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

 

POLL: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LOS ANGELES AREA BURRITO CHAIN?

Posted in POLLS by burritowizard on June 29, 2011

 

 

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.

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

LALO’S (7.5)

Posted in Fashion District, Skid Row by burritowizard on February 17, 2010

400 E 7th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90014
(213) 891-1069

Vegetarian Burrito: $3.75 after tax

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

As the new fangled continues its march, places like Lalo’s are the last bastion of what once was.  For good or for bad, Lalo’s is as real as it gets.  Walking up to order, you cancel the rest of your appointments for the day assuming you will become deathly ill from whatever you eat.  But, it’s not that type of place.  Lalo’s is vegetarian friendly, with a burrito that is the prototypical Los Angeles style: re-fried beans, Spanish rice, lettuce, tomato, sour cream, avocado, cilantro, and onion.  Their salsas are fresh and well constructed.  I can’t help but compare this place to the food spot in the movie Colors (1988).

Usually they have their chile de arbol (left) and spicy tomatillo (right), both are excellent.  Sometimes they have a spicy tomato salsa (below)

Value: cheapest full sized burrito I’ve ever seen

WIZARD’S SCORE: 7.5

TACOMOLE (7.5)

Posted in Fashion District, Gringo by burritowizard on February 9, 2010

Located in the food court at the California Mart near the intersection of W 9th St. and S Main St.

110 East 9th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90079

(213) 689-1370

Veggie Burrito: $7.08 after tax

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

In the Fashion District Tacomole has been flourishing since 1985.  Probably the best burrito I’ve had from a food court, with all of the punch and integrity you’d expect from multigenerational family cooking.  Option for real pico de gallo, whole pinto beans, and everything you’d expect from a learned burrito maker.  But, as a Burritophile, there is something missing.  Maybe it’s their 3rd Division location in a food court that keeps their expectations and exposure down.   This place will not blow your mind if you seek it out on a burrito quest, but it should.  Clean, healthy, trustworthy, and off everyone’s radar.  You should know about Tacomole.

Value: Depends on what you order, but generally pricey considering other options for burritos in the area

WIZARD’S SCORE: 7.5

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

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