There are several ways you can elevate a typical American breakfast of bacon, eggs, and potatoes, and one is by wrapping said items with a flour tortilla. No other morning meal is as cheap, fast, and filling as breakfast burritos (sorry, breakfast tacos). If you’re planning to come into work with a food baby (and supplementary coma), you’ll need more than a McDonald’s McMuffin and hash brown. As gluttony correspondent, I instead prescribe you this glorious combination of greasy eggs, meats, cheddar cheese, and tortilla (arguably, one of the best manifestations of wheat flour). Here’s where to find the best of them in Orange County, so get crackin’!
The Original Taco Factory (Tustin)
The Original Taco Factory may be tiny, but that doesn’t stop patrons from trying to fit more and more people into it (‘cause hey, tacos and burritos are worth it!) They make chorizo and egg burritos along with vegetarian-friendly loco burritos (eggs, cheese, beans, guacamole, fries, and salsa). 14455 Newport Ave., Tustin, (714) 731-1111; originaltacofactory.com
Taqueria El Zamorano (Santa Ana)
Known for its handmade tortillas and lean meats, you can certainly expect great breakfast burritos from Taqueria El Zamorano. The most noteworthy thing about these burritos, then, is how warm and flavorful the tortillas are and fine the meats are. They come in two varieties at $6 each: (1) chorizo with egg and beans and (2) ham with egg and beans. 925 W Warner Ave., Santa Ana, (714) 884-4073; facebook.com/taqueriaelzamorano
El Camino Cafe (Old Town Tustin)
Though the quaint cafe is known for its huevos rancheros and chilaquiles, El Camino Cafe’s breakfast burritos (egg, cheese, meat) are just as notable—mostly because of their flaky tortillas. You’ll also want to try the off-menu chilaquiles burrito, which is a good way to stick to an El Camino Cafe classic while trying something new. For a nice touch, add a horchata espresso. 195 El Camino Real, Tustin, (714) 573-5898; elcaminocafe.com
Rooster Cafe (Costa Mesa)
For classic breakfast burritos made with fresh ingredients, try Rooster Cafe. Though the shop is small, it’s always bustling with people going in and out for quick coffee and breakfast dishes. We’ve written about it before:
Rooster Café in Costa Mesa draws crowds mostly for the breakfast burritos. These massive bricks are too heavy on the eggs, too light on the sharp Cheddar and crunchy, greasy hash browns (the kinds of toasted tater ribbons you can build diner empires on), but they’re still damn good. All the ingredients in the burrito, from the sausage to the tortilla, are from farmers markets.
Rooster Café 750 St. Clair St., Costa Mesa, (714) 754-1944; www.eatatrooster.com
Troy’s Drive-In (Orange)
Pro-tip: don’t go to Troy’s Drive-In for the burgers. Go for the breakfast burritos! We learned that from Gustavo, who previously wrote:
We ordered—he the chorizo, me the bacon. Yes: I was a pendejo—for doubting, for wasting all those trips to Troy’s on burgers, for not believing you gentle tipsters. Troy’s doesn’t make the best breakfast burrito—that’s still Athenian Burgers #3—or the second best (that’s Qwik Korner in Santa Ana), but it finishes in third place the way Charles Barkley was the third-best player on the Dream Team. The burritos are big, brash, hefty, with each part—the crispy potatoes, the greasy meat, the silky eggs, the burnt-just-right flour tortilla—lingering in your mind for the rest of the morning. You really should eat half and save the rest for lunch, but that never happens.
Troy’s Drive-In, 404 E. Lincoln Ave., Orange, (714) 637-8631.
Cafe Calacas (Santa Ana)
Who likes breakfast burritos with slightly charred tortilla? We do. More details—again—from Gustavo:
It’s a simple thing, really: egg, cheese, and a floppy slice of ham, all crammed into a flour tortilla. Where Calacas gets it, though, is in cooking the flour tortilla to that perfect point where char marks begin emerging. Burrito-loving gabachos don’t get that a perfect burrito has the slightest crunch, that the tortilla should be pliable but also offer resistance. Calacas gets it—now, keep that burrito!!!
324 W. Fourth St., Santa Ana, (714) 662-2002; cafecalacas.com
Ham n’ Scram (Westminster)
Established by father-son duo Forrest and Jeremy Frederick, Ham n’ Scram is a mecca for those who believe in the sacredness of breakfast. After all, they serve breakfast all day, making their Original Breakfast Burrito (ham, bacon, cheese, hash browns, and bell peppers) conveniently accessible to folks who crave eggs and hash browns at 10 p.m. 5871 Westminster Blvd., Westminster, (714) 899-9100
Achiote Grill (Huntington Beach)
Of course, there’s no better place to get great breakfast burritos than at a hole-in-the-wall shop—but a shop run by two Englishmen? Well, life doesn’t always give you what you expect, don’t it? You wouldn’t suspect this, anyway, from the heartiness of the burritos, which are built with scrambled eggs, beef chorizo sauce, beans, potatoes, and spicy cheese. The shop is even serving a citrus-braised carnitas breakfast burrito right now. 166191 Gothard Street, Ste K, Huntington Beach, (714) 842-8919; achiotegrill.com
Nate’s Korner (Santa Ana)
If you’re not afraid of what a newborn-sized burrito can do to you for the rest of the day, venture into Nate’s Korner. If you ask for a burrito with meat (and chances are you probably will because they do it well), you’re essentially getting a week’s worth of protein within the 15 minutes it took you to eat it. Among the burrito’s meat varieties are chorizo, steak, and bacon which are often served with the crispiest hash browns of all time. 3960 S. Main St., Ste. D, Santa Ana, (714) 545-5772
Athenian III Burgers (Buena Park)
You might’ve heard about the breakfast burrito before. Remember that burrito bracket ESPN did in 2014, that Gustavo participated in and called the winner? Well, Athenian III Burgers was a contender (and strong one at that). Here’s what we’ve reported on it before:
In ESPN’s Burrito Bracket, which seeks to identify the best burrito in the United States via a combination of data-mining and experts that includes our resident Mexican, Athenian Burgers #3 was placed in the Group of Death, alongside Hall of Famers Al and Bea’s, La Azteca Tortilleria, and Manny’s El Tepeyac. But rather than fold in the face of Mariana Trench-style pressure, critic Anna Maria Barry Jester gave it 94 of a possible 100 points, losing out on the crown by just two points. “My only complaint,” Barry Jester wrote, “was that I couldn’t put the burrito down.”
8511 La Palma Ave., Buena Park, (714) 523-9999