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Recession Obsession: El Gran Burrito

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A Recession Obsession is, 1) a meal so great that it sticks in your mind long after digestion's end, and, 2) plays nice with your sensitive wallet. Is there a better place than Los Angeles to eat a wide variety of amazing food that happens to be inexpensive? Probably not. We're as lucky as we are well fed. We last obsessed over this series' Greatest Food Hits and Thai Town 2.0's Krua Thai. Today, we obsess...

Fans of being transported publicly will testify, the Metro stop at Vermont and Santa Monica Boulevard actually smells good.

Perhaps not the area near the tracks, nor the turnstiles, but near the leaning, metallic eye-catcher which marks the station’s subterranean entrance. That's where the fragrant wafts from next door take hold. El Gran Burrito is (aka Midnight Taco) cooking 24/7.

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At certain hours of the day this restaurant could charge a cover just for people watching. It’s no secret that this always-hopping Mexican joint fills with characters who look to be from not-yet-conceived indie cinema when the bars let out. Wait a little later and the term "ambiance" goes out the window as it's not macabre enough. (LAist has been here for Late Night Eats)

Whodini was right. The freaks come out at night. These colorful characters so happen to have good taste in Mexican food. Thankfully both normal people, and near-zombies can eat here, and for $3 as easily as you can $10. That’s why it’s LAist’s latest Recession Obsession.

Outdoor Dining

Their indoor dining area is mundane and on the bright side. El Gran Burrito is all about the outside scene. A how to guide:

  • 1 - Order at register
  • 2 - Take your ticket
  • 3 - Give it to the guys prepping food
  • 4 - Pillage salsa bar
  • 5 - Grab a picnic table
  • 6 - Eat
  • 7 - Repeat step four if necessary
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The Grub

The large menu features all of the typical favorites. Picnic tables feature diners enjoying favorite like tacos, flautas and burritos, though the occasional chiccharon verde plate can be seen. There are even a few Tex-Mexesque items, offering less Tex and more Mex (of course.)

I'm a sucker for their tacos. Costing about a buck each, these are taco-truck prices minus the tire tracks. I especially like their pollo tacos. In a city where the meat from the chicken's barnyard pals often steal headlines, El Gran Burrito does chicken more than justice. Their fowl respect is deliciously appreciated.

Salsa Sharkin'

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While wonderful most of the time, I have had an off meal here. Sometimes the quality suffer when the crowds build. It's then the grease seems to increase. Good news. A trip to the salsa bar will fix that -- disguise your grease in some roja. You'll be smiling. From reds, to greens, to in-betweens, El Gran Burrito takes pride in their condiments. The hordes of people surrounding their salsa bars might give a hint to its popularity.

  • El Gran Burrito Hollywood | 4716 Santa Monica Blvd | Los Angeles 90029 | (323) 665-8720
  • Metro: Red Line Vermont & Santa Monica Blvd

Photos by Caleb Bacon for LAist

Does El Gran Burrito scratch the itch of your midnight hunger? Comment Below!