Cofax: Deservedly Lauded

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Guest Author: Brett Blaylock

Brett Blaylock is a nomadic cursory knowledge hobbyist and breakfast burrito enthusiast

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If you Google “Best Breakfast Burritos in Los Angeles,” or if you make the same search in Yelp, Cofax is one of the first places that pops up. Cofax’s Breakfast Burritos have been featured by Thrillist, LA Eater, LAist, and numerous online city guides. But what is perhaps most remarkable is that not every article or list featuring Cofax’s Breakfast Burritos refers to the same burrito.

Crazy.

That’s because Cofax sells not one, but two of the most lauded Breakfast Burritos in LA (and they sell two more variations as well). There is the Chorizo Breakfast Burrito with the oft-mentioned smoked potatoes and the Pastrami Breakfast Burrito which has deli mustard, a surprising and effective choice.

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Where…?

Although their signage is bright blue, Cofax blends into the line of high-end skater shops, diners, coffee houses, and thrift stores densely packed into the Fairfax area. So, you’ll probably need to do a bit of scouring to spot it on the East side of Fairfax between Oakwood and Rosewood. Parking is hit or miss, but there is some non-zoned residential parking you could use as a last resort. The inside is minimal to the point that there are only a few places to sit and eat, which can be a problem because Cofax is justifiably popular. Not only do they have well-reviewed Breakfast Burritos, they have a fresh assortment of pastries and an impressive selection of rotating coffee roasters. In addition to their tasty offerings, every member of the staff that I have encountered has been really welcoming and knowledgeable about what they sell.

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What’s in it?

As I mentioned earlier, there are two (sort of four) Breakfast Burritos at Cofax. Neither is too straightforward, but the less surprising one is the Chorizo BB. It mostly contains what you would expect in a BB: a grilled flour tortilla with chorizo, scrambled eggs, jack cheese, potato, and pico. But there are a few exciting twists: the potato is actually a smoked potato hash with grilled onions and bell peppers; and, as a little bonus, corn tortilla pieces are crumbled into the burrito, giving each bite a slight but satisfying crunch.

Then, there is the Pastrami BB, in which you will find pastrami (of course), tater tots, pickled jalapeños, a fried egg, and yellow deli mustard. This one is a major point of reference whenever I think or talk about clever BB, because the pastrami and mustard are downright startling to see included in a breakfast burrito, but the pickled jalapeños provide just enough tang and heat to tie the disparate elements back together.

The other two BBs which are sadly mentioned so infrequently are the Veggie and the Bacon BBs. The Veggie contains pretty much the same ingredients as the Chorizo, sans chorizo. If you don’t eat meat, it’s a great way to still enjoy the most exciting parts of that burrito, like the smoked potato hash. The Bacon has more in common with the Pastrami, but with different meat, no mustard, and a scrambled egg (though I’m sure they would fry the egg if you asked).

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But wait … There’s more.

A serious dilemma arises when you look in the bottom of the bag and see two plastic ramekins of salsa. The red salsa has the slightest amount of heat and the roastiness pairs well with the smoked hash on the Chorizo. But the milder green salsa complements any of the BBs with a contrasting tang. The dilemma is not only which salsa to use for each bite, but whether to use the salsa at all. Both salsas are tasty, but the burritos are already so complete on their own. It’s a tough decision to make, but I trust that you can handle it.

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Classic or Clever?

When it comes to how classic or clever Cofax’s burritos are, it depends on which one you’re talking about. Again, the Chorizo and, therefore, Veggie contain much of what you would expect in a Breakfast Burrito, but the smoked hash and the corn tortilla crumbles make these ones still pretty darn special. So, from classic to clever, they’re around a 7.

The Pastrami BB is a bit more adventurous. The mustard, pickled jalapeños, and the fact that it works so delicately make Cofax’s Pastrami Breakfast Burrito one of the cleverest BBs I’ve ever had. The fried egg doesn’t hurt either. From classic to clever: 8.5.

But, as always, a disclaimer:

These numbers are not reflective of how much I enjoy these burritos. I [bleep]ing love them. They’re both 10s.

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How much?

$7-8, depending on the burrito you choose, which is a really good deal because, not only are these burritos smartly assembled, they’re pretty big too. And, no matter which you go with, I’m pretty certain you’ll be happy.

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When …?

You can get these burritos any time Cofax is open. And they have donuts and cookies as well. And good coffee. They frequently post pictures of all of these things @cofaxcoffee on Instagram.

Cofax has seriously become one of my favorite places to enjoy Breakfast Burritos and absolutely deserves to be as ubiquitous on Best LA Breakfast Burrito lists as it is (if not more so).

California Lunch Room

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Guest Author: Donna Campbell

Donna Campbell is a Northern spirit in a Southern zone, capturing short story fiction. Nicknamed “raptor” by her best friend many years ago, she’s better known in her role of tracking life from every angle. You can follow her on Instagram @imraptorbhm.

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The old, green Pontiac bounced down the two-lane highway off the main road near the outskirts of North Fork, California. A tear rolled down Mabel’s cheek as she drove up the gravel road to the empty, crumbling building that once brought her abundant happiness. As she parked near the front door, the weathered building seemed smaller than in earlier days. Taking a deep breath and opening the car door, Mabel stepped out and stared at the chipping white paint and old signs. A faint smell of cat urine made her wrinkle her nose.

The morning’s events were still fresh in Mabel’s mind. The somber funeral home, the whimpers of hushed tears, the soft organ music…he was really gone.

Mabel had met Jack, her husband of 52 years, at this very place. He was a dusty stranger in need of a cold drink. As he stumbled through the screen door and took an open spot at the tiny counter, Mabel brought him the tallest glass of ice water. Jack smiled. That’s all it took—a smile and a glass of water had brought two people together. Mabel kept his glass full of water that day, and every day thereafter, until Jack’s illness took him home.

With the key in her hand, Mabel opened the screen door and unlocked the wooden door. Looking around, she remembered the store front sold the basics, such as tobacco, candy, soda, and a small assortment of gloves and caps. A small hallway led to the back of the store to the dining area and kitchen. The humble surroundings came to life when dinner and supper were served. The locals and the occasional passerby were treated to the best home-cooked meals and the latest news. The walls buzzed with laughter and the aroma of pot roast drifted through the open window screens.

Jack and Mabel made North Fork their home, and with the purchase of the California Lunch Room, they started a life together. Thirteen years separated them in age, but they were a matched pair in spirit. The day the diagnosis of cancer came for Jack, the California Lunch Room closed its doors. Jack needed daily support.

No one saw Mabel slip out the back of the funeral home. She needed some space away from the grieving. The store seemed the perfect place to reflect on her past, present, and future. Sitting at the counter, Mabel heard a soft meow. Turning to the screen door, she saw a gray kitten saunter in and sit at the sunlight’s edge on the worn floor.

In that moment, Mabel bowed her head and placed her hand on the weathered railing.

“I hear you, Lord.”

Mabel opened her eyes as the kitten brushed against her leg.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do to reopen, Jack.”

The kitten purred in agreement.

“Slapfish” or: Why Social Media Matters

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Guest Author: Brett Blaylock

Brett Blaylock is a nomadic cursory knowledge hobbyist and breakfast burrito enthusiast

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As of this writing, my only active social media account is my Instagram. I used to have a facebook, but found it overwhelming for the typical reasons: it was time consuming and the primary function seemed to be to provide a soap box for emotional people to rant about their ill-informed political views. So, I deactivated it. Sometimes, I think of unplugging from social media altogether, but then something beautiful happens: either I receive a direct message from a friend about a breakfast burrito or I will stumble upon one in my feed. And I will be reminded of the essentiality of social media in finding new breakfast burritos.

A dear friend of mine, knowing my perfectly healthy obsession with breakfast burritos, showed me an image posted by @lafoodjunkie of a tortilla filled with lobster, eggs, and a red, creamy sauce. I knew I had to consume it. Shortly thereafter, we drove 40 miles (a little over an hour) from Los Angeles down to Slapfish in Huntington Beach to try a burrito that could become the cleverest breakfast burrito I had yet enjoyed.

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Where…?

Just off Beach Boulevard in the middle of Newland Shopping Center, you will find a busy, family-friendly seafood restaurant called Slapfish, one of seven locations spread throughout the Los Angeles suburbs (there’s also an eighth location just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah). You probably wouldn’t miss the sizeable red logo, but, if you did, you would probably notice a crowd.

The inside is nautical and kitschy, like a Long John Silver’s (or, for my friends from the eastern half of the country, Captain D’s), but homier. When I went, there wasn’t quite enough seating for everyone, but the turnover was pretty quick, which is to be expected from a fast, casual place such as this.

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What’s in it?

Before I say what’s in it, just know that this is a hefty, rich breakfast burrito. Unless you are absolutely STORVING (yes, “storving” with an “o-r”), I encourage you to split it with a friend (or enemy and maybe turn them into a friend) and get something small to go with it. This burrito contains a substantial amount of buttery lobster, scrambled eggs, cheese, bacon, spinach, French fries, avocado, tomato, red onions, chives, and Slapfish’s “Awesome Sauce” (Chipotle aioli) in a large, grilled tortilla, garnished with cilantro; basically, there’s everything you would expect from a Breakfast Burrito and then some.

I so heavily encourage splitting this burrito because I was greedy and did not. I enjoyed every buttery bite and needed a nap immediately after. But I couldn’t because I was 40 miles from home. Maybe go with a friend, split the BB and get a lobster roll or “Clobster Grilled Cheese” to split as well.

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Classic or Clever?

This burrito is quite the surprise. And it is rich. I know I said that already, but I mean it. Imagine a buttery lobster roll shoved into a more traditional breakfast burrito and you’ll get the basic idea. This is the height of Breakfast Burrito indulgence that I have experienced thus far in my life. And it is about as clever a Breakfast Burrito as I have yet consumed; so, measuring cleverness, it’s an 8.5/10.

But, again, strictly speaking deliciousness, it’s a 14/10 at least.

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How much?

At $15, Slapfish’s Lobster Breakfast Burrito is steeper than a lot of other Breakfast Burritos, but remember two things: it could very well feed two people; and it’s loaded with delicious, buttery lobster. Once you consider that, it’s a great deal.

However, you should know that you won’t find this Breakfast Burrito on any of the menus at Slapfish. Although not quite a secret any more, this is off-menu. If you’re like me, that might make you feel special, like you’re in the know with some delicious gossip.

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When…?

Slapfish sells their Lobster Breakfast Burrito whenever they’re open. Don’t forget that it’s off-menu. So, don’t be discouraged when it’s not listed on the board above the register. Order with confidence.

As far as I am aware, they do not sell coffee, but they do have craft sodas. If it’s coffee you’re after, stop by the Coffee Tale, which is only a couple miles away in an adorable Old-Town Village.

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See? Social media is important. If it weren’t for Instagram, I might never have found out about Slapfish’s (kinda secret) Lobster Breakfast Burrito. Now that I’ve had it, I look upon that alternate reality and am relieved that I live in what Leibniz called the Best of All Possible Worlds. To find out more about Slapfish, follow @slapfish (of course). To see even more evil deliciousness, follow @lafoodjunkie.

Guest Post: The War on Science

This is a must read.

In My Stride

Jennie invited me to write a couple of lines for her blog, I feel flattered and honoured, so here we go. Jennie and I “met” on Twitter over the #actuallivingscientists debate. I am a mineralogist from continental Europe, currently mixing magmas for a living as just another Post Doc.

In case you have been living under a rock for the past 6 months: both science and women (and many others) have been target of a brutal onslaught by the new commander in chief, who shall formerly be addressed here as Lord Dampnut. The #actuallivingscientist hashtag was a thread were scientists presented themselves and their work, showing the world that they are real people with awesome gadgets (animals, minerals…). Many female colleagues made a point in posting pictures of themselves wearing specialised suits for lab- and field work, accompanied by the #dresslikeawomen hashtag, to drive home the point that female scientists…

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