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Put this one in your back pocket. A gift from me to you. Knowing where El Pueblo is could be the difference between metaphorical starvation and burrito salvation along the freeway. There’s nothing charming about its location in a Valero station just east of the 5 on Birmingham Drive in Cardiff, a quality enhanced by the fact that the building is being renovated right now and the taco shop is almost lost behind the detritus of construction.

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As if being wedged into a gas station weren’t bad enough, a charming series of typographical errors plague El Pueblo’s menu and other printed media at the restaurant: from “lenga” tacos to “chunkey” salsa and everything in between. Even the cook’s labelling of a breakfast burrito with illegible characters that vaguely, and only with a lot of imagination, resemble the word “breakfast” adds to the hectic charm.

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And people still line up, day and night, for the seriously good burritos. The California burrito impressed me with huge amounts of steak, a crispy tortilla, and fresh fries. The fish tacos I saw produced by the dozen were all identically delightful and voraciously devoured by the starving captives of the I-5. Yup, being able to just jump off the freeway in north county and snag a first-rate burrito or taco at any hour of the day or night is a clutch play if ever there was one. Good job, El Pueblo. I know that I am glad it’s out there, seconds from the freeway where I might otherwise agonize over exiting, unsure if any good food awaited me. Being stuck on the 5 in a foodless situation doesn’t have to be so bad.

820 Birmingham Drive
Cardiff by the Sea
720-230-1771
Open 24 hours

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