El Toro Bravo's Burritos: Timeless Thing of Beauty

They've been cranking out great tortillas, tacos and burritos for so many decades that it's easy to take El Toro Bravo's skill for granted: the best-flavored rotisserie chicken, carne asada griddled with caramelized onion, and the moistest carnitas in the Mexican-restaurant neighborhood of West Costa Mesa.

El Toro Bravo could easily rest on its reputation and stop caring, like so many long-running restaurants, but they still kill it every day on their specialty items. Whole chickens are dry-brined for many hours with an annatto-rich adobo seasoning that works its tangy flavor and salt deep into the breast meat. If you've ever eaten bland rotisserie chicken (I'm looking at you, Costco!) that lacked any salt or flavor beneath the skin, know that's not going to happen to you at El Toro Bravo, ever.

If you order a taco, you'll get a double-stack of their corn tortillas overfilled with a giant wad of chopped-to-order meat. While two tacos make a very filling and delicious meal, the thing to get here are the burritos: giant things the size of a pro-wrestler's forearm filled with meat, refried beans, and “Spanish” rice. The rice and beans are just rich enough and perfectly seasoned on their own, but absorb their home-made salsas in a way that the tacos just can't manage.

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