Thursday, November 11, 2010

Top 10 Bean and Cheese Burritos in LA

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Al and Bea's, an LA institution.

I’ve eaten a lot of bean and cheese burritos this year and if there’s one thing I’ve learned it's that there are a lot of bad bean and cheese burritos in LA. Very few places take the bean and cheese burrito seriously enough. The reason so many bean and cheese burritos suck is because most of them fall victim to the same common mistake; not enough cheese. This mistake is easily remedied – just add enough cheese. You shouldn’t have to ask for extra cheese when ordering a bean and cheese burrito just to guard yourself against getting a cheese-less burrito. Of course some bean and cheese burritos suck for other reasons like gross beans or a terrible wrap(one bite and the filling falls into your lap).

I’m not really venturing into unchartered territory here. Most of these burritos have been discussed on Chowhound. The top 3 ,and 5 out of the top 10 were mentioned by Jonathon Gold in this article. But since the Internet loves top 10 lists I thought I would give you my top 10.

10. Garduno's (2206 West Whittier Boulevard, Montebello) There’s plenty of cheese with beans that have nice flavor. The only thing you have to watch out for is the loose wrap. Half way through the burrito started to have structural issues, likely because of the thin tortilla.

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Garduno's bean and cheese

9. Titos Tacos (11222 Washington Place Culver City) –The bean and cheese isn’t quite what I remember it being as a kid but it’s still one of my favorites. For a little extra flavor ask them to ladle some meat sauce inside the burrito.

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8. Benitos (7912 Beverly Blvd. (at Fairfax)) – They really know how to make a bean and cheese burrito here. The strengths are the soft tortilla and the cheese to beans ratio. I’ve had dozens of bean and cheese burritos from Benitos (the Fairfax location) and they are very consistent.

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7 Tonia’s(4233 Rosemead Blvd., Pico Rivera ) – Green chile and cheese- The beans are flavorful and the strips of green chile do wonders. Could have been higher if they were more consistent with the cheese to beans ratio. Sometimes there’s lots of cheese, sometimes not.

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Tonia's bean and cheese

6 Pepe’s(511 W Valley Blvd Alhambra, CA 91803) The beans are whipped into a smooth paste and the burrito is loaded with cheese;some melted, some not. The firm wrap and the flavor of the beans is what makes the burrito so satisfying.

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5. Lupe’s(Pico Rivera)(8653 Beverly Blvd Pico Rivera, CA 90660) - A tight wrap stuffed with roasted strips of green chile, pockets of half-melted cheese and some of the tastiest beans you’ll find.

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4. Ramonas (13633 S Western Ave Gardena, CA 90249)- Lots of flavor and loaded with melted cheese. Ramona's is more well known for their frozen burritos. At the restaurant in Gardena they serve them fresh and the difference is night and day.

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Ramona's bean and cheese

3. J&S (887 N Garfield Ave Montebello, CA 90640) – Sometimes it’s hard to see the cheese because it’s blended in with the beans. So what? These are probably the best beans I’ve had from a burrito stand in LA. And the kicker is this burrito is only $2.10.

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2. Lupes #2(4642 East 3rd Street Los Angeles, CA 90022) – Green chile or red chile and cheese. Both are excellent. The red chile is spicy and sort of overwhelms the burrito (but in a good way). The green chile and cheese is the signature burrito with strips of green chile that are married with yellow cheese and free flowing beans.
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1. Al and Bea’s(2025 E 1st St Los Angeles, CA 90033) - Green chile and cheese. They say the secret is the lard. Whatever it is the flavor here is unmatched by any burrito stand in LA. The first time I had this burrito I came back every day for a week. The Al and Bea’s green chile bean and cheese is a masterpiece.

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26 comments:

  1. I don't live very close to 9/10, but I DO have a Pepe's very close to me. I usually do their carne asada, beans, and salsa burrito, but I'm going straight for the bean and cheese next time.

    Cheers!

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  2. I guess if you're just counting bean and cheese burritos than I can't really make a solid argument. But the best burrito I have ever ate came Ramona's. They're red chili burritos are divine and not even Al&Beas comes close.

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  3. yeah working on a meat list- ramonas red chili mmm. I'm less crazy about the meat burritos at al and beas though the combo burrito (shredded meat, beans, chile) is pretty darn good.

    any other favorites?

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  4. You're right! The cheese volume makes all the difference. Also interesting to note, with the exception of J&S, all these places use yellow cheese.

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    Replies
    1. ARMANDO'S IN SAN GABRIEL, CA. USES WHITE CHEESE MONTEREY< OR QUESO FRESCO?? BUT ITS WHITE

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  5. Replies
    1. what about taCO LITA IN ARCADIA????

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  6. I must say I have had 1/2 of the B & C's on this menu, though some of my favorites didn't make it.

    1. Manny's El Loco
    2. Burrito King
    3. Mario's in Pico Rivera

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  7. Great post! We put it on our Best of Blogs Los Angeles here:

    http://bestofblogslosangeles.blogspot.com/2010/11/burritos-in-los-angeles.html

    Feel free to comment, it should be picked up by dozens more of our blog affiliates.

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  8. For any fanatics in North San Diego County - this place has one of the top 2 I've ever had:
    http://www.yelp.com/biz/de-kotija-taco-shop-oceanside

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  9. Dos Burritos has an excellent bean and cheese burrito -- my favorite that I've ever had, actually. As an experienced bean and cheese user, this is a great post and I can't wait to try these!

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  10. Dos Burritos has an excellent bean and cheese burrito -- my favorite that I've ever had, actually. As an experienced bean and cheese user, this is a great post and I can't wait to try these!

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  11. You're right! The cheese volume makes all the difference. Also interesting to note, with the exception of J&S, all these places use yellow cheese.

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  12. Try Mario's Tacos in Pico! http://www.yelp.com/biz/marios-tacos-pico-rivera

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  13. go to Burrito Factory in San Pedro
    Burrito Factory makes good burritos mmm Pedro Special <3

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  14. TRY LITTLE JOES IN ARCADIA VERY GOOD, family little taco shop but kick ass green chile burritos< special every thiursday

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  15. I had a Romona's bean & cheese today and wasn't at all impressed, especially with the price and size and the consistency of the beans. It was quite runny and there was a luke warm section of beans and the cheese wasn't melted. I don't really like that assembly line thing they hae going. I saw burritos in different stages of prep and left open too long. I don't know maybe that's why mine had the warm spot and unmelted cheese. Or maybe the beans weren't fully heated in the steam tray. Pass.

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  16. Growing up in the 1970's the best burritos in ELA was B-Bag Taco Stand on Whittier Bl just west of Garfield Ave. They had the best green chile burritos abd special quesadilla with pastrami. Sadly the owner sold the place a couple of decades ago.

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  17. I tried most of the joints listed and must say they are all quite good. The one that might be a little over rated is Gardunos. The beans that they use is weak the taste is a bit on the canned side.

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  18. The B&C is $1.75 at Garduno's right now until 8/30.

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  19. I use to go to a place called the Taco House in West Covina in the early 80's and there was always a line!! They had the most unusual best tasting bean & Cheese burritos, I believed they used white cheese and their tortillas were homemade and then wrapped in Foil. I was sad when the place closed down and the opened a strip mall. I have been trying to search for this place for years!!! I think one of the family members opened up a different location in Hacienda but the ingreidents were not the same :(.... Does anyone remember that place???

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  20. I miss Pedros on Valley Blvd in Alhambra or San Gabriel decades ago but so good they cannot be forgotten. They made bean and cheese burritos to perfection. Their combination burritos with chili's were amazing also. Miss you Pedro's!

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  21. Taco Lita in Monrovia has the best tasting bean and cheese burritos. Also the tacos are great too!

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  22. The problem with this list is that only 2 of these places are actually in The City of Los Angeles. 3 if you count Culver City, which technically is it's own city. While they do lie within the boundaries of LA County, I'd wager you'd be hard pressed to find an Angeleno willing to drive to Montebello or Alhambra to grab a bean and cheese burrito. Are you really telling me there are no decent b & c burritos in Hollywood? Not to mention the valley. I think this list is totally bogus.

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