Here in Happy Valley, students from across campus can all agree on one thing – Chipotle is THE place to go for a delicious and filling Mexican dinner (if you can manage to survive the never-ending line at any given time). When the employees went on strike last semester, Penn State was in a state of chaos and confusion. Where were we supposed to get our beloved burrito bowl?!
Chipotle reopened not even a day later, but should that ever happen again, we will no longer be stranded without our fresh guacamole and child-sized burritos. Never fear, California Tortilla is finally here.
Located at the end of College Avenue (right past Burrowes Street), Cal Tort opened to the public on January 22. The line to get in wrapped around the street corner as people, eager to get their hands on free burritos, bore freezing cold temperatures just to get inside.
Naturally, we had to find out what the hype was all about.
We walked into a moderately crowded California Tortilla on a Saturday night and were immediately enticed by a large, versatile menu. In the mood for a traditional burrito? Cal Tort has you covered. Feeling tacos? Look no further. How about a salad? They’ve got ’em.
I opted for the Fish Taco Fresh Deal while my photographer, Morgan, chose the Sunset Bowl.
After getting our drinks from the super cool Coca-Cola Freestyle machine, we received our food, found a booth and dug in. The tacos were so visually pleasing, I almost didn’t want to touch them. But hunger prevailed and I devoured the tacos in a second. (Okay, maybe more than ONE second….but barely.)
The Fish Taco Fresh deal consisted of two soft shell, blackened fish tacos. The fish was covered with various toppings; I opted for lettuce, cabbage and a chipotle mayo-based sauce. The tacos were juicy and filling, but seriously lacked any sort of spice. So I headed over to the Wall of Flame – arguably California Tortilla’s most recognizable feature.
The Wall of Flame is home to a ton of different hot sauces, with everything from Ginger Peach to Chile Habanero to Orange Krush. I chose Blind Betty’s Pineapple Pizzaz. The sauce was delicious; however, I recommend something spicier for heat lovers like myself.
Morgan’s Sunset Bowl was definitely the healthier choice, but was still just as appetizing. Her dish consisted of grilled chicken over lettuce, rice and black beans and was topped with salsa, corn, avocado and cilantro.
Overall, California Tortilla did not disappoint. Though the prices are a tad higher than its competitor’s, the food seems to be a better quality. Afterwards, I was not left feeling disgustingly full like I am at other Mexican places.
Not only is there an option for everyone, there are SEVERAL options for everyone – even you, vegetarians. And the best part is? Cheaper guac.
Location: 322 West College Ave. State College, PA 16802
Hours of Operation: Monday-Saturday: 11:00am-10:00pm; Sunday: 11:00am-9:00pm