Fashionably nested between a barber shop and a paint store in Lacey’s strip-mall meadows is Paco’s Tacos. It might not be the most desirable location to visit — the ambiance takes a hit when your view is the rear of a Ford F-250 — but then, hole-in-the-walls often deliver the goods.
Paco’s, a purveyor of my latest obsession, the California-style burrito, is an example of the proverbial exception that proves the rule.
There is something sad about a bland the burrito. In your heart and mind, you have expectations for the San Diego incarnation. A mélange of all things good in life, the burrito should feature French fries in a harmonious dance with traditional Mexican flavors, each providing their distinct moves. Call it the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers of burritos if you so like.
Things did not go well at Paco’s. Soggy fries make the burrito instantly eligible for disqualification, and flavorless carne asada does little to help the situation. On the other hand, a decent guacamole did make its best effort to save the stumps. And give Paco’s this: You can take advantage of a very decent spice-bar. The salsas kick, and the pickled vegetables have the flavor and bite the burrito is missing. Utilize the bar, and the burrito becomes salvageable.
That, to me, is not enough. A burrito should exist on its terms, and performing salsa-based CPR makes for a moot experience. Assembling your own burrito is something to be done in the privacy of your own home.
Not every hole-in-the-wall delivers the goods, then, and Paco’s is a sad monument to that.For a proper local California burrito, try Don Juan’s — they treat you right!