Growing up in Orange County, for me Saturdays were breakfast burrito days. My dad and I would drive down to local-ish mini chain Los Primos, grab a couple $2.99 chorizo, egg and potato burritos, take them back to the apartment, and eat them in front of the TV while watching college football just like any self-respecting American would.
I had no idea what chorizo was back then, aside from the spicy, textureless flakes of reddish-brown running through the mass of scrambled eggs. I vaguely remember seeing cooks thwap down a hunk of mysterious meat product on the flat-top, but that was the depth of my knowledge. And it didn’t really matter what I knew anyways, only that it was objectively delicious.
After eating a chorizo verde breakfast burrito at the Flower District Farmers Market, I wish I could take back every other chorizo breakfast burrito I’d ever eaten. This burrito was retroactively-ruin-your-childhood-memories good.
Humberto Raygoza, better known as the Chori-Man, started slinging chorizo to restaurants out of a mobile cooler back in 2014, and he has since started supplying to big-name Mexican spots such as Salazar and Sonoratown. And as good as his chorizo tastes in chef Esdras Ochoa’s potato hash at Salazar, the best experience always comes directly from the source.
His breakfast burrito starts with some uncased chorizo that gets chopped and sizzled on the flat-top. You get your choice of whatever chorizos he has available, but for the most unusual — and in my opinion, delicious — option, go with the chorizo verde. Rather than getting a flavor boost from dried chilies and spices, the Chori-Man’s bright green sausage is infused with fresh cilantro and jalapeños, which gives it this bright, fresh flavor profile that tames the bursts of pork fat. I never thought I’d describe a sausage as verdant, but damn if this isn’t a verdant sausage.
Raygoza throws a scoop of frozen tater tots — aka the best kind of tater tots — onto the griddle, and rather than making a scramble, he cracks the eggs and breaks up the yolks to create a fried and scrambled hybrid. I believe kids these days are calling this technique “frambling.” Whatever. Everything gets thrown into a Chipotle-sized flour tortilla and wrapped up with a toddler’s handful of Monterey Jack cheese to create a melty, hangover-curing masterpiece.
The fun doesn’t stop inside the tortilla. The X factor here is the vat of oil-based, Veracruz-style salsa macha, roasty and packed full of four different chilies, that you’re encouraged to slather on every bite. The end result is an incredibly complex and nuanced take on an L.A. classic.
I, for one, welcome our new artisanal breakfast burrito overlords.
Check facebook.com/thechoriman for dates and locations.