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

CHARCOAL GRILL (5.25)

Posted in Downtown, Historic Core by burritowizard on August 6, 2011

108 W 2nd St
Los Angeles, CA 90012

(213) 687-8040

www.thecharcoalgrilldowntown.com

 

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

Build your own burrito $6.57 after tax

 

Vegetarian burritos are subtle by nature.  The simple nuances are key to a burrito’s success or failure.  Most are relegated to mediocrity.  The median is a fruitful category.  It’s rare for a clean, fresh, healthy burrito to fall below the average.  Charcoal Grill has achieved this rare feat.  Flavorless, pointless, and possibly the worst salsa in the history of time.  As a burritophile this place makes me contemplate anorexia.  The one plus: if you don’t add meat or veggies, you can build your own burrito for $5.99 + tax = $6.57.  With Chicken $9.26.

 

 

WIZARD’S SCORE: 5.25

 

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COMING SOON: BURRITO INFLATION: Chipotle announces that they will raise their prices due to rising commodity prices

Posted in Burrito Business News, Los Angeles by burritowizard on June 28, 2011

LETTUCE IS UP 15%

BEEF IS UP 17%

BEANS ARE UP 1%

CHEESE IS UP 15%

RICE IS UP 3%

Chipotle, the largest burrito chain in the world with over 1084 stores sets the going price for a vegetarian burrito in most regions.  Citing rising commodity prices as their reason for the coming burrito inflation, Chipotle did not disclose any specifics of their new pricing scheme. Chipotle is quickly becoming the Starbuchs of Burritos, opening across the street from competing establishments, and usually drawing more business. Their control of the market allows them to determine when it is time to raise prices.  Beef prices should have no effect on their vegetarian burrito price, although cheese at 15% is alarming, and they may have to start charging extra for lettuce (up 15%).  Currently at their downtown LA location it’s $5.95 + tax; or $6.52.  I predict we’ll see that rise to at least $6.50 + tax; or $7.13 by the end of the summer, so yes THE $7 BURRITO IS COMING SOON.

CACTUS MEXICAN FOOD #2 (6.25)

Posted in Hollywood, Koreatown by burritowizard on June 6, 2011

Cactus Mexican Food #2 Exterior

4370 Beverly Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90004

(323) 662-0759

MEASUREMENTS: 9″ circumference – 7″ length (standard size)

Veggie Burrito = $4.94 w/o cheese; or $6.04 w/ cheese

Their rice is made with chicken broth.  Half mashed stewed vegetarian pinto beans.

Cactus Mexican Food #2 (#1 is on Vine in Hollywood) has been on the decline for some time now.  Their once legendary salsa bar has continually disappointed over the last year or so.  But this once great pride of L.A. establishment has truly hit a new low with their recent tacky cosmetic remodel (photos will be posted soon; current photos are of old decor), resulting in their tauntingly new high prices.  I think if Marie Antoinette was alive, she would let us eat the cheese for free, but they started charging $1.00 extra for generic shredded cheese.  Salsas fluctuate from day-to-day in color, body, spice and taste.  The chipotle is their best (dark brown) Andy Cone guitarist from Monorchid seriously almost lost his life trying to get more of this salsa on one fabled day back in their glory days; the spicy verde (green) reminds me of the great serrano pepper salsa from Burrito Brothers in Washington, D.C.; the red seems to fluctuate between a mild arbol, a very spicy habanero, and sometimes just a strait sriracha.  They don’t put out the salsa bar until after lunch (time seems to vary day-to-day), but you can ask for all salsas on the side. Three parking spots on-site.  I really want to love this place, but management seems to constantly find a way to mess it up.


 

cactus-salsa

Sauces pictured above (from left to right) chipotle, Thai hot sauce (red), spicey verde, arbol (red)


 

 

VALUE: Used to be one of the best values in town.


WIZARD’S SCORE: 6.25


4370 Beverly Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90004

CACAO DELI/ MEXICAESSEN (6)

Posted in Eagle Rock by burritowizard on November 13, 2010

1576 Colorado Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90041

(323) 478-2791

www.cacaodeli.com

Flor de Jamaica Burrio: $7.96 after tax

Hibiscus Flowers, Cactus Paddles, and Squash Blossoms attempt to distract from the general lack of purpose or taste.  If this place was cheap or in Iowa, I’d give it a pass.  Great vibe, good coffee, if you need a spot to meet-up in the area, consider this.

Three types of salsa w/ different colors; flavor?????

Value: Good for date night/ terrible for burritophiles

WIZARD’S SCORE: 6

WORLDWIDE TACOS (9.25)

Posted in Jefferson Park, Leimert Park, South L.A., Vegan by burritowizard on November 8, 2010

worldwide-tacos-exterior

2419 W Martin Luther King Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90008

(323) 291-1500


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


Fame lasts 15 minutes, being ‘cool’ lasts less than 5; Worldwide Tacos knows neither.  From a shack off MLK Blvd, they slowly deliver the best burritos in the world.  Chris Rock told you to RUN when on Martin Luther King, but that was like 10 years ago…  It takes a life to get to know their menu, but thankfully we have time to discover.  Recommendation: vegetarian steak burritos, that narrows it down to about 11 options, current menu’s 186.  Take a few days off work to check out Worldwide Tacos.  Chill the “F” out.


worldwide-tacos-burrito

Value: The prices spread from reasonable to $11 for a vegen lobster burrito.



 

WIZARD’S SCORE: 9.25


 

TACOS POR FAVOR (7.75)

Posted in Gringo, Santa Monica by burritowizard on October 27, 2010

tacos-por-favor-exterior

1408 Olymipic Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90404

(310) 392-5768

www.tacosporfavormenu.info

 

Measurements: 9”to 8″ circumference, 6.5” to 7″ length (generally smaller than average)


Potato Burrito $5.21 after tax


tacos-por-favor-burrito1

 

This place has pulled off totally satisfying the traditional authentic LA Mexican food crowd, the gringos, the foodies, the locals, and me: everyone likes this place.  Firm fresh black beans, pico de gallo (not so gallo). Red sauce with nutmeg, or is it cinnamon?  Long extensive menu, but not confusing, with appropriate options, all of which are good.  Very simple, not reinventing the wheel.  If they put more care into crafting their salsa this place could possibly blow my mind.


tacos-por-favor-salsa

Value: Best of the beach (not that close to the beach)


WIZARD’S SCORE: 7.75


TOMATILLO 6.75

Posted in Gringo, Koreatown by burritowizard on October 19, 2010

3435 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90010

(213) 388-9636

Vegetarian Burrito: $6.24

Measurements: 9″ circumference; 7″ length (but they’ll hook you up with a monster if you ask nicely)

Today is a special day in American History: I walk into Tomatillo in Koreatown.  The very first Tomatillo.  I feel the energy, this is going to be big…  Like the hot band with a record contract before their first practice, Tomatillo is destined for greatness.  The underpaid staff greets me with big smiles, and jovial attitudes, knowing that they are a part of the very first one…

You have to compare Tomatillo to Chipotle, I’ll use this analogy: Chipotle is Mario from Super Mario Brothers, and Tomatillo is Luigi; but with fresh quality ingredients not seen at Chipotle since the pre-1998-corporate-expansion of the franchise.

Decent traditional red and green salsas with fresh chunks of tomato, cilantro and of course tomatillo.

Value: Standard Issue

WIZARD’S SCORE: 6.75

EL COCHE 6.25

Posted in Business District, Downtown by burritowizard on October 14, 2010

505 S Flower St
CIty National Plz
Los Angeles, CA 90071

Measurements: 8″ circumference; 7″ long (smaller than average)

Bean, Rice and Cheese burrito $3.84

For the past few years foodies, trend-trackers, and the general public seem to believe that tacos and burritos from food carts taste better than those cooked in a conventional kitchen.  Enter El Coche; located in the food court under the Arco building in downtown Los Angeles.  This food cart themed restaurant turns the tables on those sentiments, offering some of the fun and aesthetic of a food cart, with the enforced health code of a restaurant.  I have a soft spot for unique one-offs in food courts.

Decent standard issue salsa bar

Value: good for downtown

WIZARD’S SCORE: 6.25