BURRITO WISDOM – a vegetarian burrito quest www.burritowisdom.com

EL TARASCO (7)

Posted in Manhattan Beach by burritowizard on August 31, 2009

El Tarasco Exterior

316 Rosecrans Ave

Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

(310) 545-4241

Measurements: vary from burrito to burrito, generally smaller than average which is: 9″ circumference; 7″ lenght

It will cost $7 or $8 depending on what you order and what you tip

El Tarasco Salsa

Classic Manhattan Beach 10-counter seat diner style Mexican Eatery since 1965.  Most notable for their plentiful salsa fresca, El Turasco serves straight forward no fluff vegetarian friendly classics, although most of the menu is meat.  More of a wet burrito spot, and that’s what they do best, but they will wrap your burrito in foil to oblige.  Not re-inventing the wheel, but good guacamole, soupy pinto beans, usually crowded, BYOB, open late night.  Jack Kerouac would have loved this place.

El Tarasco Burrito

VALUE: good for Manhattan Beach

WIZARD’S SCORE: 7

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MAMA’S HOT TAMALES CAFE (6.75)

Posted in MacArthur Park, Vegan by burritowizard on August 23, 2009

Mama's Hot Tamales Cafe Exterior

2124 W 7th St
Los Angeles, CA 90057-4001
(213) 487-7474

website

Measurements: 9″ circumference; 7″ length (standard size)

Tofu Burrito $8.78 after tax

In the grand scheme of territorial plunder, the spoils run from gold to silver to bananas.  Sometimes boredom/ compulsive entrepreneurship steers your quest towards the latter end of the spectrum leaving you with a “fruitful” discovery.  The Burrito Wizard ventures to Mama’s Hot Tamale’s Café, not famous for their burritos, but well established as a matriarch in the tamale-sphere.  Vegan friendly in MacArthur Park, artsy-date-worthy atmosphere, a little pricey for the taqueria crowd.

Their vegetarian burritos are lacking zest and overpriced given the comparables.   Fresh vaguely noteworthy red and green salsas.  We’re talking vegetarian burritos here, not to take anything away from the rest of their menu, which I recommend focusing on to any one who chooses to patronize Mama’s Hot Tamale’s Café.  Don’t order the burritos.

Mama's Hot Tamales Cafe Burrito

Value: Pricey for the area

WIZARD’S SCORE: 6.75

TACOS VILLA CORONA (8.75)

Posted in Atwater Village, Breakfast Burrito by burritowizard on August 22, 2009

Villa Corona Exterior

3185 Glendale Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90039

(323) 661-3458


Measurements: vary depending on burrito (more expensive tend to be bigger). 8” to 9” circumference and 6” to 7” length


tacos-villa-menu


For vegetarians and spendthrifts: this is the best burrito in Los Angeles.  Tiny hole in the wall, not big enough for 3 people to stand (unless they are really in love with each other). No rice, one type of hearty red salsa/ hot sauce (achieving perfect synergy with everything on the menu), She takes her last order around 4:45pm.  The most unusual thing on the menu is the Tortilla & Egg Burrito (see pic below) with tortilla chips inside (not recommended for first-timers).  Simple, strait-forward, quaint, owner operated and certainly worthy of a visit from out-of-towners.  The place is sometimes referred to as Maria’s, the matriarch’s name.


tacos-villa-burrito


Value: Dollar for Dollar Best Burrito in Los Angeles


WIZARD’S SCORE: 8.75


HUGO’S TACOS (6.25)

Posted in Atwater Village, Gringo, Studio City, Valley Village, Vegan by burritowizard on August 12, 2009

HUGO'S EXTERIOR

3300 Glendale Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90039

(323) 664-9400

4749 Coldwater Canyon Studio City, CA 91604
(818) 762-7771

www.hugostacos.com


Measurements: 9” circumference, 6.5” length (slightly shorter than average)


Veggie Burrito: $6.53 after tax

Breakfast Burrito: $4.66 after tax


Aesthetically, everything is perfect, like the set of a restaurant commercial where the meal is flavored with food coloring.

Definitely vegetarian and vegan friendly… Two types of Veggie Burritos: Zucchini, Corn and String Bean; and Soy Chorizo, Potato and Zucchini.

Everything is cooked cooked to mush. The rice tastes dead, like a vortex of flavor, and is far too plentiful. No cheese???  The negra is my preferred salsa: a tasty deep rich black sauce, but all the salsas are reminiscent of Chicken McNugget dipping sauces.  If you’ve had burritos in NYC, Hugo’s took a page out of the Big Apple playbook.  The plain breakfast burrito is the best value and it comes with Oaxaca cheese (served all day).


hugos-soyrizo-burrito1


Value: Not so great


WIZARD’S SCORE: 6.25


Atwater Village vegetarian burrito Studio City vegetarian burrito

SENOR FISH – DOWNTOWN LA (8.5)

Posted in Downtown, Eagle Rock, Little Tokyo, South Pasadena by burritowizard on August 11, 2009

Senor Fish Exterior

422 E 1st Street Los Angeles, CA 90012

(213) 625-0566

www.senorfishla.com


Measurements: 9” circumference, 7” length (standard size)


Veggie or Tofu burrito = $6.53 after tax

Bean + Cheese burrito = $4.34 after tax


Pulitzer Prize winning food-ologist Jonathan Gold praised Senior Fish in his review almost a decade ago. Shocking to vegetarians, Burrito Wisdom has deemed Senor Fish one of the best veggie burritos in L.A.  It’s one of the best because of their fresh ingredients, original recipes, 5 different sauces at the self serve salsa bar, and fresh pico de gallo w/ jalapenos.


I awarded the Downtown Los Angeles Senor Fish with the “Best Vegetarian Burrito in Los Angeles” for the first half of 2009, but in July 2009 they tweaked their recipe and decreased the size of their burritos.  These changes lowered their score and knocked them out of the first position.


Vegetarian burrito: Zucchini/ corn based vegetable medley, whole pinto beans (no lard), Spanish rice (red), guacamole, crema, cabbage and cheese in a flour tortilla.  The Tofuritto is great!  Not a big fan of tofu in Mexican, but this works.  Breaded tofu sauteed in a Sriracha sauce (Thai hot sauce).  Similar to the veggie burrito minus the zucchini based medley, plus marinated tofu.


Best sauces: Habanero (hottest), and house salsa (mildest). In between: Chipotle, Guajillo, Verde. The habanero is a light reddish orange that has a distinct spicy flavor. The house salsa is a great burrito compliment too.  Senor Fish is unconventional, their burritos and salsas are outside of the box.  If you are a conservative burrito eater you may not “get” Senor Fish.


senor-fish-piano-salsa-bar

Value: Fair considering the salsa bar


WIZARD’S SCORE: 8.5


Downtown Los Angeles/ Little Tokyo

South Pasadena

Eagle Rock

www.burritowisdom.com

EL HUARACHE VELOZ (THE FAST SANDAL) (6.5)

Posted in Historic Core by burritowizard on August 9, 2009

camera-jan-08-0542

510 South Broadway Los Angeles, CA 90013

(213) 617-7058


Measurements: 9” circumference, 7” length (standard size)

Vegetarian Burrito = $5.83 after tax


El Huarache Veloz translated directly is the fast sandal, but is denoting huarache (their specialty dish).  Huaraches are oblong fried pieces of mesa with varied toppings, differing from sopes in shape only.


The vegetarian burrito is not on the menu, it consists of: re-fried pinto beans, Spanish rice w/ corn, peas, and carrots, grated cheese, lettuce, tomato, sliced avocado in a grilled tortilla.  Beans taste lard free, rice probably made with chicken stock.

camera-jan-08-0521

No salsa bar.  Burrito comes with salsa verde: a light yet hearty mildly spiced and hearty perfect compliment to the burrito.  You can ask for the red sauce: a rich pastier spicy sauce that resembles enchelada sauce.


Three locations: Pacoima, Van Nuys and downtown on Broadway (I’ve only been to the downtown location).


Value: so so



WIZARD’S SCORE: 6.5