Thursday, July 7, 2011

From The Breakfast Burrito Files

I'm sure that many people out there lay claim to the invention of the Breakfast Burrito. In fact, the most reliable source for information used for doctoral thesis's and high school reports the world over (Wikipedia) states that a woman in New Mexico claims to have invented it in 1975. I personally question this because I ate a Breakfast Burrito at a restaurant in Seal Beach who's owner also claims to have invented the Breakfast Burrito back in the 70's, with old newspaper cutouts to prove it.
The truth be told,  I actually invented it back in 2004 here in Venice Beach. Wikipedia is definitely incorrect and the guy in Seal Beach doesn't know what he's talking about. Looking back on it all I can't believe that I didn't get any press.
When you set out to create something for yourself or others to eat, there are some crucial factors that come into play that must never be overlooked. When we're talking Breakfast Burrito, I'm going to have to take the reigns on this one and interject copious amounts of personal opinion when it comes to the factors.
As for Burrito factors, one important factor is the texture. Sloppy food is just that, sloppy. There is nothing worse than a heaping portion of bland eggs and beans haphazardly rolled up in a tortilla. There's just no texture variety or creativity there, even if you add chili. A good example of such a Burrito can be found at Whole Foods right here in good ol' Venice, they have a Breakfast Burrito that  is basically mushy garbage wrapped in a tortilla, and I'm sorry if you have to eat them.
The texture must define what is in the Breakfast Burrito, you have to be able to discern what it is that you are eating. There has to be a certain amount of "crunch" given to the Burrito by a crispy Hash Brown and some elasticity from Cheese. Maybe a cool splash of tangy Tomato from a Tomato that has been diced with care. Or some Buttery Avocado. The tortilla's texture has to be warm and snuggle soft, like a baby's blanket fresh from the dryer. You get the picture.
Another important is the roll/fold factor. Proper roll and fold can't be obtained unless the proper volume of ingredients are placed within the Burrito shell. The three things that bother me the most in this world are Nuclear Weapons, Carnivals, and Breakfast Burritos that are poorly rolled and fall apart at the seams. If your Breakfast Burrito isn't wrapped up properly I'm afraid it means that the person making it didn't put their heart into it.
The last but not final factor I will bestow upon you is the size factor. I understand that in these times of economic uncertainty, consumers are looking for value, but this can quite easily lead to over consumption. While a Burrito that shares a similar appearance in size and shape to an airline pillow may be appealing to some, it's just waaaaay too much and there is no need for portions that size. The Breakfast Burrito by nature isn't known for its health qualities. There's quite a bit going on in there and each kitchen or person has their own cooking technique to get the job done. In other words, one place might not use any cooking fat to cook the Burrito, while another place tallies up 20 - 30 grams of it or more.
Taking all of this into consideration Stroh's created a Breakfast Burrito that could cure a hangover and Gordon Ramsay himself would describe as "neat and tidy".
Our first version that we offered on the menu, only had Bacon as an option for meat. Followed shortly by regular Chiorizo and then Soy Chiorizo for those who don't eat meat, or simply detest Pork. From there many of our regular customers created their own personal favorites. Some only wanted Egg Whites and Avocado. While others who weren't afraid to ask, like Andrew Lin, would push the culinary envelope with outlandish lowbrow culinary requests like his personal favorite the " Buffalo Fried Chicken Breast Breakfast Burrito". For myself I love a Breakfast Burrito with extra extra Bacon and swimming in J.D. Cowles' All Spice Hot Sauce. J.D. walked into Stroh's one day and showed me some of his Hot Sauce that he had painstakingly created and bottled. He also turned out to be from Spencerport N.Y. a village not far from where I grew up. The Hot Sauce Pedigree up there is outstanding I assure you. J.D. convinced me to place his Hot Sauce on the shelves for retail and in exchange he would provide me with sample bottles for my customers to use. His sauce was such a hit that at times we went through at least eight gallons a month of Hot Sauce just for our Breakfast. He now sells it around town and I have seen it at Surfas in Culver City and Whole Foods here in Venice.
Often my main hombre in the kitchen, Manny, would only require eye contact and a simple nod to get your order going and five to ten minutes later you had a party in your hands. Although never simple, accommodating a customers wants and needs no matter how time consuming is always rewarding. Memories like this wash away any bad tastes from my whole experience and make me want to re-open when the timing is right. I'm so glad I invented the Breakfast Burrito.
For those of you who wish to make a Breakfast Burrito in your own homes that have never tried or are having a hard time duplicating what we did I will pass on a few tips. The first is that you only need no more than two Eggs in a Breakfast Burrito. A standard 10" Tortilla can't really hold more than that when you add the other ingredients.
Start out by cooking all of your ingredients separately. Saving the Eggs for last . If you are using regular or Soy Chiorizo be sure to break it up real good by moving it around the pan a lot and hacking away at it with a wooden spoon. If you don't break it up it will stay clumpy and burn adding flavors that you don't want.
When it's all ready to wrap up into a Burrito, put the mixed ingredients in, give it one fold over and pull the top flap back two thirds of the way. Then fold the left and right ears over towards the middle and finish rolling keeping your roll even and tight.
Keep your eyes open and let me know of any great Breakfast Burrito spots so I can pass them on to others or write them down in the comment section below. If no one has any I guess I could start selling them out of my back alley at a fair price !
Till next time !


  1. yummmmm... that soy chorizo and yes the hot sauce that i discovered at your spot! your blog makes me so very nostalgic for the good ol days when abbot kinney was chill and local and stroh's!

  2. I often bypassed the line and hovered in the doorway of the kitchen to catch Manny's eye and, it's true, he would get my order going without a word spoken (Avocado AND Bacon, with the hash brown!). There isn't a day that goes by that I don't miss the Stroh's boys and their kitchen that kept me full and healthy! I'd stop by your alley any day.

  3. Great article about the breakfast burrito Jason! I still run into people on a regular basis who miss your famous burrito smothered in either the Cayenne Habanero or Chipotle Garlic sauce.

    Haven't seen you for quite some time now, I hope all is well! If you're out and about this weekend come by the Eat Real LA Fest this weekend at the Helms building in Culver City.