It’s hard to believe that it’s been two years since the pandemic altered our way of living. As I reflect on the many ways my life has changed, I choose to focus on the silver linings of this challenging period. Regularly eating in San Pedro (pun intended), enjoying our beautiful parks, taking in our coastline’s breathtaking views, and writing this column have been fulfilling experiences. Speaking of views, I matched sandwiches with parks around town in a previous column. This month, I’d like to share some of my favorite burritos and places to enjoy them with distinctively Pedro views.
Brite Spot (615 S. Pacific Ave.) is the type of unassuming place that you drive by regularly but don’t notice. Although I have eaten there for years, their Azteca burrito is a recent discovery that I became hooked on right away. This burrito is unique because one of its main ingredients is nopal, the subtly tart flat cactus pads from the prickly pear plant. The other ingredients are carne asada, Spanish rice, beans, onions, and cilantro. It also has a hint of spiciness. I prefer to order mine without beans. It’s definitely a satisfying treat. There are many benches alongside the grassy area of Paseo Del Mar, but my favorite is the Friendship Bench, which sits at the entrance of the small trail that leads to the cliff just before Roxbury Street.
It took me a long time to give The Chori-Man (2309 S. Alma St.) a try because of my past experience with greasy chorizo that dominates the flavor, making it not appealing to me. When I was annoyed enough with my husband’s insistence that I “need” to try the chorizo tacos, I finally gave in. It was love at first bite with the all-flavor and no-grease Tolucan green chorizo. When Humberto Raygoza started making his breakfast burritos, I found something new to obsess over. Diced potatoes, fried eggs, cheese, and chorizo wrapped in a tortilla come together into a mouthwatering burrito. I particularly like mine with runny eggs and their jalapeño relish salsa. I seldom deviate from the green chorizo, but when I do, I opt for the maple habanero. I often eat my breakfast burrito at one of the picnic tables or benches at White Point/Royal Palms Park above Royal Palms beach, where the scenery of the coastline is spectacular.
My burrito of choice at Conrad’s Mexican Grill (376 W. 6th St.) is the chile relleno. This burrito is loaded with a chile relleno — a roasted poblano pepper stuffed with cheese, dipped in egg batter then fried, Spanish rice, beans, lettuce, salsa, and guacamole. I think it’s important for a burrito to maintain its shape and structure, and this one, although it’s loaded with ingredients, is a perfect balance of flavors and doesn’t fall apart. It’s impossible not to enjoy how the texture of the poblano pepper, melted cheese, and guacamole come together. I love the view at the outer Cabrillo Beach (3720 Stephen M. White Dr.), which feels like our own private cove. It’s always nice to sit on the sand or grassy area and eat to the sound of the crashing waves.
The Original Las Brisas (1110 N. Gaffey St.) was a pandemic discovery for me, thanks to Hilary Mejia’s posts in the Eat in San Pedro Facebook group. As you may have read in last August’s San Pedro Today cover story, Mejia’s 73-year-old father, Gilberto A. De Haro, who does all the cooking, is known for his al pastor — seasoned and marinated pork. The al pastor burrito is loaded with beans, onion, cilantro, and their signature salsa. I highly recommend ordering a fried jalapeño on the side; it’s a perfect companion to the burrito. The burrito might be a tad bit messy and rich, but it’s tasty and it hits the spot! I recently discovered the newly installed large swing that faces the channel in the Town Square at L.A. Waterfront Promenade (600 Sampson Way). It’s a great place to eat while gently swinging and watching the boats go by. spt