Moving from Southern California to the District last year wasn’t easy — schlepping an entire life’s worth of stuff in four suitcases, moving into my freshman dorm during a hurricane, learning that in D.C. any reported chance of rain means there will be water falling from the sky — but I adapted and learned to never leave my room without an umbrella.

These things came pretty naturally, but adapting to a life without good Mexican food didn’t. You might try to argue that there is high-quality Mexican food in Georgetown, whether at Chipotle, Qdoba or any of the higher-end restaurants near campus, but if you did, I would politely inform you that you’re wrong. These are all overpriced imitations of the heavenly original that, in my highly esteemed and educated opinion, can only be found in my hometown.

I grew up in San Diego, 30 minutes from the border. There were kids in my high school class who had lived in Tijuana, Mexico — known as TJ — for most of their lives and moved across the border with their families to attend school in the United States. Seeing a news report about the discovery of a new drug-smuggling tunnel across the border is just as commonplace as seeing a traffic report. If you don’t have at least a basic grasp of the Spanish language, you have very little hope of securing even an entry-level job.

What I’m trying to say is that San Diego and Mexico are connected by more than just geography. Much of our local culture comes from our lovely vecinos to the south. And, of course, much of our local cuisine has been learned from these masters of Mexican deliciousness.

Living in an environment where there are more — cheap — Mexican restaurants than Starbucks locations has meant that I have very different tastes but strong opinions about my burritos. I prefer carne asada — a burrito made with steak — but, to be quite honest, I will eat any burrito as long as it is wrapped in a flour tortilla and contains guacamole — a subject I can talk about for days, so don’t even get me started. However, of all the burritos I have tried, there’s one true pinnacle of burrito-dom: the California burrito. Known in its truest form only in San Diego County, a California burrito is a carneasada burrito with a twist. Apart from the typical ingredients — meat, cheese, guacamole, salsa, sour cream — the California burrito has the startling and alluring addition of French fries. French fries? In a burrito? Yes. A million times yes.

Whenever I return home, my first stop is Ortega’s Place for the burrito-induced coma that can only come from eating one of their concoctions, which are the size of your face. It is a truly magical food experience. Trying to explain the logic behind these behemoth creations to those who have not experienced their deliciousness is difficult, but ask any of my friends and they will verify that I talk about them an embarrassing amount. I have actually had dreams about these burritos.

Thus far, being in Washington, D.C., has been an amazing opportunity to try cuisine from around the world and expand my sheltered palate, but when it comes to my beloved Mexican food, I have had to make sacrifices. I have made do with the occasional trip to Chipotle and the abuse of chips and guacamole at Leo’s. While none of it can compare to what I get at home, I can’t seem to survive without it. Much as New Yorkers can’t survive without their bagels, as Kentuckians can’t survive without their bourbon and as Philadelphians can’t survive without their cheesesteaks, I truly can’t survive without my Mexican food.

Nicole Jarvis is a sophomore in the College. PARDON MY FRENCH appears every other Friday in the guide.

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