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The unbearable lightness of being a gringo and trying to order the chorizo Mexican breakfast burrito at El Ojo de Agua taco truck

There is no doubt that there are two breakfast burritos at El Ojo de Agua taco truck. This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate.

Clearly on the sign it says in English and Spanish … just English here …

Mexican breakfast burrito - $4.50
Rice, beans, cilantro, onions, hot salsa, guacamole, cheese and sour cream
Mexican sausage and egg or ham and egg

American breakfast burrito - $4.50
Potatoes, cheese, salsa
Ham and egg or sausage

BREAKFAST BURRITOS PAST

A post of a breakfast burrito where potatoes where substituted for rice and beans haunted me …

*damn* this is good. A full-size burrito with potatoes, salsa, sour cream and a choice of eggs with ham or eggs with chorizo. The first bite was a symphony of flavors, including something smoky (chipotles in the chorizo, maybe?).

However, there was an unsuccessful attempt by another poster to replicate this wonder …

“the guy at Ojo de Agua said they had no such item on their menu. He had never even heard of it. No chorizo, no potatoes in a breakfast burrito. He, therefore, purchased 2 of what they called "Mexican breakfast burritos", consisting of crappy supermarket ham, some eggs, lots of rice and beans. Oh, and crema. They were just passable, even wit h the salsa.”
http://www.chowhound.com/topics/450945

BREAKFAST BURRITO PRESENT

So, I feel prepared. I double-check the sign on the side of the truck.

“I’d like the Mexican breakfast burrito but instead of rice and beans, I’d like potatoes.”

The woman smiles and diligently writes the order down. TAKES my money, and then turns to the cook who says

“You want the American breakfast burrito?”

I repeat the order.

“You want ham and eggs?” he asks

“No” I say.

Two Latino guys waiting for their order translate EXACTLY what I requested in Spanish. I’m not a great speaker but I understand enough to know they translated this perfectly.

Off goes the cook. As he hands the two guys their order and starts on mine … some intuition makes me ask “Chorizo, right?”

“No” he says. We don’t have chorizo today.

Now I’m faced with rworange’s choice. Do I ask for my money back anticipating that scene? I decide I like the drinks there more than the possible hassle which might get me banned at this truck. Swell, I’ll just have the Mexican burrito with ham instead of chorizo.

As he hands me the bag, I re-confirm … “It DOES have cilantro and guacamole, right?”

He nods and hands me a little cup of chopped cilantro/onion and one of guacamole. Unfortunately I didn’t have the smarts to remember the hot sauce so … no hot sauce for me.

See description of crappy, American burrito above EXCEPT no rice and beans … and from everything I could tell … no potatoes either …just scrambled eggs, ham, a bit of cheese here and there and dabs of sour cream.

BREAKFAST BURRITO YET TO COME

Assure me that I yet may change these shadows you have shown me, by an altered order.

My suggestion would be to WRITE DOWN on a paper what you want and BEFORE handing your money over and get assurance. Say the word ‘chorizo’ repeatedly. If there is no chorizo, walk away. There are better breakfast burritos one street up at Taco Grill … the chorizo there is fragrant with cinnamon.

Oh yeah, it came with a few fresh cucumbers, pickled carrots and jalapenos … which are also vastly superior at Taco Grill.

El Ojo does make better drinks though.

-----
El Ojo de Agua Taco Truck
Derby St and International Blvd, Oakland, CA

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  1. Did you try asking for "sausage" like the menu says rather than specifying chorizo? Some places use longaniza and not chorizo. I've had the experience of asking for chorizo elsewhere and being told there is none, while at the same time orders of longaniza and eggs are coming out of the kitchen. Also, why did you ask for the Mexican burrito potentially confusing the cook with a substitution of potatoes instead of ordering the American breakfast burrito that Ruth gets?
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/44954...
    You ordered the Mexican breakfast burrito, same as "oakjoan" posted about, but later you say "crappy, American burrito", which did you get?

    5 Replies
      1. re: rworange

        Oh, the original post didn't intimate that they were rude to you. Sorry, I've never had any problems at this truck. Ruth's gets the American breakfast burrito with sausage, which she describes as including sour cream and salsa, so you did not order what she "instructed" per the link above in my first reply or this one,
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/44954...

        1. re: rworange

          You know, that's so funny, because I never have any trouble ordering it -- I ask for an American breakfast burrito with chorizo and that's what I get. I just got one last week, in fact. It does have scrambled eggs in it: chorizo, eggs, potatoes, etc.

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            I got rid of that kind of snippy response that you both are replying to after thinking it over.

            Yeah, you are right you do say to order the American burrito. For my part where the confusion came in was the whole chorizo thing.

            Their sign for the Mexican burrito says chorizo/Mexican sausage.

            For the American burrito it just translates as sausage. I think that is what threw me and made me think I needed to do the sub on the Mexican burrito. Pairing the word 'American' with 'sausage' and no mention of chorizo on that menu item made me think I'd be getting American sausage like Jimmy Dean.

            Never the less, when I said 'no ham' ... when the Latino customers translated that as 'sin jamon' that was the time to say they didn't have sausage/chorizo.

            Also, telling oakjoan's husband they never heard of potatoes or chorizo ... well ...

            I do admire Ruth for finding the good stuff on the truck as the English is pretty non-existant and I've gotten the wrong order before when I wasn't trying to make menu adjustments ... and they refused to give me what I originally ordered saying that was what I ordered.

            I guess that is what set me off this morning ... past experiences.

            So ok ... in the unlikely event I'll ever order this again ...

            Do not order the Mexican burrito

            Order the Amercan burrito with sausage ... which means chorizo.

            Sorry for the original reply.

            1. re: rworange

              I said sausage, S.O. said chorizo, neither worked.

      2. Well, after listening to all of the hoopla over the American Breakfast Burrito, I made the trek over there this morning, only I dragged (literally) along S.O. who is Mexican just in case. Although I would more likely be mistaken for latina than gringa, RW, I COMPLETELY feel your pain.

        Gorgeous morning and there was only one other couple beside us. We walk up and S.O. orders *in Spanish* the american breakfast burrito w/ chorizo and a liquado de nuez (which is listed as walnut on the menu, but actually pecan) for me, a combination of carne asada, lingua, and pastor tacos and a strawberry agua fresca for himself. All in all, it came out to just over $20 (S.O.'s a football player and eats A LOT) and a few dollars tip just for extra measure. We wait about five minutes for the tacos which the nice lady hands to the other people who then say that this isn't their order and hands the food to us. The finely chopped meat on the tacos doesn't have any distinguishing griddle marks, but the plate still looks very promising with their bright green tomatillo salsa and accompanying grilled onion, crisp sliced cucumber, and small piece of grilled nopal. As I wait for my burrito, I sip at my liquado which is creamy and absolutely delicious (like horchata but with bits of pecan instead of rice) and steal pieces of S.O.'s meat and am struck by how flat the meat tastes, the pastor especially which looks oddly crumbly, very grey, and nothing like the small, spicy cubes I've had elsewhere. S.O. salts everything liberally. Whatever though, I'm here for the burrito.

        Ten minutes later, it's done and I'm stuck by how big it is (Yeah - lunch AND dinner!!). We walk back to the car, I pull back the foil and take a big bite. Beans. And, rice. This isn't what I ordered. We walk back to the truck and tell the cook that I had ordered the American Breakfast Burrito, not the Mexican. The cook does not look happy and insists we ordered the Mexican. Nope, American. He begrudingly gives in. Cook - "Con jamon?" S.O. - "No, chorizo, por favor. Gracias, Primo". Five minutes later (a bit fast?) I give them a big smile as they hand me my burrito and we walk back to the car. I open it up and a big glob of crema slides onto my arm. I pull back a loose corner. Ham. You're kidding me, right? I take a bite and it is just what another posted - cheap, supermarket ham. I wrap it back up, throw it in the car, and say let's go.

        We drive three blocks and I turn around. This is just not right. I rarely eat pork, don't eat this food for my health, and want what I ordered or my money back. I pull back into the lot which by now has started to fill up, walk up to the truck, and quietly, in english tell the lady that this is not what I ordered and I want my money back. She looks to the cook who comes over and addresses S.O. who repeats what I said in Spanish and tells him that I ordered chorizo and not ham. They go back and forth and the cook says that they don't serve chorizo or any other sausage with the American and never has. S.O. walks over to the menu and points. We stand there for a few moments. I hold up the burrito to the cook, he opens the register, hands the S.O. $5 and points at the garbage.

        With all due respect to the other hounds who have had success ordering the elusive American breakfast burrito with chorizo which I'm sure is absolutely delicious, this service I received was so bad that I would never recommend this truck to anyone for anything except the agua fresca and liquado which I will say were very exceptional. I'm a very polite person and did nothing wrong to deserve such treatment.

        3 Replies
        1. re: adrienne156

          Thank you. That is exactly how I imagined it playing out had I made an issue of it and I wanted to leave open the option of getting drinks in the future. I mean, what is the problem here? They have chorizo.

          And thanks for letting me feel less crazy for getting worked up over a $4.50 burrito. In the big picture, so what. It is just at the time, especially early in the moring, it really ticked me off. I kept considering returning it until I hit San Pablo Avenue in Emeryville. I was just the principle of it as small an issue as it was.

          1. re: rworange

            You're welcome.

            I have no idea what the problem is and I was going to let it go, but it just all felt so wrong. Not how I wanted to spend my Sunday morning... This liquado de nuez is very good though.

            1. re: rworange

              Oh, and don't feel crazy about getting worked up over $4.50 burrito! That's half a three-pound container of Columbus sliced turkey breast from Costco that would feed me for a week. Although I'm trying to save up for law school and am crazy about saving money right now, money is money and I'd take my puny business elsewhere if I'm not going to be allowed to have what I want.

          2. We usually get our breakfast burritos at Zamorano on International/High. Chorizo & egg, but no potatoes. You might be able to ask for potatoes though. I like their green salsa too.

            1. As he hands me the bag, I re-confirm … “It DOES have cilantro and guacamole, right?”As he hands me the bag, I re-confirm … “It DOES have cilantro and guacamole, right?”

              He nods and hands me a little cup of chopped cilantro/onion and one of guacamole. Unfortunately I didn’t have the smarts to remember the hot sauce so … no hot sauce for me.
              *******************

              I didn't notice this the first time around, but the breakfast burrito (at least, not the American one) doesn't come with guacamole. I haven't had one recently (the calorie count is just too stratospheric) -- has anyone ordered one (or tried to order one) recently?

              3 Replies
              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                I've had the Mexican Breakfast Burrito about 10 times over the past 5 years, the last time being about 6 weeks ago, and I believe it has never come with guacamole.

                Never tried to get chorizo and potatoes together, the straight up mexican version (rice, beans, choirizo, egg) has always hit the spot for me.

                1. re: 10foot5

                  I did a little field research this morning - I wanted to double check whether or not the Mexican breakfast burrito actually did come with guacamole all along and I was misremembering.

                  As you can see (hopefully) from the attached photos guacamole IS listed as an ingredient on the Mexican breakfast burrito. But as I ate my way through the burrito I couldn't find any trace of it. I had to take a second shot of the burrito because as I ate my way down some crema showed up but still no guacamole. The photos are probably hard to see clearly. Don't be fooled by the green in there - that is Jalapeno which I asked be added.

                  No problems communicating with the workers in plain old English.

                  The burrito was great, as always.

                   
                   
                   
                  1. re: 10foot5

                    In northern México, "Papas con Chorizo" is an extremely common breakfast dish. When I'm in México it's what I eat almost every morning. (On the other days I have chilorio with huevos revueltos.) A breakfast burrito with chorizo and papas and huevos, etc. is as Méxican—and as common—as one with as arroz y frijoles. I'm wondering where this cook in the food truck is from. New Jersey?

                    But I also think that guacamole on/in a breakfast burrito is a bad/weird idea.

                2. English appears to be barely a second language at El Ojo, although they are very accomodating considering the language barrier. With my fractured grammar school Spanish, I think I have been able to verify that atole no mas.

                  1. Are these available all day or only in the morning hrs?

                    1. Interesting discussion. Not saying it is, but some times if you look latin, even if you don't speak Spanish well...they give you a break and more food. I know that if I order in Spanish I usually get more food (verifiable by people other then me). OTOH, this might be simple incompetence.

                      1. I had my first breakfast burrito ordering failure a couple of weeks ago -- got rice instead of potatoes. Still a damn fine burrito, but not what I was hoping for.

                        4 Replies
                          1. re: chocolatetartguy

                            No. I haven't seen atole there in several years now. Too bad -- theirs was the best!

                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                              I keep hoping. Last month while shopping the White Elephant sale and lunching at El Novillo, I just gave up going over there to ask.

                          2. re: Ruth Lafler

                            Another failure. This time, since the woman taking the order had clearly repeated back to me "con papas" I went back to complain. She was surprised that I didn't get it "con papas" -- she and the cook had an exchange, order slips were waved about. The impression I got was that the fault was not so much in the ordering as in the preparation, i.e., that the cook just glanced at the order slip, saw "breakfast burrito chorizo" and made it the "Mexican" way instead of the "American" way. Still, it was a really delicious burrito.