Big-Ass Burrito Blues: Taqueria La Venadita

This week's review of Taqueria La Venadita (and the five meals I ate their in preparation for it) went a long way toward convincing me that I might just be able to survive in these Northwestern climes. Good tacos, tortas, a place to sit and watch Mexican telenovellas or the occasional episode of "El Capo"--these are all important things to me. Now I know of at least one place where I can find all of that dependably.

But wait, says the sharp-eyed reader. Didn't you say right in your review that it was breakfast burritos you needed? That you couldn't live without them?

Why yes, I did. Actually it was someone else reminding me that I'd said it about a million times before while doing time in the Mountain West, but there's no sense arguing over semantics here. The important thing is that I consider the breakfast burrito, properly prepared, to be an almost daily requirement for happy, sane and healthy living. Not for my health, necessarily, but certainly for the continued well-being of those around me. A breakfast burrito--thin and foil-wrapped, stuffed with potatoes, eggs, cheese and a variety of meat products--is a thing of beauty. Like eating pho for breakfast, or that first hit off the crack pipe in the morning, a breakfast burrito is not the kind of thing you think you need until you get in the habit, and at that point you look back over the whole, broad reach of your past and wonder how you ever lived without it.

And a good breakfast burrito is one thing that's missing from the board at Venadita.

Oh, they have a sort of half-assed version: an egg-and-chorizo burrito offered all day and all night on the regular menu. But it's not the same thing. For starters, Venadita's egg-and-chorizo comes mixed with rice and beans rather than potatoes. For another, it's served on a plate, with guac and sour cream, topped with a slick of melted cheese and a sprinkling of tomatoes--really more a lunch thing (brunch, at best) and requiring things like forks and napkins which, if they've had any sort of good time the night before, a breakfast burrito addict should be functionally incapable of operating. And while the Venadita big-ass brunch burrito is decent enough as it stands, it obviously falls far short of the shining pile of awesome that I was hoping for.

A perfect breakfast burrito comes in two forms: smothered (read:wrong) and wrapped (read: right). The perfect smothered version is served at Milton's, a 24-hour dive/diner in downtown Albuquerque, New Mexico where the #13 with red chile (a giant breakfast burrito, stuffed with eggs and hash browns and bacon and swimming in the house chile rojo) was what got me up in the morning and put me back down to bed at night--often on the same day. I thought I would never find a single plate so wonderful as this until I got to Denver and found the perfect wrapped version: served at the Santiago's location on Leetsdale Avenue. About as big as an empty paper towel roll, made fresh, served hot and wrapped in foil, I would get two of whatever the day's special was (potato, egg and ham one day, potato, egg and chorizo on another) at whatever time I decided to call breakfast and eat them in the parking lot, sitting on the hood of my car and wondering what I'd done the night before that'd resulted in this new tattoo, parking ticket, restraining order or what-have-you. One breakfast burrito from Santaigo's was the ideal way to ease into any morning (even when my "morning" was starting at three in the afternoon). Two were even better. And if I had a hangover that needed dealing with, I could always get a side of the kitchen's green chile to dunk my burrito in, which would be enough to burn away any regrets or lingering poisons still kicking around my system.

Despite the fact that I've already suffered through a few hangovers and plenty of regrets in the month that I've been here, I haven't yet found a decent place for a breakfast burrito in Seattle. And it's not like I haven't been looking. So this is where I turn to you, the readers, and ask for suggestions. Do you know of a good place for an expatriate boy of particular tastes to get his fix? Is there a cart, a walk-up, a street-corner vendor that you love? For that matter, if you've got experience with the real thing (meaning you lived and died for breakfast burritos in your day, not that you went to Santa Fe once on vacation and ate one at the airport), do you know of places that should be avoided no matter how desperate I become?

So help a brother out. All comments welcome below (except for those of you who are already starting to type "Why don't you just go back to Colorado for your beloved breakfast burritos, you douche..." You're not clever and no one likes you), and as I continue getting out and getting down in the neighborhoods, I'll be sure to keep everyone updated on my quest.

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