There are many myths about burritos, including the notion that they somehow were created in the U.S. even though wheat production in Sonora began in 1542. Lacking the ingredients to make bread, Spaniards produced a flatbread with wheat and water which became the flour tortilla. Now burritos have come so far, on both sides of the border, that you’ll start to find innovations anywhere, including the lively Sonora Grill in Moreno Valley.
The six-year-old Sonora Grill is merging the culture of Sonora, Mexican-American cuisine, and the local craft beer scene in a sports bar frequented by pochos who’ve come in for Sonoran hotdogs, quesadillas with house-made flour tortillas and “El Chapo”, a large bacon-wrapped burrito filled with steak, pico de gallo, salsa, beans, rice, yellow cheese, sour cream, and guacamole.
The El Chapo is wrapped with bacon and finished on the grill, packed with enough calories, carbs, and fat to keep you energized as you head out to Palm Springs for a weekend of relaxation, or, to satisfy the munchies on your way back from a hazy week at Coachella.
Of course, flour tortillas are truly nothing new in Mexico. Artisanal versions are used in the northern Mexican cuisines of Sonora, Nuevo León, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Tamaulipas and to a lesser degree in Sinaloa and Durango — in Puebla they are the tortilla base for tacos de harina and tacos árabes (a special pita-style flour tortilla). In Mexicali, flour tortillas are the preferred wrapper for carne asada tacos. In truth, burritos are just a regional style of taco: tacos norteños (northern tacos) or tacos de harina (flour tacos).
Most Mexican burritos are skinny and filled with simple stews, or guisados, like the kind you’ll find at Burritos La Palma, the Mexico based chain solely responsible for the popularity of flour tortillas and burritos in Jerez, Zacatecas as well as other nearby towns. One exception is Sonora. They have skinny burritos but are also home to the burrito percherón (named after the powerful draft horse) , a massive cylinder of steak, melted cheese, chopped tomato, and avocado enclosed inside of a handmade tortilla sobaquera (large Sonoran flour tortilla).
In addition to the original burrito percherón, one might also find burritos like the Italiano (pepperoni pizza ingredients), boneless chicken wings, chicken cordon bleu, teriyaki chicken. And at places like Hermosillo’s Burrotron (founded in 2012), you can upgrade your health risk status to Defcon 4 with a bacon-wrapped burrito, just like the one on sale now at Sonora Grill.
Though large flour tortilla holding Sonora Grill’s ingredient bomb together is rolled in-house, some of the innards like rice and sour cream aren’t conventional. Let’s not rally around the banner of purism here, since you can find burritos percherones in Hermosillo filled with the friggin’ ingredients of a Domino’s pizza. Or, if you’re aching for something to eat on the long drive to the desert this weekend, an awesome bacon-wrapped burrito not far off the 60 Freeway in Moreno valley.
Sonora Grill, 23962 Alessandro Blvd, Moreno Valley, (951) 697-0028