There’s a special place in my heart dedicated to breakfast burritos. I’ll smash a breakfast burrito any time of day, because there’s nothing better than an entire breakfast meal wrapped inside a warm tortilla. With that said, there are several characteristics a breakfast burrito must have, in order to make it an above average eating experience.
Even though you can basically wrap anything in a tortilla, like a glazed donut or a pancake, sometimes the simplicity of perfectly cooked hash browns, the fluffiness of scrambled eggs, the warm gooeyness of melted cheese, and choice of meat is all that is needed to tame the rumbling sensation in your stomach. I prefer bacon, but if I’m feeling crazy, I’ll go bacon and sausage, but never sausage only.
My first real experiences eating breakfast burritos came in high school. Maybe my peers and I were lucky, but the entire student body knew the most delicious breakfast burrito could be found at Classic Burger, in West Covina, Calif., literally one mile from campus.
I can’t count the occasions my friends and I would sneak off campus and dart to my 1986 Buick Regal, risking truancy violations and dodging encounters will Officer Cole, the school’s police officer, just get our hands on what could possibly be the best breakfast burrito in Southern California.
Even some teachers would send students to get Classic Burger breakfast burritos. I’m not naming names, but you know who you are.
It’s impossible to quantify what makes a breakfast burrito ‘perfect’. It all depends on individual taste and preference, but after trying a burrito from HAM ‘n SCRAM in Westminster, Calif., I knew there was nothing that could compare to my childhood favorite.
Ironically, before eating the HAM ‘n SCRAM, I was told it was one of the best burritos around. You can imagine my disappointment when the first bite was followed with the aftertaste of burnt hash browns. It was the first time I realized how fortunate I had been growing up. Even today, living less than a mile from my high school — I am still able to enjoy the same mouth-watering, slightly greasy burrito with bite-sized chunks of the crispiest bacon.
I learned early on that a Classic Burger breakfast burrito is best eaten with ranch dressing and a little bit of Tapatio. Explaining this to members of FOODBEAST family, I received mixed reactions. To my surprise, Elie, who is normally open when it comes to food, couldn’t handle my ranch and hot sauce burrito topping combo.
“Ranch and Tapitio? Yo, that’s fuckin disgusting,” Elie said.
What can I say, it’s habitual — and that’s the most interesting part. Everyone has their own preferences. In that sense, I’ve noticed that regardless of how good the burrito tastes on its own — there can be variables that change the dynamic of the experience all together. Like, my obsession with eating Classic’s breakfast burritos with ranch and Tapatio, it’s just how I learned to eat them.
Another example of variable change inside the breakfast burrito experience, is Surfin’ Donuts Coffee House in Laguna Beach. SD’s salsa is the best I’ve ever had the pleasure of adding to my breakfast burrito, Surfin’s burrito is known as The Doughrito — because it has a pancake inside. Even then, the salsa made it that much more memorable. Is it ironic, though, that the most memorable part WASN’T the pancake?
It was through this analysis, I realized the quest for a perfect breakfast burrito would be an unending, flavor-packed adventure that varies in every community.
Still, I was unsatisfied. I needed more proof. Having written for FOODBEAST for six months, I kept hearing rumors that KTCHN DTSA, located in the 4th Street Market in Downtown Santa Ana, had a killer breakfast burrito — and it’s true.
Two words: Chile. Verde.
“Oh, my God . . .” is the only phrase that can be used to describe the first mouthful of this saliva-inducing behemoth of flavors found inside KTCHN’s breakfast burrito. Perfectly fluffy eggs, pico de gallo, fried potatoes and chile verde pork make this burrito one-of-a-kind.
KTCHN may have solidified the answer for us, but the search continues.
We may never be able to pick the world’s best breakfast burrito, and that’s OK. As my love for the breakfast burrito continues to evolve, I will continue to discover what someone else’s favorite burrito spot is — while continuing to cherish the years I spent eating my hometown favorite.