Yes. They are really good, and if you disagree, well, hey, that's your right. This is America. You are free to have terrible taste.

EXCLUSIVE MP3 Audio of some classic Deuces Wild Tracks from their debut album: The Mongolian Falconer:

La Senoles Robustos

Organ Song

The Odyssey


At 6:16 PM, Blogger spot said...

Dear half-later: keep it up brojam these interviews are crucial.

At 8:39 AM, Anonymous Brandy said...

I really like how the Burr. Dr. puts emphasis on SD's toasting of the tortilla. A few places in S.F. do that and, for me, it often makes the difference between a great burrito and a transcendent one. El Farolito is the first that comes to mind. I massacred a regular boiled chicken with avo last weekend (even tossed in a few spoonfuls of chili-garlic sauce -- a trans-continental, cross-cultural hybrid Jam Vibe) and those dudes are currently churning out the best budget burr. in the Bay. Sadly, no amount of toasting can save Cancun from its descent into a cesspool of Faux Jam Filth. Perenially at the top of clueless local journalists' Best Burr. lists, this mini-chain of taquerias has spun and dipped real hard. I tried to eat there two months ago, and for the first time ever, could literally not the soggy, limp tortilla husk, pale tasteless salsa, and gray-ish chicken bits heaped before me. Shit was toasted, no doubt. Anyway, great piece, Half. I believe the good Dr. is On His Jam. I have never been to SD but DS shall soon rectify that absurdity with a mini-tour, during which we look forward to a guided Jam tour led by Dr. Burr. Pretty Please?

At 1:03 PM, Anonymous GRAPE said...

Dr. Burrito, great work you are doing for connoisseurs of such a tasty meal. Obviously this forum is not about separating the jam but rather looking to elevate the jam and thus I am ready for a great San Diego burrito. With the burrito, I agree that less is more and thus quality of meat/ingredients is better than quantity. What I can never understand is why anyone would ever put iceberg lettuce in a burrito? That shit is nasty, empty filler especially when combined with refried beans. All this burrito talk however makes me want to run to El Metate to get hyphy on a chile verde burrito or maybe a fish.

At 11:04 AM, Anonymous Dr. Burrito said...

Howzit Jammers,
Thanks for the comments!
I've got a story.
So on Friday I was riding my bike and got cut off by a car and hit it. Anyway so this car speeds off to the Navy base and the guards wave it through and then detain me for trespassing. So anyhow I file a report with some Malox-guzzling red-face cop out in dangerous part of SD and it takes about an hour and the cops says, "probably not going to do anything about this" right as I'm leaving.
So I'm pissed and as I go I see this jammin little taco shop, El Porvenir, and get--not one--but two burritos.
The moral: The system let me down; the burrito lifted me back up.
That's what it is!
Still jammin,
Dr. Burrito


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