Destination Burrito: The Best Drives for Mexican Food Lovers


How does that old saying go? “It’s not the journey, it’s the burrito at your destination?” Maybe we’re not remembering the exact wording, but you won’t blame us after you try these scenic routes to burrito bliss.

Lily’s Cafe and Pastries, Malibu
Best View: Mid-Morning
Play hooky one weekday morning to take advantage of a near-empty PCH. Driving uninterrupted along the coast will make you feel like you’re guest-starring on The OC, and you won’t believe the breakfast burrito waiting for you at Lily’s in Point Dume. The medium size is muy grandé  and filled with oozing cheese, refried beans, crispy bacon, and perfectly-prepared eggs. Lily’s tortillas are homemade and could double as a comforter in your bedroom–that’s how thick and warm they are. For optimum enjoyment, call in your order around the Getty Villa to skip the inevitable line and don’t forget to pick up green chili hot sauce; it’s both creamy and spicy. Tastes best with your windows down.

El Tarasco, Manhattan Beach
Best View: Sunset
Located in the heart of Manhattan Beach on Rosecrans Ave., El Tarasco can fit about 10 people. It’s a hole in the wall, but the wet junior-super-deluxe chicken burrito is gigantic enough to satisfy even the hungriest surfer (or driver for that matter). Take the 105 and wave to all the stressed out travelers at LAX. Then, cruise along The Strand section of MB and keep an eye out for dolphins. Orders only take about 10 minutes, so use the time to take a deep breath of ocean air and prepare your stomach for a life-changing experience. If you are thinking of watching the sun set from your car, we suggest keeping it in park; El Tarasco’s wet burritos are swimming in ruby red enchilada sauce and fresh guacamole. They are delicious and cheap, but boy will they leave a stain.

El Cholo, Downtown
Best View: Night
Driving past Dodger Stadium, down the 110 South, and through the towering high-rises of downtown at night is a humbling (and hungering) experience. This stretch of freeway, bright and twinkling, can make you feel like you’re driving through the center of the universe. Take one of the downtown exits to El Cholo, one of the oldest Mexican restaurants in L.A. This little pueblo in South Park has been serving burritos and excellent margaritas since the late 1920s and has inspired more of its kind in Santa Monica and Koreatown. The Burrito Dorado is worth braving the 110 any day, and if you can find any room, we suggest the crab enchiladas, too. If you are worried you might explode (we’ve been there), take the leftovers to enjoy during your morning commute tomorrow. Any drive can be a burrito drive when you plan ahead.