Many years ago, I sampled my first Carne Asada Burrito from Roberto’s in San Diego, Ca. The soft, flavorful beef was sumptuous and tangy, with a hint of cilantro. The meat also tasted of fresh lime juice, with plenty of sal y pimiento. Now, I’m not simply writing a food review, I’m telling a story; a tale of simple, but fine Mexican fare that has eluded me since I moved to the East Coast 15 years ago.
Roberto’s is a part of most San Diegan’s diets. The lean meat, rice, beans, and rolled tacos provide the necessary nutritional components necessary to survive on the weekends. Roberto’s is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. That means, if you need a Mexican-food-fix, you can get it- no matter what time of the night it is, or which particular Holiday happens to roll around.
I like to tell stories sometime when I write a review, but there also must be truth in my opinions, or my credibility as a food-journalist will be diminished. Without embellishment, I will explain what purpose Roberto’s truly serves. You see, after indulging in adult beverages, my friends and I would take road trips to receive sustenance. Denny’s? I think not! Only one eatery would suffice during these impaired outings, and Roberto’s would always be our destination.
The décor at Roberto’s is minimal; white tables with orange chairs, and a neutral-colored tile floor. Bright fluorescent lights provided a clear view of menu. A glass case displayed some of the prepped beef, shredded cheese, and rolled tacos that would shortly be consumed by hungry patrons. In some Roberto’s restaurants, small paintings adorned the walls.
The food at Roberto’s is plain- not plain as in flavorless, but plain as in not over- fancy. Very few additional ingredients are needed to make the food at Roberto’s flavorful. Beef, chicken, tomatoes, jack cheese, fresh tortillas, onions, salsa, sour cream, and perfectly ripe avocados are the most prevalent ingredients used to make any given dish. Try the Carne Asada Burrito, and Three Rolled Tacos with Guacamole. You’ll love the Quesadilla; just make sure to add extra cheese. All of the food at Roberto’s is delicious.
I’ve been a Pittsburgher for many years now, and often recall the good times I spent with friends at Roberto’s. Sometimes when I cook Carne Asada at home, I can picture myself at the counter of the small restaurant placing my order.
I miss all of the good food that I could get in San Diego, but mostly, I miss my friends that I shared those memorable meals with.