"[C]ritics Casey Deeha, Chipp Oatlay, Sal Savirdy and 'El Presidente Mole' promise to provide 'not merely a description of burritos, but a more writerly experience that gives the attention to burritos that they deserve.' Yep. You heard it here, folks. - Jay Barmann, SF Grubfest
"[Casey Deeha] also thinks it could be a matter of cultural heritage and sense of place why a Mission-style burrito is thought to taste the best in San Francisco." - Tamara Palmer, Zagat
"Bay Area Review of Burritos -a must read for anyone remotely interested in foil-wrapped tube food" - Kevin Montgomery, Up Town Almanac
Sunday, April 21, 2013
Baja Taqueria, Piedmont Avenue, Oakland.
Written by Sal Savirdy
(Can I just say, for the record, I don't really give a shit about the Nordstrom shoes, and in any case, they didn't fit him).
Two years or so ago, I may or may not have re-located myself a stone's throw from the indomitable Oakland shopping district, Piedmont Avenue. At that time, I also may or may not have accepted employment at a bookstore. And may I say that this was (maybe) one of the more colorful times of my life, and that this color, mexican-like in vibrancy, has forever cemented itself in my very, otherwise unremarkable collection of memories. Regardless, the experience happened to have brought me to Baja Taqueria, a safe haven amongst emotionally challenged book shop owners and book dealers. A fortress where I might cunningly, but also only momentarily, bypass such emails ( that I may, or may not have received) from my then- boss as,
''Sal, I may not wake up in time to come into the shop tomorrow because my soul is still chafed from my rejection by the barmaid at Bar Cesar, can you call me at 10am in case I forget to get up and feed the dog? and, …. oh, if a guy comes in with my medicinal marijuana, just put it in the bottom drawer of the desk and take a quarter for yourself if you like'
Baja Taqueria became an escape from such dynamic responsibilities as responding to an email like this, and ( disputably) peeling my boss off the sales counter at opening one morning, naked, and chewing his bottom lip, whilst expressing his undying gratitude: ''I don't think I ever really liked women, It's rooted in my childhood and I know now that's why I just can't seem to sustain a relationship with them, but I have this rampant and excessive testosterone and.... *pause* .....I've had some remarkable encounters in my time I can tell you... I don't know, I often wonder, why does the female form have such a GRIP on me Sal? ... did I ever talk to you about the 'Goddess?' *pause* ... Good god, my HEAD, would you fucking get yourself to Cafe Trieste and order me a coffee already, what do I pay you for?! where's my lighter?!''
Because I had such a friendly relationship with my boss, I often found myself lingering at Baja during my lunch time, eager to 'try new things' in my break, Perhaps this was an effort to impress him with my knowledge of local eateries? I don't know, something persuades me otherwise.
Given the context, I suppose I should get down to business:
Because I'm limited to the burrito, I have to go in that direction, but before I do so, can I just say that the fish tacos are pretty great, really good- and if you go there, have them. The burrito, however, is kind've an appropriate analogy for its role in my experience at the bookshop; it was, safe. A, safe haven. It tasted OK, it was rolled OK, the salsa counter is OK, the tortilla is, OK and the decor is, nice, safe, OK. The staff are OK, the service is OK you'll be OK if you go there for a burrito (the cheese is quite raw though admittedly, if it's a deal-breaker).
But for goodness sake, don't go to the wrong one of the five bookshops afterwards, as you may find yourself uncharacteristically overstimulated or otherwise challenged. Unless you like that kind of thing, I guess.
Salsa Rating: Medium.