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Stan | Feb 11, 200210:58 PM     96

I feel like we have a burrito problem in Los Angeles. Or maybe I'm looking in the wrong place. Maybe chowhounders can help clarify my thinking.

Here's an example. I had some chores to do in Hollywood over the weekend, so I went to two prominent burrito destinations (e.g., both recommended by LA Weekly), Burrito King (2109 W Sunset near Alvarado, 213 484 9859) and El Gran Burrito (4716 Santa Monica Blvd by the Vermont subway station, 323 665 8720).

In each case, for scientific purposes, I ordered the same thing: a chicken burrito with no cilantro and a tamarindo. In each case I was underwhelmed. The problem, in a word, was grease -- rivers of grease, oceans, pouring out the bottom end of the burrito shortly after I held it vertical to start eating it, but not before soaking the tortilla so badly that it soon lost all integrity and collapsed into a vile mess.

It's not an easy problem, I know. You've got a choice: you can go to Baja Fresh and get a completely grease-free burrito that (as someone pointed out here) tastes like cardboard, or you can go to a place that does something to the chicken. What they do, unfortunately, is let the chicken sit for long periods in something that, okay, is not entirely grease, and that may have some lime juice or something. The problem is that the wet stuff gets all over everything. Adding hot sauce doesn't help. And it's not like the results were such taste sensations either. I did like the beans at Burrito King, though I can't imagine my arteries did. On the whole, though, a wash.

It can be done. Good burritos are a dime a dozen in San Francisco. Or you can go to Orange County and get good burritos. A couple of the burritos at the Grand Central Market have been mentioned here, and they're okay, though wildly uneven. But on the whole, I'm come up with the same greasy problem everyplace in LA that I've tried.

Am I missing something? Am I going to the wrong place? Am I imposing anglo expectations on someone else's chow? Set me straight.

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