A spin on a classic Pasadena breakfast burrito

By: Alexander Ehasz, Columnist

If you ever happen to be in Los Angeles wanting a meal with some time to kill, I’d recommend making a trip to Pasadena for one of the best burritos I’ve ever had. If you can, get the light rail in Santa Monica, and you’ll be treated to a beautiful cross section of LA. After crossing through an expansive patchwork of suburbs, you’ll transfer within the stunning Spanish revival Union Station, and be taken up a hilly, tree lined track to Pasadena. A short walk away, right across the street from the world’s first Trader Joe’s, is an unassuming spot called Lucky Boy.  Ask any local and, amongst the burgers, sandwiches and fries, they’ll point you to the legendary breakfast burrito. Piled with your choice of breakfast meats, eggs, potatoes, cheese, and served with a delicious sauce, they are a wonderful and filling meal to fuel the rest of the day’s exploration. This recipe, while not an exact copy of that legendary breakfast burrito, takes quite a bit of inspiration from it. 

Breakfast Burrito Recipe:

Serves 2

Takes 1½ hours

Ingredients: 

Burrito: 

  • 2 large burrito-size tortillas
  • 6 large eggs
  • ½ pound bacon
  • ¼ cup shredded medium cheddar

Roasted potatoes:

  • 2 large russet potatoes
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons neutral oil such as peanut or canola (if using relatively lean bacon)
  • 1 teaspoon salt plus more to taste

Salsa:

  • 1-ounce Guajillo peppers
  • 0.5-ounce Japones peppers (substitute another 0.5oz guajillo peppers for a milder sauce)
  • 1 lime
  • ½ yellow onion
  • 1 cup water
  • 7-ounce (half a standard can) fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil 
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Make the salsa up to a day in advance. Chop the onion into coarse pieces and remove the stems from the dried peppers. Heat a medium sized pot over high heat and place the dried peppers into the pot. Cook for 2-3 minutes, tossing regularly, until fragrant but not burnt.

Alexander Ehasz/The Towerlight

 Remove the peppers, reduce the heat to medium, add the oil and then the onions. Cook, stirring regularly, about 5 minutes until golden brown. Add the water and return the peppers to the pot, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the pot from heat, add the juice of the lime, half the vinegar, and the tomatoes. Pour this mixture into a blender and blend on high until smooth, about 1 minute. 

Alexander Ehasz/The Towerlight

As pictured here, I made a double batch. Taste for seasoning and add the rest of the vinegar if it needs it (the sauce should be bright and zesty but not sour). 

Preheat the oven to 400 F.  Lay the bacon strips into a baking pan or dish with a lip, transfer to the oven, and cook to your desired amount. Remove the pan from the oven, transfer the bacon to a wire rack or paper towels lined dish, and do not get rid of the grease. Set the pan aside and leave the oven on. 

Slice 2 large russet potatoes into half-moon shaped slices about ⅛ inches thick. Slice a yellow onion in half and then slice into strips. Fill a pot with water, bring it to a boil, and then add the potatoes. Cook for 10 minutes until they soften and then drain them. Add the potatoes and onion to the pan with the bacon grease and toss to coat. 

I used two pans, so only half of the potatoes are pictured. If there wasn’t much rendered fat, add a tablespoon or 2 of neutral oil to make sure the potatoes are thoroughly coated. Transfer to the oven and bake, turning regularly, until golden brown, for about half an hour. Remove the potatoes from the oven.

Whisk 6 eggs together until homogenous. Place a tortilla on a plate and top with a damp paper towel. In a pan, add the oil and heat over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add half the eggs and let it set before stirring, forming thick ribbons of egg. As it starts to set, top with half the cheese and half the bacon bacon. Microwave the tortilla for 30 seconds, remove, and place the potatoes and then eggs, bacon, and cheese in the center. 

Alexander Ehasz/The Towerlight

 Top with some of the salsa and roll, folding over the bottom, sides, and then rolling into a cylinder. Repeat for the process of cooking the eggs and assembling for the other burrito. Serve with the remaining potatoes on the side and enjoy.

Alexander Ehasz/The Towerlight

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