Breakfast burritos suck. There, I said it. I’ve thought it for years, but now I can finally live my truth. Breakfast burritos: They’re no good. Other writers, doubtless handsome and with better abs, have used this space to sing the praises of the foul garbage sack called the breakfast burrito. But not me. I wish there was some story, some thing from my childhood that I could point to that made me say, “No. My gym teacher that yelled at me and made fun of my hairless pits used to house like a million breakfast burritos and now I hate them.” That would be a good essay. But this is raw, from the gut, and breakfast burritos are just bad.
A great breakfast is like a symphony. You have bacon, eggs, toast, potatoes, all working together in a perfect, modular harmony. Like a Mozart concerto, you never hear it exactly the same way twice. Maybe a little more egg in this bite, throw it on toast (always sourdough, wheat in a pinch), or like toss some hot sauce on there. But the point is that you can conduct your own experience. Breakfast should be meditative. It’s when you’re preparing for the day ahead, when you’re girding yourself against the inevitable assaults on your consciousness from the real world. Unlike lunch or dinner, a breakfast has minimal social elements. This is non-brunch, of course. Brunch is essentially lawless.
Burritos are like pop songs. Unlike the symphony, a pop song is a black box. No matter how many collaborators there are, you’re presented with a single, fully realized idea. Like a great pop song, great burritos can have wonderful surprises (guacamole pockets, etc.) but they’re a unit unto themselves. This is why people like Britney Spears lip sync: You’re paying for reproduction, not variation. That’s fine. I love burritos and I love pop songs.
A breakfast burrito is like if an orchestra faked playing while a taped track played: Pointless bullshit. Breakfast burritos take all the amazing things about breakfast and combine them in a slurry that doesn’t let anything stand out. Want a bite of just eggs? Fuck you, the burrito decides. Want a piece of bacon? Fuck you, the burrito decides. Frankly, I don’t trust a burrito to make my decisions in any context, least of all breakfast.
I decided to test my theory by going to Cactus Tacos, a Los Angeles icon that serves amazing burritos and tacos. I won’t lie: I was crazy nervous. What if I liked the burrito? What if I had just been served bad breakfast burritos all along? Admittedly, it was a risk. I went with Mexican eggs and added bacon. Also, horchata so I could choke down this vile creation. My companion and I were both viciously hungover from drinking too many dirty martinis (her) and Manhattans (me). I figured this was the optimal breakfast burrito environment: Hungover and desperately seeking sustenance.
I was relieved to find that I still hate breakfast burritos. They’re just fundamentally unsatisfying. The only good bites were the ones with bacon. My companion said, “You could say that about life.” I told her to stop acting like she was a Reddit meme from 2012 and start engaging with reality authentically.
Breakfast burritos are fundamentally a workingman’s food. You get them out the truck, eat them on the way to the construction site, and get on with your day. They’re utilitarian, unfussy. I’m fussy and pretty useless in situations that don’t require someone to say vaguely clever things that are secretly just repackaged pop culture references from media so obscure that only about twenty people on earth remember it. While I can understand the urge to order a breakfast burrito from a food truck, ordering one at a sitdown restaurant is like going into the kitchen and spitting in your own food. Ultimately harmless, but why do it?
So, for me, fuck breakfast burritos. But they might be ok for you.