Hot Off the Grill: Pastrami ($6)
Hot Off the Grill isn’t exactly in the heart of Los Angeles. In fact, it’s in Seal Beach, but that shouldn’t deter you from pulling off the 405 the next time you’re in the area. The hook here is the pastrami breakfast burrito, an idea so obvious for this cured-meat obsessed city, it’s a wonder more folks aren’t copying the model. Gooey American cheese squeezes out the sides of the tortilla, while medium-cut and lightly salted pastrami bits fight for breathing room alongside dense potato and somewhat scarce egg bites.
12800 Seal Beach Blvd. Ste. C, Seal Beach, CA 90740; 562-493-2722; Open daily at 7AM
Los Chavos Tacos: Chorizo ($5)
Chorizo is available at nearly every Los Angeles breakfast burrito spot, but no place does it better than Los Chavos. Ground up and mixed in with the egg during its time on the plancha, the resulting blend achieves a harmonious balance between meat, egg, cheese and hash browns. Opt for the onions and salsa (they’ll ask you) on the inside for a full-flavored effect.
2501 W. Victory Blvd. Ste. D, Burbank CA 91505; 818-845-5440; Open Mon- Sat at 8AM
Lucky Boy: Egg, Bacon, Cheese ($5.50)
No breakfast burrito in SoCal has gotten more ink than Lucky Boy, including a near-explicit photo layout in last year’s Los Angeles magazine. And while critics can accurately argue that most of the ginormous burrito’s heft comes from an abundance of potatoes, there is still plenty to be satisfied with. The bacon is cut into chunks and griddled well, giving off a salty crunch with each bite, while the egg and cheese are prepared spectacularly, leaving a moist and savory center that help you understand just why it’s so popular.
640 S. Arroyo Pkwy, Pasadena, CA 91105; 626-793-0120; Open daily 6AM (breakfast until 10:30AM)
Armando's Lunch Truck: Sausage, Potato ($5)
Ever since the USC Facilities Management staff pitched a fit over the impending removal of this lunch truck, it's the only one still allowed on campus. Now Armando’s feeds a few hundred staffers and Trojan students a day to boot. Rumor has it, LenDale White has a secret breakfast sandwich in his name, but why bother when the simple breakfast burrito with salsa roja is among the best you’ll find on any truck in town? Boiled chunks of potato serve as the base, but the showstopper (beyond the phenomenal salsa) is the griddle, well-seasoned sausage, with a nice char and excellent flavor.
3470 McClintock Ave., Los Angeles CA 90007 (USC main campus, behind the Facilities Management Bldg); Open Mon-Fri 7AM
Salerno's: Combo Burrito ($5)
Salerno’s is an airy Italian joint with a comfortable patio and plenty of pizza options. But a breakfast burrito? Absolutely. After a 2007 ownership change, the cook and his wonderful burrito decided to stay on. Since then, owner Madeline has been quietly besting better-known Corner Cottage for Burbank breakfast burrito supremacy. The Combo Burrito (thin-sliced ham, sausage patty, chunks of bacon) comes as a delicious rainbow of salty meat, with eggy sunshine helping to wrap up the thin strip of hashbrowns inside.
3900 W. Riverside Dr., Burbank CA 91505; 818-845-8115; Open Mon-Fri at 7AM (breakfast until 11:30AM), Sat at 8:30AM (breakfast until 1PM)
Frank's Restaurant: Mixed Burrito ($7)
Frank’s is a classic LA burger-and-burrito mashup spot with a long history on Fairfax Avenue. Before The Grove and Whole Foods, Frank’s was actually Frank’s Charbroiler, a local burger haven. While the focus is now pretty squarely on Mexican fare, the hearty simplicity remains the same. Be sure to order the Mixed Burrito (bacon, sausage, chorizo) to help beat back the otherwise abundant potatoes. Melted cheddar and fluffy eggs with a touch of salt and pepper help round out this satisfying package.
363 S. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90048; 323-655-527; Open Mon-Sat at 6AM
Tacos Villa Corona: Papas, Chorizo, Spinach, Mozzarella ($4.50)
Tucked next to a bird store (seriously), Tacos Villa Corona practically owns the Eastside breakfast burrito game from its phone booth-sized storefront. Two classic burrito models are available: papas (potatoes) or egg. Don’t be fooled though, the papas still has a single egg scrambled inside, and is the wiser choice. The upgrades are a must, including the immensely flavorful chorizo and spinach. With a touch of mozzarella, this burrito stays light, fresh and unparalleled in its neighborhood.
3185 Glendale Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90039; 323-661-3458; Open daily at 8:30AM
Lucy's Drive In: Bacon, Cheese, Egg, Potatoes ($5)
How can a bright yellow building in the middle of hardworking Mid-City not stand out? Yet, Lucy’s manages to keep a low profile, quietly serving up one of the simplest and most delicious breakfast burritos in town. Long strips of griddled bacon bring a hit of salt, while the cheese and eggs keep you more than satiated. But the real secret here? A thin, fried patty of hashbrowns that bests anything you’ll find at the golden arches. Smaller in size and price point than many of its competitors, Lucy’s delivers more than enough flavor to match.
1373 S. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles CA 90019; 323-938-4337
The Farm of Beverly Hills: Bacon, Cheddar, Tomatoes, Egg ($10)
Down on The Farm, the focus is on simple American foods with top-flight ingredients. The breakfast burrito doesn’t just get bacon; it’s applewood smoked and thick-cut. The cheddar is aged, the tomatoes are oven-roasted, and the scrambled eggs are fluffy and moist. Don’t forget to choose the thin slip of griddled hashbrowns as a side; they can be discreetly be tucked inside the burrito for an extra touch of starchy crunch.
439 N. Beverly Dr., Beverly Hills CA 90210, also The Grove & LA Live; 310-273-5578; Mon-Fri at 7:30AM; Sat-Sun at 8AM
Snug Harbor: Sunrise Burrito ($13)
Snug Harbor has been a port in a storm for the breakfast crowd on the Westside since 1944. Their Sunrise Burrito is a perfectly-balanced execution of eggs, tomato, onion, avocado, cheddar cheese and steak - cooked to order, of course. They’ll also throw any of their scrambles into a tortilla, if you’re so inclined. Protip: ask for the chef’s own secret salsa verde if you’re in need of a kick.
2323 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica CA 90403; 310-828-2991; Open daily at 6AM