Imagine my surprise when Troy's Drive-In became a foodie must-visit a couple of years ago. Troy's? That rinky-dink place off Lincoln in Orange that we used to eat at when I was a kid when my Mexican-immigrant family wanted to feel American? Makers of so-so burgers, bad fries, laughable onion rings and possessing about as much character as a block of cement? Did some hipster buy it up?
I hadn't visited in about two decades, but I scouted the place last year to see if the fuss warranted a review. And I came away unimpressed. The only new additions from my childhood were breakfast burritos—and why order Mexican food here when I could get it at much better places? I told a friend about the experience, ridiculed OC's foodie culture, which sometimes has the unfortunate tendency to elevate things not worth elevating (see: blueberry doughnuts, frozen yogurt, Javier's).
“Did you try the breakfast burrito?” my friend asked.
“¡Pendejo! That's the only thing people order!”
Right then, he drove me there, even though it was already noon, even though we were supposed to get Korean barbecue. We stood in line. Almost everyone ordered the breakfast burrito; almost everyone quickly unwrapped the thing, taking a massive bite before splashing some green salsa on it. Still, I wasn't impressed. There were only three versions available: bacon, ham and sausage—hardly innovative and nowhere near the encyclopedia of breakfast burritos that Athenian Burgers #3 in Buena Park offers. I openly complained about this; since my inside voice is the outside voice for 95 percent of humanity, the cashier heard my critique—as did the cooks. And the customers. Nasty looks all around.
“¡Pendejo!” my friend snapped again.
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 still hasn't improved the rest of its menu—doesn't matter. In fact, I hope it never does because people should experience Troy's the way I did—after all, it's the converts who become the most fervent believers, the fiercest acolytes. Just look at this former sinner, folks!
This column appeared in print as “Breakfast Burrito—Nothing Else.”