We all have soundtracks that can immediately bring us back to our youth—driving the open road, struggling to find something to listen to, fishing for a tape or CD underneath the seat—and for me that particular album is “Dude Ranch” by San Diego natives Blink-182.

The song “Josie” especially struck a chord with me and I spent hours picking apart the lyrics, trying to imagine the romantic punk rock girl who brought the singer “Mexican food from Sombrero, just because”.

Anyone from San Diego knows that these lyrics are referring to our local chain of Sombrero Mexican Food restaurants, and anyone who loves Blink-182 as much as I do has purposefully stopped by the eatery just to repeat the lyrics upon arriving home to a loved one or at least to create a meme documenting our visit to the unlikely 1990’s Pop-Punk hangout.

Image: Poway Sombrero/TripAdvisor

For me, a visit to any Sombrero is a nostalgic journey, but especially the Poway location, where Tom Delonge and Mark Hoppus would hang out, skate, and, of course, eat during their early discussions of the band.

After entering the historic Poway landmark, check out the photos of the pop-punk pioneers sitting in the restaurant, displayed inside a glass case.

There are plenty of options for Mexican cuisine in San Diego, and I’m not saying that Sombrero is the best. But it is an indisputable classic.

One of the highlights of the menu is the California Burrito, a dish that can also trace its origins to San Diego County circa 1980.  Unknown in many other parts of the state, the California Burrito consists of a fresh flour tortilla stuffed with cheese, french fries, pico de gallo, and carne asada, seared and charred to smokey perfection. You can also order this beast of a burrito supreme-style with sour cream and guacamole thrown in the mix.

Sombrero Mexican Food
Image: Poway Sombrero/TripAdvisor
Sombrero Mexican Food
Image: Poway Sombrero/TripAdvisor

Other honorable mentions on the menu include the chips and guacamole, calamari tacos, and classic SD-style fish tacos. The tacos are solid, with fish and squid that’s moist and well-seasoned underneath a crisp-battered crust.

While you’re there, don’t miss the salsa bar, with offerings ranging from mild to Extra Hot, which still manages to deliver a good amount of bite without losing its savory taste.

On your way out, take a trip to the restroom to admire the fan-made Blink-182 shrine.

Management decided to keep the portion of the wall that’s been covered in Blink-182 lyrics, names that are significant to members of the band, and even quotes from some of the banter caught during live recordings, rather than painting over the graffiti.

I like to search the scratching for another one of my favorite lines: “And I see her pretty face; It takes me away to a better place...”

What is this better place? I wonder. Could it be Sombrero?

For an aging punk like me, I’d like to think so.  

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