Breakfast burritos have a special place in the hearts of college students. There are times when you desperately need a heavy, filling breakfast on a Saturday or Sunday morning, but the idea of handling silverware and a plate seems like far too Herculean an effort. Enter the breakfast burrito: your morning meal wrapped in a tortilla, and often accompanied by a much-needed bottle of hot sauce. You can eat it hunched over a greasy table, in front of the T.V., or in especially dire cases, in bed. One of our old favorites comes from The Cantina, in UCSB-adjacent Goleta: a vegetarian delight comprised of potatoes, eggs, sour cream, cheese, rice, and salsa. But Los Angeles has college students (and others who love the things) too, so we went out to see what we could find.
If you do any serious, or even minor research, on the Los Angeles breakfast burrito scene, you will almost certainly be lead to Lucky Boy in Pasadena. Wood paneling, wall paper, and tired chandeliers decorate this neighborhood standby, where inexpensive, hearty foods like burgers, burritos, and pastrami dominate the menu. But the breakfast burrito is a beautiful sight: massive, inexpensive, and yet somehow artfully prepared. The eggs are fluffy, the potatoes soft, and there is even a layer of cheese surrounding the interior rim. But there are two important factors that make this burrito especially good. First, the bacon is cooked very well, with the ideal combination of crisp and chew. The second is the integration of the ingredients, each one finding a home in just about every bite. If you fancy a bit of acidity to brighten your meal, their little cups of salsa do wonders.
It is an unenviable task to follow Lucky Boy's burrito, but we tried to see if Tacos Villa Corona, in Atwater Village, was up to it. Once you open the door and step inside this incredibly tiny shack, you are actually already at the counter, and have visited the entire restaurant. They serve several varieties of breakfast burrito, but we went for the one with spinach, potato, egg, and chorizo. Theirs, like most, was a much sloppier creation, greasy, spicy, and yet at times lighter, thanks to the spinach. If last night's final round of tequila shots are staging a coup, this will certainly help to improve your situation. As usual, the cups of spicy salsa make for a useful addition, but there were just too many odd bites which came off surprisingly bland -- a testament, again, to the skill used in crafting our other competitor's version. So while there are many good breakfast burritos in Los Angeles, Lucky Boy is still the finest we've come across.
Lucky Boy: 640 S. Arroyo Pkwy. Pasadena, (626) 793-0120., Tacos Villa Corona: 3185 Glendale Boulevard, Atwater Village, (323) 661-3458.