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Spam and Garlic Tots in Your Burrito? These San Jose Brothers Are Starting the Trend

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three brothers proudly stand in front of a taqueria in San Jose
The Nemedez brothers (Averill, left; Jason, center; Brian, right) in front of Iguanas taqueria in downtown San Jose, where they debuted their "Juborrito" in October. (Alan Chazaro)

¡Hella Hungry! is a column about Bay Area foodmakers, exploring the region’s culinary cultures through the mouth of a first-generation local.

There’s a fresh energy bubbling in San Jose. Though some might assume Silicon Valley’s capital lacks the cosmopolitan grandeur of San Francisco or the bohemian flair of the East Bay, I implore you to spend an evening on foot in the sprawling downtown. You won’t find any true epicenter. Instead, you’ll encounter scattershot offerings of reinvigorated creativity: a natural wine haven, a nightlife-fueled pizzeria and a Mexican cafe that serves the largest pan dulce you’ll ever try to cram into your not-wide-enough mouth.

Forget about Google, Facebook, Tesla and Apple. I’m talking about the real creators — lifelong community members, musicians, immigrants, clothing makers and small business owners who carefully alchemize the soulful ingredients of their home to provide a delicious, shareable experience.

For streetwear label Jubo Clothing and the zany, family-owned taqueria, Iguanas, the recipe is as simple as remixing a California classic. It’s called the Juborrito, a limited-time item on a menu that has been feeding hungry San Jose State students since 1994. The gold-wrapped burrito — stuffed with Spam, garlic tots, scrambled eggs, cheese and Zilla Sauce (a housemade concoction of orange-hued spiciness) — is surprisingly fluffy to the bite and jam-packed with memories of childhood comfort.

For an extra kick, customers who purchase the burrito can also buy a custom shirt designed by Jubo’s Nemedez brothers (Jason, 30; Averill, 27; Brian, 22). Their effort is a subtle homage to classic San Jose streetwear brands like Breezy Excursion, which used to host T-shirt giveaways at Iguanas when they were growing up.

inside a taqueria's kitchen, four burritos are being prepared with tater tots as a prominent ingredient
“Juborritos” (which feature garlic tater tots and Spam) are prepared inside Iguanas in San Jose.

To learn about the 408’s subcultural depths, I kicked it with the first-generation Filipino trendsetting brothers, who pulled up a chair for me to eat at their table. With burritos binding us all together, we reflected on what it means to be from a place that isn’t always embraced.


This interview has been edited for length and clarity.


Alan Chazaro: Iguanas is the home of the famed “Burritozilla” — a five-pound, 18-inch burrito. Your burrito, the Juborrito, isn’t as epic in scale, but it’s a fresh take on your Filipino upbringing. How did the idea for your burrito collab come about?

Jason Nemedez: We wanted to recreate a popular Filipino breakfast. 

a Godzilla-themed poster shows a burrito named "Juborrito" inside a San Jose taqueria
A “Juborrito” poster inside Iguanas, a taqueria known for their massive “Burritozilla.” (Alan Chazaro)

Averill Nemedez: Garlic fried rice, eggs, Spam. Know what I’m saying? We used to eat that all the time.

Jason: That’s it. It’s like a breakfast burrito. But we’ll eat Spam anytime of the day. 

Brian Nemedez: This is our first time working with Iguanas. We would always come and line up for events here for free T-shirt Fridays. Get a burrito and steak fries. It was the spot to go to.

Jason: It’s also like, what other restaurant is doing cool shit like that? Iguanas has always been open to that. We grew up eating the food and coming to events here. We’re paying our dues. 

Brian: [San Jose rapper] Rey Resurreccion is how we actually got it rolling. 

Jason: He linked us up together. He was cool with the owner here. We’re just reaching new audiences, you know.

I’ve never had Spam in a burrito. It’s definitely not common in Mexican cuisine. Was that even an option on the menu at Iguanas before this? 

Brian: Nah, we didn’t know we could even add an ingredient like that. They added it just for this.

Averill: It reminded us of, like, a tosilog burrito. The owners said we could do it.

Jason: On the day of the debut event, they actually ran out of Spam. The crowd was lined up all around the block. It was crazy.

I’ve noticed a rise in popularity and demand for Filipino brands and foods lately, like ube. 

Brian: There’s ube lattes now.

Jason: I think that’s cool, it gives more exposure to our culture. That’s sick. But we need to go a little bit deeper into it. Not just the basic stuff like adobo.

Averill: Man, kare-kare [a peanut-sauce stew with oxtails].

Jason: Yeah, kare-kare is fire. 

You’re mostly known for your clothing. Where does your brand’s name, Jubo, come from? You started out by doing graffiti, right?

Jason: I used to have another tagging name, but then I got caught. So my brother Averill gave me the name Jubo. I didn’t want to get caught again, so I transitioned into making T-shirts. We all used to draw back then, and then we would all sign it. My signature was always “Jubo.” When I started DJing, people would say, “Aye, Jubo, play that slap,” and that’s where I got that from. That leveled up to us designing and turning it all into a logo. It became a well-known name where we grew up. It just became its own thing.

a San Jose artist showcases a shirt he designed for a local taqueria
Averill Nemedez shows off his Iguanas and Juborrito collaborative T-shirt. (Alan Chazaro)

When did you start actually making T-shirts?

Jason: We’ve been into it since middle school. At first we made stencils using manila folders and an Exacto knife. Then I bought a screen printing press when I was in high school. Eventually Jubo became official in about 2018.

Averill: We had a brand before that, back in high school. But it was a wack brand.

Jason: Yeah, no one has to know about that [laughs]. I just used Microsoft Word, which was hard, because it’s not meant for design.

Averill: And Microsoft Paint. We just printed things out.

Jason: After high school, I took a few classes at Evergreen Valley College. The teacher pushed me to do more. She gave me my first art show. She taught me hella shit about mock-ups, the process. But then I went to San Jose State, and it felt completely different. They didn’t care about what I wanted to do. I was working at a car wrapping spot at the time, learning different things. I also worked at a custom print shop in the mall. So I dropped out. Having those design experiences, I was able to teach Averill and Brian what to do. Now those guys are better than me.

How has San Jose shaped your approach to clothing, fashion and community?

Jason: We’ve been here our whole lives. People from here are built different, you know? You gotta hustle and have multiple streams of income. You gotta figure out how to make it. My mom immigrated here from the Philippines and had three different hustles at once. She had a 9 to 5 and then she would sell blankets at night. She would sell fish and longaniza, too. 

Averill: Jewelry.

Brian: Toys and shit.  

Jason: Exactly. When we were younger, we’d go on drop-offs with her ’til midnight. Bruh, I used to hate it, but now we do drop-offs for our own products. Now I get it. She did that for us to be able to thrive out here.

 Besides family (shout out immigrant parents), who has influenced you to pursue your creative passions?

Averill: E-40 did it out the trunk, independently. 

Jason: Yeah, he’s basically a millionaire out the trunk. But for me, [TDK] Dream was a big influence. He was a Filipino dude doing graffiti. He did commercial shit, but he also had his own style. I realized there was something you could do with graffiti. 

three brothers stand with their backs to the camera inside a taqueria
The Nemedez brothers (Averill, right; Jason, center; Brian, left) oversee the making of “Juborritos” at Iguanas in San Jose. (Alan Chazaro)

What makes clothing your ideal medium for self-expression?

Averill: Clothing is very personal. It’s about what’s comfortable to you. Nobody really has any say in what you choose to put on. It’s you. Other opinions don’t matter.

Brian: It’s cool because it gives you an outlet to show who you are. We make shit inspired by what we like. Musical artists, cartoons, sports, movies we watched growing up. You can display it all without saying a word. Someone might see you and identify with you, they might be able to relate and connect off that.

Jason: Before us, San Jose had a big renaissance in terms of streetwear and creative outlets. Breezy was a top brand. Cukui. Headliners. Holloway. They all came up together. And it came with the music at the time like Rey Res, City Shawn, The Bangerz, Cutso and them. And Traxamillion, RIP. We actually made merch for him. In 2020 he had a Street Fighter album [Super Beat Fighter], and he asked me to give Ryu a durag instead of a headband. All that got us excited for designing clothes.

What do you think outsiders misunderstand or overlook about San Jose?

Brian: The creative scene. We’re surrounded by all this technology, everyone just thinks of that. 

Averill: You have to be in it to know what’s going on. If you’re from the outside, you wouldn’t know. 

Jason: We’re also neighboring San Francisco and Oakland, which are more prominent. But San Jose for sure has its own style. 

Averill: We have a chip on our shoulder.

Jason: Yeah. I like to say I’m from San Jose and not the Bay Area. When I tell people I’m from the Bay they’re like, “So, San Francisco?” and I’m like, “Nah, that’s an hour away.” I think something that plays a part in that is we don’t really have any music venues here, so artists don’t really come out here unless they’re huge like Drake and can sell out the SAP Center. So a lot of people just skip over us.

a gold-foil wrapped burrito is displayed on an outdoor table
The limited-edition “Juborrito” (which includes Spam, garlic tater tots, cheese, and egg) is inspired by classic Filipino breakfast meals.

So how is San Jose’s style different from other parts of the Bay?

Jason: Someone once told me that they think of San Jose more like L.A. rather than San Francisco or Oakland. Because we have hella lowriders. That’s huge here. That Chicano influence is fasho big out here. 

Averill: It’s kind of that vintage style, too. That workwear. 

Brian: And skate culture.

How are you keeping that San Jose style alive? Where can the people find you?

Jason: We have a brick-and-mortar shop in Japantown. It’s called Coldwater. It’s an ode to our grandma, who lived on Coldwater Drive, where we grew up. We each sell our own separate brands there, and Jubo Clothing is our team brand.

Brian: My brand is Made by Rila. I do a lot of custom hats. Shirts. I did a skateboard recently.

Averill: Mine is Big Ave Get Paid. I make graphic designs on shirts. I want to try doing jackets in the future. 

Jason: Jubo Slaps is my personal brand. It’s all just a reflection of San Jose and our experiences growing up here.


The Juborrito will be served at all three Iguanas locations (330 S. Third St., San Jose; 4848 San Felipe Rd., San Jose; 4300 Great America Pkwy., Santa Clara) through the end of November. Coldwater (205 Jackson St., San Jose) is open Thu. through Sun., from 12:30 to 5 p.m. (6 p.m. on weekends).

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