Our 100 Favorite Dishes for 2013: No. 100, Bean-and-Cheese Burrito from Del Taco

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Hey, kids: guess what time is it? It's time to restart that Long March known as 100 Favorite Dishes (INSERT YEAR). YEAH!!!

Hey, don't ding us for listicles: Weekly DataLab studies show ustedes love this gimmick, launched in honor of our coming Best Of issue. Besides, it is rather fun to do this for us Forkers--an opportunity to highlight dishes from restaurants we'll never full review, or secrets from old standbys. Anyhoo, let the march begin...

Yes, Del Taco is a chain. Yes, it's fast-food Mexican. , it's an insult to include this in a listicle devoted to the best and brightest OC has to offer.

But as I wrote last year, Del Taco's bean-and-cheese burrito is not some Taco Bell monstrosity; it's edible history.


Per my quotage:

"Let's admit it, folks: Its simple burrito--not something mucked up with guac or beef or sour cream, just beans, melted yellow cheese, and red or green sauce--is as brilliantly Mexi as Zapata. It reminds me of the burritos I grew up with: just a flour tortilla, beans redolent of the refried tang, the creaminess of the cheese . . . and that's it. The sauce? Nothing more than a slight pique of the senses. Meat? Nah. Tortilla? Just the vessel for something filling, something comforting."

And I'll add a little bit more. Del Taco has left this burrito unchanged since its opening in 1964--and this burrito is descended from the burritos of Glen Bell of Taco Bell infamy. He, of course, stole the menu for his first Mexican restaurant from Mitla Cafe in San Bernardino. And the people who opened that restaurant were Mexican immigrants, meaning Del Taco's burrito is one of the last descendants of the original burrito to hit Southern California--not Chipotle footballs, but austere, beautiful things (during the 1960s, many restaurants called them "Poor Boys," because they were the cheapest full meal on the menu).

And to the present day, Del Taco takes pride in this burrito: beans refried daily, freshly shredded cheddar (no mix), and preposterously cheap--$1.08. I eat this burrito at least twice a week, and will so forever. And I'll end this review the same way I did last year: POUND SAND, TACO BELL!!!

Email: garellano@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @gustavoarellano.

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150 comments
leehealy
leehealy

I love them too. With green sauce, please. 

JenDacy
JenDacy

Del Taco is the best! Way better than Taco Smell.... matter of fact I was already plannin on DEL for dinner tonight

Nmmng Frank
Nmmng Frank

Great appearance on Tom's show yesterday bro!

dtakeda1
dtakeda1

and the tortilla is so soft!  

Joseph Aparicio
Joseph Aparicio

I had a burrito I told them no beans and boy did I have gas for the next 24 hours....

jdailey59
jdailey59

Does anybody remember Tuesday Taco Night at Del Taco? 6 tacos for $1 ? (oh oh, showing my age...)

Michael Andrew Windsor
Michael Andrew Windsor

I've always loved Del Taco, I just wish it didn't give me Del Chorro. I don't know if the Miguel's/Miguel's Jr. chain exists anywhere other than here in the Inland Empire, but they have a f*cking excellent bean burrito too. It's fat, and the beans always taste so fresh and flavorful, and it's only 99 cents (last time I checked).

Jose Moreno
Jose Moreno

Probably in a Oaxaca themed joint. But, I still get the feeling that burritos are "gringo-fied" attempts at Mexican grub. The reason I say that is because this country usually goes for the gigantic portion meals. Just curious - how well known throughout La Republica are los burritos?

Andrew Cook
Andrew Cook

The worst part of Del Taco is that you have to call everything "macho" but on the bright side, they're open on Christmas for lonely gabachos.

Ask a Mexican
Ask a Mexican

Jose: Just like you can't find a tlayuda in Guadalajara!

JV Joaquin Vazquez Jr.
JV Joaquin Vazquez Jr.

Some of these comments are hilarious! An article about some fake Mexi food that actually tasted good and the 'Real Mexicunts' are up in arms. LOL. Get over yourselves.

Erk Audelo Leon
Erk Audelo Leon

CHIPOTLE's Football hahahahaha Those Chipotle burritos taste so bad, but they are huge and filling. Como dice el dicho, "No estàn buenos pero quitan el hambre." Ahora tengo que probar este mentado burrito de Del Taco, a ver si da el gatazo.

Eric Dasme
Eric Dasme

What the Hell is a Burritto?? They are about as Mexican as Nachos!! Give someone a Bit of Education and a small bit of print space and the individual believes they are a authority on all things Mexican! Gustavo, I used to admire your writing and your wit but unfortunately like every other long running series your writing and sarcasms have been come redundant and shallow.

Rob Loeza
Rob Loeza

Ewww that is one nasty burrito.

Markus Seitz
Markus Seitz

Tokers Town LOL. The bean'n'cheese burritos over in Orange are good, even out of the refrigerator overnight!

Jesse Hernandez
Jesse Hernandez

I avoid it like the black plague. I don't know how the one outside dallas love field stays open. Its a ghost town.

Ask a Mexican
Ask a Mexican

As someone who's eaten at Taqueria de Anda since their first one in Tokers Town, I can say this with authority: it now sucks big time.

Ask a Mexican
Ask a Mexican

It's either all authentic, or none of it is!

Ask a Mexican
Ask a Mexican

Did you read the story? This burrito is nowhere near fake.

Ask a Mexican
Ask a Mexican

If you like HUMONGOUS burritos. How about austere?

Ask a Mexican
Ask a Mexican

Not me, and how pendejo of you to even allege that.

Ask a Mexican
Ask a Mexican

I used to LOVE them until they went from three for a buck to two—I've boycotted ever since haha!

James Anderson Merritt
James Anderson Merritt

I love the Del Taco Bun Taco with original (mild) sauce and will drive out of my way to get it. Now, I will have to try the burrito you recommend, Señor.

Bill_Esparza
Bill_Esparza

@Eric Dasme Burritos are a form of taco: simple stews and braises wrapped in a flour tortilla. They come from Chihuahua, Durango, Sonora, and other northern states, but Chihuahua and Durango are the originators. They are simple guisados like, deshebrada, frijol con queso, picadillo, mole, chicharron--in Sonora burritas de machaca are common. In Martha Chapa's Los Tacos de Mexico, burritos, burros, or burritas are listed as a type of taco, and they are 100% Mexican. 

The burrito developed north of the border into it's many larger formats--this is a Mexican-American style of burrito that I would consider U.S.A cuisine. Hermosillo, Sonora has a big burrito called the percheron, but it's different from the California and the Mission. It's just something one guy started that caught on there. 

Technically, the Del Taco bean and cheese burrito is authentic, but with industrial products and yellow cheese--it would be regional melting cheeses in the various northern states with handmade flour tortilla and refried beans.        

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