>> Burritos La Palma | Eat the World Los Angeles

Sunday 14 April 2019

Burritos La Palma

๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฝ Mร‰XICO (Zacatecas)

EDITOR'S NOTE: An updated version of this article (11 December 2023) is available as part of the Historical section of our Substack page. Check that out here:
Zacatecas is not the first place you think about when the topics of flour tortillas or burritos come to mind, but the Baรฑuelos family has been trying to change that since 1980 and their days making this type of tortilla back home in Jerez, a place that formerly only used corn tortillas. The state of Zacatecas is large and sends wide and thin tentacles in every direction from its center in North-Central Mรฉxico, making it a place that would naturally pull in cultures and customs from those that surround it.

Putting Zacatecan guisados inside the flour discs produced by their tortilleria started as casual meals for family and employees but then became popular when others had the chance to try and eventually laid the foundation of Burritos La Palma. Nine shops opened in Zacatecas before Alberto Baรฑuelos decided to open up shop in El Monte and expand the empire north to feed Zacatecans who had moved to Los Angeles but still had good memories of his family's business.

A takeout order from the Santa Ana location.
You can now get these burritos closer to and in downtown on occasion (and in Santa Ana), but there is still something magical about the nondescript El Monte shop, a place you hardly notice passing by quickly on Peck Road and would never think had something so tasty inside.
These Northern Mexican-style burritos wrapped with Zacatecan recipes are simple but produce great results. A limited menu keeps decision making fairly straightforward, and the small stature of this style of burrito allows you to eat multiple options and have less commitment than the Mission-style burritos that more commonly come to mind.

At home in El Monte.
The birria de res (below, bottom) is probably the original and still the most popular selection, always satisfying. All locations back home and here in Los Angeles still use the recipe of his parents. The harmony that is created by these stews wrapped up in chewy, dense, heavy, stretchy flour tortillas is a feat, as is the fact that each one is pressed individually by hand.
On the occasions that I have been here, it was usually added on to days of multiple eating destinations and I stuck to the two classics and did not explore everything on offer. A couple bites into each trip was always filled with a bit of regret knowing there was not stomach space to dig further into some of their other offerings.

Chicharrรณn (top) with birria de res (bottom).
Do better and show up hungry.
Enjoy the El Monte space with all of its odes to Jerez and the tortilleria that started it all. The comfortable dining room is a must so that you can eat your burrito freshly made. And who knows, you might need to add an extra order when you finish, whether or not you actually have the stomach space.


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