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California Burrito Co – CBC

Burritos in Buenos Aires?

California Burrito Co - CBC, Buenos Aires

Yes, that’s right, Buenos Aires – the city that spicy food forgot – actually boasts a burrito restaurant whose efforts do not fall flat. The California Burrito Co, CBC for short, is spicing up the lives of residents and visitors alike. Word of mouth amongst Yanqui expats and resident food bloggers like Saltshaker (read here - Wrap it Up! In a tortilla please) have put CBC on the map as the real deal in your search for an authentic burrito in BA.

As a quick aside, for those of you who don’t know Saltshaker, he writes a food-themed blog with excellent, regular reviews of restaurants in Buenos Aires, in addition to recipes (he is also a chef by trade – with his own ‘closed doors’ restaurant called Casa Saltshaker) and his thoughts on life in BA. He really knows his stuff when it comes to food, so a Saltshaker thumbs-up for a restaurant means you are in for an excellent meal.

So if you are tiring of the usual Argentine menu suspects, head down to the city center and try your luck with Cal-Mex fast food.

California Burrito Co Counter

Yes, that’s right, Burritos in Buenos Aires

The restaurant is very clean, sleek and modern looking, and based on the pedestrian street of Lavalle in the bajo (low, sloping down to the river) area of Buenos Aires City Center. The set-up is as follows: you head up to the counter and order your combo:  select either a California burrito, a fajita burrito (has peppers & onions instead of beans), a veggie burrito, or 2 tacos (each combo includes a beverage). Then you proceed to select your meat (grilled steak, grilled chicken, beef strips or braised pork) if not going veggie; decide on your extras from a list of rice, beans, cheese, salads, sour cream and guacamole; and finally your sauce, including the spicy rojo, and the even spicier fuego, in addition to some tamer offerings.

It’s all put together in front of your hungry eyes, wrapped up in foil and chucked into a basket. Pay the man at the register and you’re off to your table to wolf it down with you bare hands, making a lot of lovely juicy mess in the process.

Yes indeed, a true BA Burrito.

Pictured is the California Burrito, with chicken, rice, all the extras that would fit, and the spicy rojo sauce. These burritos are huge, very tasty, and satisfying. The sauce is fairly spicy, and they even offer one more step up on their salsa spectrum – fuego (fire). Cool your tounge with a mineral water, fountain soft-drink or pay a little extra to indulge in a Negra Modelo or Corona beer with a slice of lime. CBC also occasionally holds Happy Hour promotions where the Margaritas are two-for-one. Not bad.

A Burrito, in Buenos Aires!

Just like Burritos in the US, only in Buenos Aires

CBC Buenos Aires StaffAmerican expats will tell you that California Burrito Co is a little bit like Chipotle in the US, which apparently is a good thing, and the two, they say, are on a par in the quality stakes.

The staff (see right) in CBC are also very friendly, a mix of the American owners and Argentine staff, and they do an excellent job of packaging up your burrito in front of you, advising you on what extras they have, and I am sure, for visitors to Buenos Aires, that there would always be an English speaker on hand to help out if you are feeling a little lost trying to order.

They are famous too! The Associated Press covered the three American CBC owners in a feature earlier this year, entitled ‘Foreign Entrepreneurs Spice Up Argentina’, which is worth a quick read, and also profiles some other expats making their way into the Argentine world of business.

Oh, and CBC also do salads for those who want to shed the flour tortilla. But don’t let health concerns get in the way of your Burrito.

Location of California Burrito Co.

Lavalle 441, between San Martin & Reconquista, City Center
[Other Branches: Godoy Cruz 1781 (Palermo Soho) and Dot Shopping Center (Saavedra)]

Tel: 4328 3056/57,  Website: http://californiaburritoco.com/

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Comments

12 Responses to “California Burrito Co – CBC”

  1. Dan on December 5th, 2006 8:07 am

    Alan,

    Yes, you definitely need the beer, and the fuego sauce when they have it is a great option – though still not near as spicy as what it would be “back home”. The comparison to Chipotle is interesting – the same sort of setup of a kind of make your own burrito at the counter as you watch – and I’m sure Jordan and Chris would love to be as successful as that (formerly McDonald’s backed) chain!

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  2. Alejandro on December 5th, 2006 7:47 pm

    Al fin voy a probar los famosos burritos de los que tanto hablan en las peliculas yankis jeje
    Espero que esten buenos…
    Saludos!

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  3. Diva on December 8th, 2006 11:07 am

    A friend of mine told me that he went there and I wasn`t very excited, but with all the things you are saying about this place I`ll have to take a look at it, even though I hate fast food

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  4. Alan Patrick on December 8th, 2006 7:26 pm

    Hi Dan,

    Thanks for making your way over to my blog and making a comment….don’t worry, I haven’t got my eyes on your crown as the undisputed authority on restaurants in Buenos Aires… ;)

    Next time at CBC I will definitely get a beer or two and see if I can try out the Fuego sauce.

    By the way, I just travelled back to the UK for Christmas (first time home in two years) and had a connection in Atlanta, Georgia (crazy long journey). In Atlanta airport I had a burrito at “Qdoba Mexican Grill” and it was no where near the same high level of quality as CBC!

    Alejandro, buena suerte con los burritos de yanquilandia! :) Disfrutalos!

    Diva, you should try it out, it isn’t really “fast food” in the conventional sense, it is just set up like that – all of the ingredients are fresh and tasty and in fact, quite healthy with all the salad involved. Let me know what you think if you do go…

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  5. Dan on December 11th, 2006 10:18 am

    Well, Qdoba and Chipotle just aren’t the same:

    http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/15312/qdoba_versus_chipotle.html

    I’m not worried – go for the crown, I just write about what I like to write about!

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  6. Alan Patrick on December 11th, 2006 1:01 pm

    Hey Dan,

    I wanted to go to Chipotle but there wasn’t one in the Atlanta airport terminal, despite there being about 100 different places to eat. So maybe I have yet to eat at somewhere that will give me a good personal reference point for CBC.

    As for the crown, I’m not going for it, I am the same as you in that I’ll only write about what interests me and in my own silly style. ;)

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  7. earl on December 15th, 2006 6:01 pm

    We tried CBC numereous times while in BA for 3 weeks. The food was great. I had all the ingredients put in the salad container as I am not into tortilla style and they load it up. It’s a great place to try after so many parillas. 3 thumbs up!
    earl-california

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  8. Alan Patrick on December 15th, 2006 7:49 pm

    Cheers Earl!

    It’s good to hear confirmation of my good review for CBC from somebody that would know best – being in California as you are!

    Thanks again,

    Alan

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  9. Francisco Melara on December 20th, 2006 11:48 pm

    After reading these reviews, I have eaten at CBC twice and I have ordered twice for delivery. I don’t have enough words to describe how satisfied I was with the quality of the burritos. For a tourist like me, who spends more than just a week in Buenos Aires (7 weeks), it is such a pleasant change after so much pasta, beef, choris, etc. And the bilingual staff is really nice. Great choice, two thumbs way up (three if I were from Mars). Thank you for the suggestion. Francisco (Biloxi, Mississippi).

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  10. Alan Patrick on December 21st, 2006 3:33 pm

    Thanks for commenting on my blog again Francisco! :)

    It seems CBC is building up quite a following with visitors to Buenos Aires! And yes, it is a great alternative choice of cuisine if you are staying in BA for a while and fed up a little of the usual Argentine menu, which is a familiar moan I also hear from many expats here!

    Thanks for the input,

    Alan

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  11. Sarah on November 5th, 2007 4:51 pm

    You have to go on Taco Tuesday!! Tacos are only 2 pesos each with the purchase of a drink. It’s a great deal, plus pretty much all the Americans studying in BA come this night, so it makes for a fun, early party!

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  12. Daniel on December 27th, 2007 6:01 pm

    I have been eating CBC burritos now for a year and a half since the establishment opened. I can honestly say, that after over a year of practice, CBC makes some of the best California style burritos I’ve ever had. The “fuego” sauce that everyone talks about is spicy for Argentine standards, but isn’t over the top. It is a must in my opinion. I’m assuming that there will be 10 more CBCs opening up in the next couple of years.

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