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best *vegetarian* bean & cheese burrito in LA??

Both my girlfriend and I love bean and cheese burritos . . . the perfect lunch-time meal. But (especially when you get to the 'authentic' places in East LA, etc, or landmarks like Tito's.) the beans are often made with lard. Makes them delicious, for sure. But since both of us are strict vegetarians, we can't eat at those places.

I've seen a few compilations for best general burritos in LA. But for ones that make veg beans? Bonus points if it's on the Westside.

Location and approximate price for the top places making B & C burritos are much appreciated.

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  1. Your best bet might be a place like Qdoba or Chipotle, both of which have vegetarian burrito offerings.

    5 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      Not sure if you're joking, ips, but c'mon... I think in all of LA there is non-chain Mexican food that's made without lard that's got to be better than Qdoba or Chipotle. I don't mind going to that kind of place for lunch if it's close and convenient, but I'm sure that LA can do better. As I understand it, the lard-heavy style that's popular here is not the norm in all of Mexico. I hope some other folks can come up with better selections than I can, but here's a few.

      I haven't been as big a fan recently, but Allegria on Sunset doesn't use lard or cheese in any of their beans (whole pinto beans, refried pinto beans, black beans). Cinnamon in Highland Park (entirely vegetarian) might be worth a visit; they are so-so but have improved over time. I think they have real cheese available.

      I know this is slightly on a tangent, as I don't think you will get the kind of cal-mex style bean and cheese burrito you're looking for (or any burrito, for that matter), but I would *strongly*, strongly recommend checking out Chichen Itza for Yucatanian food - they have an entire veggie menu that's vegetarian except for one dish. Also check out some of the Oaxacan places, which also have some good vegetarian options. There are some excellent places on the West Side. I've only personally been to Monté Alban, and they do have at least a few vegetarian options.

      Side note that if you're truly strict about being vegetarian, you will also check that the C in the B & C is rennet free, and that, should you choose to adulterate your B & C with things like rice or sour cream (horrors), that these are also vegetarian.

      1. re: will47

        Honestly, I think any time you take the lard out of refried beans you've taken the soul out of them. Souless beans ... anyone can make -- be it a chain, or mom-and-pop place.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          We may have to agree to disagree here. I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a huge fan of refried beans, maybe because I've never knowingly had the good stuff, but if we're talking about refried breans, Chipotle doesn't serve them at all, nor, if memory serves, does Qdoba (I don't see any mention of them on their site). Also, by the way, Chipotle's whole pinto beans are not vegetarian at all. I have had whole pinto beans at other (non-chain) places that beat the pants off of the ones at the chains.

          While I can imagine that refried beans aren't as good without the lard, I still think the soul comes from the person making the food as well as the ingredients. Either way, if we are talking about the "best", I think there are still other parts of the burrito equation that a good mom and pop place will do better than the chains.

          1. re: ipsedixit

            I agree that the most flavorful, soulful, delicious refried beans are almost always made with manteca. It adds another dimension that you just can't get any other way. And I'm grossed out thinking about lard.

            Like when McDonalds stopped making their french fries with animal fat...thy just aren't the same!

          2. re: will47

            I knew I'd think of some other places. Haven't been to either in a while, but Westside-wise, Tacomiendo (couple of locations) also claims to have vegetarian beans (and rice too, if I recall correctly), as does Tacos Por Favor. These are probably closer to what you're looking for than the suggestions in my last post.

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            Tacomiendo
            11462 Gateway Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

            Tacos Por Favor
            1406 Olympic Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90404

        2. The Spot in Hermosa Beach makes a great vegetarian bean & cheese burrito.

          4 Replies
          1. re: annapurna7

            I don't think The Spot is at all the kind of place the OP sounds like they are looking for. For bland, 70s-inspired health food, they are great (and, believe it or not, I don't mean that in a bad way), but for even remotely authentic Mexican food, I think you can do better just about anywhere in LA. You might as well send them to Real Food Daily.

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            Real Food Daily
            414 N La Cienega Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90048

            1. re: will47

              Heh? They mentioned Tito's, so I think that The Spot is an apt recommendation. I never had an experience with the food being bland there.

              1. re: annapurna7

                certainly, if you get the green salsa that is served at the spot, it is NOT at all bland.
                (had that for lunch today, as a matter of fact).

              2. re: will47

                imho, the Super Burrito served at The Spot with their salsa cruda and their green salsa served as sides, is far more flavorful than the Tito's version.
                personally i prefer their salsa verde to their salsa cruda, but they will happily serve you both types (no extra charge) so that you can make your own decision.

            2. Not being one to look for things vegetarian friendly I can't vouch for this place personally, but we have good friends who happen to be of the V persuasion and they sing the praises of this place: http://www.taco-spot.com/ YMMV

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              Taco Spot
              2006 Colorado Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90041

                1. re: tissue

                  YES!!! Poquito Mas does a fine bean & cheese rito.. Even if they do not use lard.. CHEERS!!! p.s. Sometimes I even add carne when in the mood.

                  1. re: Chez Coop

                    Yeah their tortillas are awesome

                2. Definitely check out Plancha which is on 3r st. and Sweetzer near the beverly center. Really tasty. I get the carne asada but my wife gets the bean and it's one of the only ones she has found that she likes.

                  Her favorite bean burrito is at Gallego's on Venice in the Mar Vista area.