The Burrito Club

THE BEST TASTING PYRAMID SCHEME IN TOWN


“Mister, We’re Not Safe”

Burrito days are some of my most favorite days in the office. Yes, the breakfast burritos are a great way to start the day, but even better than the food is talking story.

Our newest member of the Burrito Club is Gino Paul, who regaled us with one of the best stories I’ve ever heard. Honestly, I can’t remember all the details of the story but I know that a chair was thrown across the room, everyone had to line up against a wall, and one of the teachers shouted, “William, don’t hurt me!” If you were there for Gino’s day, you  remember the story.

Gino Paul tells the amazing story of visiting an elementary school while he worked for the AC Clippers. I took a panorama photo so for some creepy reason Gino’s hand is missing.

The life lesson I learned that day is pretty straight forward. No matter where you are in the world, always remember the wise words of a sage elementary school kid, “Mister, we’re not safe.”


The Life of a Gangster

At first, Miles would watch from a distance.

He would think of an excuse to go to the kitchen to be near them. He would hear the gang members tell stories and howl with laughter while eating their delicious burritos. He would see his friend Brooks with the group and try to think of ways to get in. He would think to himself, “Maybe they’ll have an extra burrito.  Maybe someone will split one with me.” Later, Brooks would return to his desk – rubbing his belly – glowing with the love and camaraderie of the Burrito Club.

For Miles, joining the gang was his destiny.

The gang also knew Miles wanted in, but the approval vote wasn’t unanimous. Some members thought Miles was soft. They thought it wouldn’t come through. With Brooks gone to the big house (RIP Brooks), how would this lone Westsider survive gang life?

Ultimately Miles proved himself worthy.  We jumped him into the gang. He’s officially one of us now and there’s no turning back. We’ll excuse the cheese-less, egg-less, burrito he got for Ramone because he later made up for it with free Chick-fila.

Welcome to the Burrito Club Miles.


BRKFST Burrito – Scott Ward

Today’s burrito comes from a place called

Bolt EaHo

. I’m not up on my hipster abbreviations and didn’t know EaHo was a thing, but it’s East Hollywood if you haven’t figured it out yet.  Bolt EaHo is the type of place that spells words without vowels. Imagine a guy with a bushy beard named Zane working behind the counter saying something like, “Oh no, we don’t spell breakfast burrito with any vowels so it will taste better.” The girl making a espresso next to Zane chirps out, “FACT!”

Bolt EaHo of East Hollywood

Attendance at the Burrito Club meeting was light today. Scott Ward got bad advice and moved the burritos to Friday so we ended up with 4 or 5 extras. Miles Cahill somehow weaseled another free burrito. We’re on to you Miles and your sketchy declarations of intent to join the Club. I could be wrong, but Miles might be THAT guy. He’s the guy that rolls with Blake Griffin to the club and waits for BG to pick the girl he wants to take home and then Miles is there to lend an sympathetic shoulder to the disappointed girl that BG passed over. We made a few new rules today and the first one is (1)

No more free burritos for Miles until he officially joins.

Now on to the burrito: the brkfst burrito was nice and compact. The homemade hatch chili salsa was

inside

the burrito so it eats clean. These are probably some of the eggiest burritos we’ve had to date – fluffy. The potatoes were big and chunky. I would say overall a very solid entry from Scott Ward.

Welcome to the Burrito Club Scott Ward.


HOUSEKEEPING

:  Here are a couple more rules that were made today. Rule #2: Chuck has been voted off the steering committee. Rule #3: Eric Gonzalez has been nominated to be the enforcer of the group… the muscle. If we were a hockey team, Eric would be Tom Wilson of the Washington Capitals.

Don’t let the sweet smile fool you. EG will whoop your ass if you get out of line.


Athenian III – Jeff Lee

Hey Jeff, that’s a good looking burrito.

Please welcome Jeff Lee to the Burrito Club.  Jeff has to be the most conscientious members of the Club.  When first approached to join, Jeff was concerned the burritos would get soggy en route to our office since they are coming from Orange County.  He went so far as to do a test run and brought a couple burritos to the office that he and I tried before his full initiation.  How considerate!

Jeff’s burrito comes from

Athenian III

.  Strangely, I did a Google search for Athenian II and it doesn’t exist.  It would be like coming out with the movie Creed III when Creed the original or Creed II never existed.  The other slightly suspicious thing about Athenian III is they claim to have “the best breakfast burrito in the O.C.”. Did this O.C. burrito live up to the hype with their fancy orange tortilla?

The “Ronaldo” of breakfast burritos.

I say YES.  It was delicious.  “It’s like biting into a pillow of eggs”, according to Paco.  It’s certainly the most attractive burrito we’ve had.  If burritos were European football stars, the Athenian would be Cristiano Ronaldo – so good looking, it can’t possibly be good, but it’s truly one of the best.

We’re officially at 11 members in the Club.  Do we keep it going?


New Meat – Old Burrito

Everyone welcome Justin Dunn to the Burrito Club.  JD’s initiation burrito was a familiar friend – Lucky Boy.  Back in January I read that

Lucky Boy suffered a fire in the kitchen

and I feared the restaurant had burned down.  Thankfully, the restaurant re-opened after a week of clean up and the burritos are flowing once again.

Hello Justin Dunn!

Since we’re pretty familiar with Lucky Boy, let’s take this time to get to know Justin Dunn.  Let’s play a little lightning round:

What is your favorite TV show?  The Office

Who is your favorite baseball player of all time?  Ken Griffey Jr.

What is the last concert you went to? Justin Timberlake

What is your dream vacation destination? Hilton Head Island

#1 sports bucket list ticket? Cincinnati Bengals Super Bowl victory

It’s a great day for a breakfast burrito.


Surprise Burritos – Nick’s Deli

Jet lag is real folks.  This morning I was wide awake at 4:00AM dreaming about the delicious Spanish tapas I was eating in Arcos de la Frontera only 3 days ago.  So with some extra time on my hands, I decided to surprise the Burrito Club with some last-minute burritos this morning.

We had to sequester Joseph to an auxiliary table because he’s sick with husky voice. Look how happy Ramon looks – No Cheese!

Today’s spot is

Nick’s Deli

in Los Alamitos.  Nick’s is my original submission to the Burrito Club before the club had a name, logo or members. Back then I put up Nick’s against EG’s Lucky Boy and Moe’s place called George’s in Culver City.  We didn’t have a blog back then so there’s no record of those early burrito battles, but trust me folks, they were legendary.  It was kinda like the rap battle between

Kool Moe Dee vs. Busy Bee

back in 1981.

The guys at Nick’s Deli are pros. They made our 9 burritos in less than 8 minutes.  As I walked into the deli, there was a giant order of about 50 burritos on the counter. This place crushes. The guys who work there are super friendly – greeting hungry burrito eaters by name and even hugging one lady who was walking in as I left.

Marwin Gonzalez can do it all. He plays every position on the field. He’s not the BEST, but he can do it all if needed.

Now on to the burritos.  Paco claims the “Breakfast burrito” with machaca, bacon, potatoes and cheese is the “best overall burrito” that we’ve ever had.  I had to ask some clarifying questions because I wasn’t sure what he meant. Nick’s doesn’t have the best tortilla or the best potatoes, but overall all the components get a high average grade.  If Nick’s burrito was a baseball player, it would be Marwin Gonzalez. If you’re a Dodgers fan =

Kike Hernandez

.

My advice to you if you are ever in the Long Beach/Los Alamitos area is to stop by Nick’s for a tasty breakfast burrito. Who knows…. maybe you’ll even get a hug from one of the guys who works there.

No matter how far you go, the Burrito Club is always part of you. Miss you ESilva.


La Aztecs Tortillarila

You know a place is good when the line goes out the door. I read about La Azteca Tortillarila in an article about the best burritos in Los Angeles so I knew I had to check it out.

Line out at the door at La Azteca Tortillarila.

As I walked up to the shop located on Cesar Chavez boulevard in East LA, I sneezed and a homie walking ahead of me said, “God bless you.”  It was a good omen.  I was third in line to order, but by the time I finished ordering our 9 burritos, the line was out the door. God bless you indeed.

La Azteca is mostly a take out place, but they have a few tables and bar stools to sit down and wait while they prepare your delicious feast.  La Azteca makes their own tortillas.  I’ve seen places make corn tortillas for tacos, but this is the first time I’ve seen a restaurant scratch make flour tortillas. These aren’t your organic whole wheat variety either.  These giant disks of goodness are made with good old fashioned LARD.

The reviews for Azteca are good. Silva (who ordered the chorizo) chimed in and said La Azteca is one of the best so far.  I think he says that every time. I like the vibe at La Azteca and I’ll probably go back and order their famous chile relleno burrito for lunch some day.

If we ever decide to change the Burrito Club logo, might I suggest this image from La Azteca. I like the moustache guy from El Charro, but this Aztec warrior is a bad ass. Viva la raza!


Epilogue

: So I guess when you go deep into el barrio, words take on different meaning. “Sausage” apparently means hot dogs. Paco and Eric both agreed that, yeah, hot dogs are Mexico’s sausage. This was disappointing for Chuck Loth. Hey at least they didn’t put beans on your burrito.  Live and learn.


Epilogue #2:

I don’t know who was more disappointed: Chuck, when he found out that there was hot dogs in his burrito or me when I walked up the stairs at the Willow train station and realized that I drove today and my car was back at work. Yup, I took the train home on a glorious Friday evening, fists of freedom punching the air, and didn’t realize that my car was still back at work until I rode the train all the way to my home stop. God bless you, once more.


Paco – Tacos Villa Corona

One of my favorite things about the Burrito Club is the camaraderie. Yes, I like having one of my homies delivering a tasty breakfast burrito to me for

free

, but it’s even better to share time with the group and talk shop.

Thanks Paco!

Today’s burrito was courtesy of Paco Pineda from Tacos via Corona. It was a high participation day. We almost had everyone in the club in attendance that morning.

I am writing this blog post 5 months after the fact so I don’t remember anything in particular about the burritos, but after looking at the photos I am wondering why EG has cinnamon buns. So what you’re telling me is EG ate what appears to be a quesadilla (because he wasn’t eating meat for Lent) and somehow nabbed some cinnamon buns for dessert? Damn, the Burrito Club is fantastic.

Further proof that it is a good thing to be part of the Burrito Club – other random free food sometimes just shows up.

Another one of my favorite things about the Burrito Club is I no longer have to recruit people. I just saw Brooks and Alex double down on new guy Miles. What is the benefit of having a true pyramid scheme if you don’t have people working to promote the Club? As one of the original founders of the Burrito Club, all I have to do is document who brings what on this blog and snap some photos and the burritos just roll in.

I recently found out that we are losing one of the members of the Club (more details soon) so we have room for anyone else who wants to join. I think we would all agree it’s the best amigos a burrito can buy.

The crew.


X: Alex Sampietro – El Huero

The Burrito Club has grown beyond my wildest dreams. We’re at 10 members now with the addition of Alex Sampietro. Alex brought burritos from El Huero – a DTLA favorite. You may remember these as

Ramon’s initiation burrito

.

Que rico!

Newest Burrito Club member Alex Sampietro enjoying a burrito from El Huero.

Because the Burrito Club is about so much more than breakfast burritos, I have a great story to tell. Halfway through his burrito, Eric Silva wrapped up his burrito up and declared he was going to save it for later. What?!?! I couldn’t believe my eyes. I’ve seen Silva crush much bigger burritos with ease. Was he okay? Was he ill?

After some razzing for being weak, it was later revealed that there were onions in his burrito and my homeboy Silva is not down with

cebollas

. My bad! I knew that! On the El Huero website, they list pico de gallo as an ingredient and I missed it and didn’t put 2 and 2 together.

The big trade going down! This is brotherly burrito love!

Silva was quietly taking the Burrito bullying because he didn’t want Alex to feel bad. What a tremendous act of kindness, but it gets even better. After almost everyone had gone back to their desks, Eric Gonzalez rolls into the break room and starts crushing his chorizo burrito. When EG realizes Silva’s onion predicament, he offers to trade his half for Silva’s half. It was a beautiful moment. A friend jumping on the onion grenade for another friend. I love the Burrito Club!

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