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.

MAD BURRITO (6.25)

Posted in Business District, Downtown, Gringo by burritowizard on January 10, 2010

700 S Flower St
Los Angeles, CA 90017 (MACY’S PLAZA UNDERGROUND FOOD COURT)

(213) 489-5503

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

Vegetarian Burrito: $6.59 after tax or Been and Cheese Burrito $5.49 after tax (Whole Black Beans Only)

In Latin “Salsa Bars Omnia Vincent” means: Salsa Bars Kick Butts.  Mad Burrito should be: B.Y.O.B., bring your own burrito, but their salsa bar does kick butt.  Probably better than any salsa bar you’ll find in a corporate food court.  Macy’s Plaza, Downtown Los Angeles Business District, think Taco Bell (with actual edible food products), on steroids.

Nice thick red and green sauces, pico de gallo without jalapensos, sweet mango salsa (not pictured here), and many other fix-ins

Value: not good

WIZARD’S SCORE: 6.25

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

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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.

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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


CASA (6.5)

Posted in Business District, Gringo by burritowizard on April 2, 2009

casa-downtown-exterior

350 S Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90013

(213) 621-2249

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

$9.79 for either vegetarian burrito option (w/ side salsa $.25 extra)

I have feared the $10 burrito like some fear the $4 gallon of gas.  At Casa it’s almost here.  Walking by the exterior or viewing the website will leave you with the impression that this is a trendy upscale Mexican restaurant.  At lunch, which is the only time they serve burritos, it’s of the new ilk of restaurants that charge about 20% more for their food, give you the atmosphere of a sit down restaurant,without the added cost of the tip or the convenience of service.  It’s a racket.  Food reminds me of Hugo’s Tacos, but more expensive.  Clean, gringo, gourmet recipes, vegetarian friendly, not for Burritophiles.  But, they’ve got something… If you work at Price Waterhouse Coopers, you’re probably happy to see this place in the food court (which is almost exclusively filled with Nuevo California healthy options).  Salsa tastes more like balsamic vinegar based salad dressing than anything Mexican.

casa-downtown-burrito

Value: one of the worst in town

WIZARD’S SCORE: 6.5

QDOBA (6.5)

Posted in Downtown, Gringo, National Chain by burritowizard on February 11, 2009

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National Chain

www.qdoba.com

 

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

 

Prices vary depending on where you are: between $6 and $7 after tax.  ($6.79 after tax in downtown LA)

 

The first Qdoba was opened in Denver, CO in 1995.  Currently owned by Jack in the Box, they make the finest burrito of all the national chains.  Burritos are made assembly line style (like Subway sandwiches).  The makers are generous and won’t nickel and dime if you want a little extra pico de gallo or whatever.  All chain burrito shops tend to be on the high salt side, and Qdoba is no exception. But, they manage to have “real ingredients” flavor (i.e. no special sauce or mysterious “tastes”), which is rare in “fast food”.   Steamed tortillas that solidifiy the burrito and 3 types of salsa: medium, hot and very hot.  They are a little on the “jar” side, but still a solid bet.  I have had Qdoba throughout the country and all seem to be comparable.  If you find a Qdoba in an airport (Atlanta and Pittsburgh) consider yourself lucky.  Their guacamole is particularly impressive compared to what you normally get outside of California.

 

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Value: Amazing for an airport.

 

 WIZARD’S SCORE: 6.5

 

There is one location in Los Angeles

655 S Hope Street Los Angeles CA 90017 (at Red Line Metro stop)

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