As you know, here at California Tortilla, we love the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week. With that said, if you buy an unbelievably delicious fish taco tomorrow, Friday, August 2nd, we’ll give you a free “I Heart Snuffy” bumper sticker. Not sure who Snuffy is? Check this video out here.

So come on out tomorrow and show your support for Snuffy! He needs it. (Watch the video, and you’ll know why…)

Shark Week starts on Sunday, August 4th. To learn more about Shark Week, visit here.


On August 4th, we’re celebrating our 18th birthday — can you believe it? (President Obama’s birthday is also August 4th. Do you think he runs around yelling, “Woo-hoo!” on his birthday like we do?)

Anyway, because I know you’re dying to know, I thought I’d give you a highlight from each of the past 18 years. (It’ll take just 3 short hours to read.)

Here goes…

1995: The first California Tortilla opens in Bethesda, MD. Our first newspaper review says, “You’d have to be an idiot to open a restaurant in Bethesda.” We live up to expectations.

1996: The Monday Night Wheel debuts. We quickly learn that landing on “Free Bad Prize” makes children cry.

1997: We get labels made for the burritos. Parties of two or more no longer have to take a bite out of each burrito to figure out what kind it is.

1998: We give away wax lips, and lines are out the door. We’re on to something, we’re just not sure what.

1999: We get our first email address. We can’t wait to find out what an email is.

2000: We’re told by a source inside the White House that we’re “the restaurant of choice for White House staffers.”

2001: We host our first Doggy Yappy Hour on our patio. At one point 50% of the dogs have thrown up. (We’re hoping to keep this from the White House staffers.)

2002: We add coffee to the menu. Nobody buys it but our employees start working really fast.

2003: We feature a “Mystery Burrito” as our monthly special. We won’t say what’s in it, and we black out the window in front of the cooking line with construction paper. It flies off the shelves. We consider blacking out the entire menu.

2004: We receive a cease-and desist letter saying we must immediately stop using the slogan “Cal Tort: Burritos as Big As Your Head.” We desperately search for other body parts to compare ourselves to. (Where’s Carlos Danger when you need him?)

2005: We have a slogan contest (see above). And although we don’t end up picking a winner (that’s time consuming!), our personal favorite is, “Cal Tort: Friendlier than grandma with less ass pinching.” We like it because this person seems to have such an interesting grandmother.

2006: We have a promotion where you throw a ball into a hoop behind the cashier’s head. Shortly thereafter I stop being in charge of promotions.

2007: I have no idea. I was pregnant most of the year and I can’t remember anything. (Except for when I sat on a shelf in front of a group of people and broke it. That I remember.)

2008: We launch the Burrito Elito card. We give away millions of dollars in Burrito Bucks in a very short time. We did not see that coming.

2009: We retire our mascot “Chippy” because everyone thinks he’s a piece of pizza.

2010: We add fish tacos and carnitas to our menu. The crowds (and chickens) go wild.

2011: We debut our catering hotline 1(855) CAL-TROT. And then the following week we debut our non-typo catering hotline 1(855) CAL-TORT. (FYI: If you buy the wrong phone number, you own it. Go ahead — call it.)

2012: We roll out a brand new look that proves to be wildly popular with customers. We also remove my picture from all of the cups and chip bags, which seems to be equally popular with customers. Hmm.

2013: We open a California Tortilla in Qatar. The people of Qatar can’t wait to find out what a burrito is.

Thank you so much for making it such a great 18 years. We can’t wait to see what the next 18 bring. I think.

On that note, I hope you’re having a fabulous shark-free summer…

*Note to regular Taco Talk readers: you know I loved that I got to write about Yappy Hour one more time, don’t you?