Truth be told, seafood burritos are usually the kind of thing frequently found on Mexican-American fast casual menus, where large Baja California-styled shrimp burritos are filled with rice, beans, guacamole, and pico de gallo. While they can often be the right move over the blander offerings at these catch-all restaurants, they simply can’t compare to the real seafood burrita (feminine of burrito) found in the coastal Mexican city of Puerto Vallarta.
Burritas mixtas are a regional food in Puerto Vallarta, in which burritas come mixed with octopus, fish, shrimp, and often marlin. The whole oceanic collection is stir-fried with onions and bell peppers and then quickly rolled into a flour tortilla along with lettuce, avocado slices, tomatoes, and melted cheese. Each tight, rounded rectangle gets some deep browning from a flat top griddle, and is then served hot and fast to waiting customers. Quality recreations of the dish can be hard to find around LA, but thankfully the Inland Empire’s new La Burrita Marina truck, from Puerto Vallarta’s own Raúl and Socorro Diaz, has emerged for just such a purpose.
The Diaz family unquestionably serves some of Puerto Vallarta’s best burritas. The duo has even gone on to open a branch in Guadalajara that comes with a full menu, including ceviches and other cold bar items, and have gained a remarkably strong reputation in the world of charrería, or Mexican rodeo. Simply put, the Diaz’s burritas are legend all over Mexico. It’s at the charrería where Socorro Diaz met Inland Empire-based charro and businessman, José Covarrubias, a former bull and bronco rider, and together the group has partnered to open the first of what could be many branches of La Burrita Marina stateside. First up is a food truck in Jurupa Valley.
“Every time I go to Mexico I have to have [the burritas],” says new partner Covarrubias, who has been eating the Diaz’s food for more than a decade. “All the competitors from the U.S. are always looking for that spot.” The Southern California-based Covarrubias attends a handful of rodeo events in Mexico each year, and is founder and CEO of his own charrería, Clásico de Las Americas, Charrería Against Cancer. He even helped to bring La Burrita Marina to the U.S. to sell food at an event he hosted at the Pico Rivera Sports Arena last year, and where the partnership was born. It took some convincing, since the seasoned rodeo man’s main businesses are in solar power systems and home surveillance, but soon a plan was in place to have Socorro Diaz come to Jurupa Valley for several months to train an all-new staff for the truck, basing the initial menu off of the Guadalajara branch, which serves cold bar items, seafood tacos, and burritas mixtas.
There’s a lot to like about the menu overall, but it’s hard to overlook the burritas mixtas when first visiting. Start with the especial, a flavor-packed mix of moist, smoked marlin, cooked shrimp, octopus, and melted cheese that is served with sautéed and raw vegetables soaked in savory marlin juices. They don’t call smoked marlin jamón del mar (ham of the sea) for nothing. Two other variations include shrimp and marlin or octopus and marlin, though even the simple shrimp-only burrito reaches new heights after adding the truck’s chipotle cream and chile serrano cream dressings.
Each burrita comes with a cold salad of jícama, mango, carrots, and cucumbers for a fresh, crunchy contrast, but it’s important to note that the dressings are an essential part of the dish. The creamy sauces enhance the flavors with chile serrano and smoky chile chipotle, plus a little salt to coat the burritas. The richness is a common attribute for seafood tacos (burritos and burritas are a regional name for tacos made with flour tortillas) on Mexico’s Pacific Coast. Diners will likely find themselves dressing, biting, and dressing again to the last pinch of tortilla.
Beyond the burritas there are tacos and other seafood options to explore. Don’t overlook the truck’s ornate tuna sashimi, formed in a cylindrical mold encircled by strips of raw tuna covered in lime and soy sauce, then sprinkled with black and white sesame seeds — or the black aguachile with lime and salsa negra.
LA’s birria and carne asada lovers will be pleased to find a pair of meat options on the menu. The business savvy Covarrubias is not unaware of the current fashion of birria everything on LA menus. While Jurupa Valley seems an odd place to introduce the burrita mixta to America, it was a strategic move.
“A lot of the competitors live here because there are big horse properties here in Jurupa Valley. And they all are fans of the burritas,” said Covarrubias. “The truck was a way for us to start during the pandemic, but we want to open a restaurant, and if it goes well, start franchising it.” For now the group is focusing on their single small yellow truck, meaning that (other than a single place in Modesto) the only proper stop for Puerto Vallarta-style burritas in the U.S. may well be right here in the Jurupa Valley. Find the La Burrita Marina truck parked at 4747 Felspar Street in the Jurupa Valley, or by calling (626) 712-4422.