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

DONA ROSA (7.25)

Posted in Gringo, Pasadena by burritowizard on March 2, 2010

577 S Arroyo Parkway
Pasadena, CA 91105
(626) 449-2999

Bean-Rice-Cheese-Pico de Gallo Burrito $6.50 after tax

Measurements: 9″ circumference; 6″ length (smaller than average)

A woman with a sexy body and an ugly face is called a Butterface (But-Her-Face), this slur reminds me of Dona Rosa’s Burritos.  “10” for effort, the look, the feel, the atmosphere, the signage; I’d love to hang out here all day, especially Tuesdays with $1.50 margaritas.  Everything seems perfect, but-the-taste.  The black bean, rice, shredded cheese and pico de gallo (no jalapenos) burrito is simple, but well executed.  The salsa bar is one of the most beautiful I have seen.  But, the taste of the salsas, particularly in the hotter sauces, is where Dona Rosa misses the mark.

Spicy Red Salsa (upper left) is not that spicy, and tastes more like tomato paste than salsa.  Salsa Quemada (fire roasted) (upper right) doesn’t jibe with the burritos or chips.  Tomatillo Chipotle Salsa (lower left) is a straight forward house salsa, but a bit too watery.  Tomatillo Salsa (lower right) This is their best salsa, rich bodied and well executed.  SUMMARY: Dona Rosa is worth a visit, just don’t get your hopes up for greatness.

Value: Pricey, but worth it if you are looking for atmosphere, and a nice place to hang out.



Posted in Pasadena by burritowizard on March 4, 2009

Burrito Express Sign

1567 E Washington Blvd Pasadena, CA 91104

(626) 798-0844



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


Regular JVC burrito without meat: $4.68 after tax


Refried Beans: lard

Rice: chicken base


In the arid northern region of Pasadena lies this oasis for burritophiles.  Charming, owner operated, and charismatic this place is worth a visit for carnivores.  Unfortunately they only have refried beans with lard, which for most vegetarians is a no-no.  Three types of salsa: warm red enchilada sauce (zero spice), warm green enchilada sauce (medium spice) and hot and spicy (think and wonderful) red chili sauce (makes my top 20 all time). 


Creative menu with classic cultural references to Ross Perot (independent self financed presidential candidate in 1992 and 1996) and Judge Ito (presided over the O.J. Simpson trial 1994-1995).  At my visit a regular, who drove all the way from Burbank, was discussing a new burrito secretly in the works at Burrito Express.  In the interest of anonymity I stayed out of the conversation, but what could it be?  The “everlasting burrito”?



Burrito Express Burrito


Value: yes, too bad I swore off refried beans…





Posted in Breakfast Burrito, Pasadena by burritowizard on March 2, 2009

Lucky Boy Sign

640 S Arroyo Pkwy Pasadena, CA 91105
(626) 793-0120



Measurements: 10” circumference, 7” length (bigger than average)


Breakfast Burrito $5.63 after tax



I hear this place has the “best breakfast burrito in Los Angeles” (technically in Pasadena). It’s an old fashioned drive-in burger joint, with quick turn over of above average quality ingredients in large portions. It’s unfortunate that I’m reviewing their vegetarian burritos, because it’s clear that is not what they do best. But, I’m impressed that they do it at all. Upon ordering the vegetarian breakfast burrito I realized it’s a monster, served with vast amounts of their red tangy hot sauce/ salsa. I ordered it with pico de gallo (which I don’t recommend) that tastes more like German tomato salad.

My friend wanted a lunch burrito, but the options are a bit out of the ordinary. For the burritos you pick and choose from amongst the ingredients in the kitchen (slim pickings for vegetarians). My friend orders a gyro (kind of a random burrito alternative), but somewhat telling of the burrito options here. Great place to stock up on breakfast burritos for Rose Bowl tailgating, otherwise I may just get an omelet at the Pantry on Figueroa downtown (they make a killer hot salsa).


Lucky Boy Burrito

Value: gynormous burrito for about the going rate of a regular.