There are plenty of ways to enjoy a big breakfast, but few so conveniently packaged or affordably priced as the humble breakfast burrito.
A warm tortilla packed full of scrambled goodies and a hot cup of Joe is a hearty morning joy that virtually any pocketbook can accommodate.
When I went on a breakfast burrito roundup, my first stop was Del Taco for the recently released Huevos Rancheros Epic Burrito at the chain's newer south Medford outlet at 422 E. Barnett Road. For $4.99, I got scrambled eggs, the red peppery flavor of fresh Mexican chorizo, scratch-made refried beans, grated cheddar, sour cream and sliced avocado, plus a not-so-secret ingredient sets the burrito apart: Two corn tortillas give it a corny resemblance to its namesake inspiration.
At a time when its chief competitor, Taco Bell, keeps discovering new ways to make things taste like Doritos, Del Taco's corn tortilla twist likely won't raise eyebrows, but it's the ingredient that makes the burrito better than the sum of its parts. I'd order it again, but only between 11 p.m. and 11 a.m. when breakfast items are available.
My hankering for chorizo was still lingering the next day, so I made my way to Muchas Gracias to satisfy my craving at 2305 Jacksonville Highway in west Medford. Two decades ago, a time before ubiquitous taco trucks, it was Muchas Gracias that first showed my palate what Mexican street food could be.
For $5.25, my chorizo breakfast burrito didn't disappoint, nearing the length of two soda cans and wrapped tight into a cylinder of grilled goodness, filled with eggs, chorizo and soft pieces of potato. Setting the Muchas Gracias burrito apart from others is that the cheddar cheese is extra melty at the ends from being sprinkled on while the tortilla cooked from raw on the grill. A precooked tortilla simply can't compare. I also got a helping of those complimentary pickled carrots.
This is one stop where the drive-thru will probably suffice, as you're not paying for the environment with that fair price. My table was wiped down, but the tired and worn dining area saw its best days when the building was a Taco Bell in the late 1970s.
For my next stop, I joined a friend and colleague who describes himself as "pro-breakfast burrito all the way" for his favorites, Berg's Bakery & Bistro, at the corner of Eighth and Grape streets.
Bergs has become a bit of a favorite among some in the newsroom thanks to their fair prices, no-frills deli lunches and close proximity to the Mail Tribune. Their hearty breakfast burrito, served until 11 a.m. weekdays, exemplifies what they do right, wrapped in deli paper like a sub and cut in half before placing it in the to-go container, giving hobbit writers such as myself the opportunity to save half for second breakfast or elevenses later.
Of course, no burrito roundup is complete without a trip to one of downtown Medford's many excellent taco trucks. Rico's Tacos at the corner of Jackson and Riverside is easily a hungry breakfastarian's best bargain, offering $4 breakfast burritos every morning until 11 a.m. It's also among the easiest to recommend to people in a hurry, as I simply had to grab the foil-wrapped burrito I wanted from the warmer, pay and be on my way.
There was definitely an abundance of protein inside the burrito I got Wednesday at Rico's. Inside my freshly cooked flour tortilla were spicy chorizo sausage and scrambled eggs in abundance, but not much else. Less than 10 percent of the filling was hash browns and onions, which were nicely grilled, I might add, but this is the best bet for those hungry for eggs and meat.