Loading...

Burrito's Kings 

Three taquerias that wrap refritos in style

Wednesday, Nov 21 2007
Comments

Dear Mr. Gold:

I know this probably disqualifies me from the human race, but I am beyond tired of the kind of burritos you get at taco stands. I’m not quite looking for the burritos I enjoyed as a boy in rural Pennsylvania, but there has to be something else.

—Joe, Silver Lake

Location Info

  • Tonia's

    • 4233 Rosemead Blvd., Pico Rivera South Bay
    • phone 562-695-4322

Related Stories

  • Old-School Mexican Restaurants 36

    Old-school Mexican is a state of mind. Far, far away from farm-to-table, diet fads or the latest trends, this style of cuisine celebrates comfort, plenty and lots of lard. These retro-minded dishes wouldn't be caught dead featuring chia seeds or kale - although it's amusing to remember that the avocado...
  • Boyle Heights "Gentrification" Tour Canceled; Real Estate Agent "Sorry" 12

    It's hard to find a neighborhood north of the 10 freeway and south of the hills in the city of Los Angeles that hasn't been gentrified. Boyle Heights has been a holdout, although some would argue that it too has seen plenty of gourmands and house flippers. The historic immigrant...
  • Hipster Lakes Battle 9

    Whether you wish to join their ranks or avoid the nuisance, the precise location and behavior of the phenomenon known as "hipster" seems to be a matter of dire importance to all Angelenos. These gentrifying, culture-conscious creatures can be found preying on vintage purses, foraging for craft beers, avoiding basic bitches and...
  • Soccer Sucks 36

    Sure, you bought a USA jersey and all your hipster friends are talking about tactics, ball control and midfield strikers. ESPN's networks are enjoying stellar World Cup ratings. And the BBC says "the U.S. has emerged as the pre-eminent English-speaking football nation at this World Cup." Not to side with Ann Coulter, but she's right...
  • Best Live Music in L.A. 6

    Los Angeles has some of the best live music venues in the city. Take these, for example.  But what if one prefers to enjoy bands in the cozier settings of a bar or restaurant?  Here, then, are the 10 best L.A. bars and restaurants with live music.  10. Casey's Irish Pub...

 

Dear Joe:

The burrito has a proud history in Los Angeles and other regions of northern Mexico as a way for a worker to put together a portable lunch from a flour tortilla, a spoonful of stew, and the beans from last night’s dinner. Like many foods born from necessity, it was delicious, convenient and enormously mutable. But as the Republican Party is so quick to remind us, most of the taco-stand-owning population in the Los Angeles area is not quite from the neighborhood — they tend to be from older areas of Mexico where the flour tortilla is an abomination and a burrito is what your great-uncle Chuy used to keep down on his ranch.

L.A. taquerias and trucks all serve burritos, of course, but basically as a public service to their dumb cousins who don’t know that you’re supposed to eat your al pastor in tacos or tortas, as God herself intended. Taqueria burritos tend to be filled with stewed beans instead of refritos, with grilled meats instead of stew, and often with unholy supplements of rice. Stick to the tacos, I say.

But at the best of the old-line Los Angeles burrito stands, you will find burritos as they should be eaten: slender instead of overstuffed; ballasted with a smooth, well-oiled paste of refried beans; the griddled tortilla adding a toasty flavor; and featuring a bit of cheese or a spoonful of sauce for flavor, perhaps, or stewed chiles, or sometimes a little meat. Al & Bea’s in Boyle Heights (2025 E. First St., 323-267-8810) has burritos like this. Tonia’s down in Pico Rivera (4233 Rosemead Blvd., 562-695-4322) has them. (Burrito King used to have them, although I have lately become disenchanted with their chile verde.) But my first choice is Lupe’s #2 (4642 E. Third St., 323-266-6881). There are 12 kinds of burritos at Lupe’s, and not a speck of carne asada on any of them.

—Jonathan Gold

Related Content

Related Locations

  • Tonia's

    • 4233 Rosemead Blvd., Pico Rivera South Bay
    • phone 562-695-4322

Now Trending

Around The Web

Slideshows

  • The Tasting Menu Trend
    In Los Angeles especially, but increasingly across the country, restaurants are either switching to tasting menus, putting a greater focus on a tasting-menu option (while offering à la carte items as well), or opening as tasting-menu operations from day one. The format that used to be the calling card of only the fanciest of restaurants is becoming ubiquitous, even at places where the waiter calls you “dude” and there isn’t a white tablecloth in sight.
  • Milo's Kitchen: A Treat Truck for Dogs
    Milo's Kitchen, a part of California-based Big Heart Pet Brands, is taking its homestyle dog treats on the road this summer with the "Treat Truck." The dogified food truck is making stops all over the country, ending up in New York early September. The truck stopped at Redondo Beach Dog Park Friday morning entertaining the pups with treats, a photo-booth and play zone. Milo's Kitchen Treat Truck offered samples of the line's six flavors, all with chicken or beef as the first ingredient, and all made in the U.S.A. with no artificial colors or preservatives. All photos by Nanette Gonzales.
  • Smoke.oil.salt's Spanish Cuisine
    Smoke.oil.salt chef (and Valencia native) Perfecto Rocher is valiantly trying to bring the experience of Spain, specifically Catalonia, to the brick space (under a tattoo parlor) on Melrose that used to be Evan Kleiman’s Angeli Caffe.