Best Eats This Week: Chile relleno burritos and carnitas in East L.A.

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Chile relleno burrito, La Azteca Tortilleria

LOS ANGELES (KGET) — If you live in California, you’ve eaten a burrito. You’ve probably eaten hundreds, if not thousands.

But have you ever had a chile relleno burrito?

We journeyed to La Azteca Tortilleria in East L.A. to try one, and agree with critics who call it one of the best burritos in the city.

Also, carnitas. Fatty, succulent carnitas, in all their glory.

Chile relleno burrito, La Azteca Tortilleria, 4538 East Cesar E. Chavez Ave., Los Angeles

In 2015, Jonathan Gold, the late, great food critic for the Los Angeles Times, chose the chile relleno burrito at La Azteca Tortilleria as one of the five best burritos in L.A.

Gold’s recommendations have never steered me wrong, and this one is no exception.

The restaurant takes a chile relleno — a poblano pepper stuffed with cheese, dipped in batter and fried — and wraps it up in one of their fresh made flour tortillas.

You get salsa on the side, but it’s not needed. Even the bites containing only tortilla are satisfying, and once you get further into the burrito, and the cheese begins oozing out, it becomes something truly wondrous.

I have never seen a chile relleno burrito offered at any other restaurant, and I’m of the opinion the one served here cannot be improved.

Carnitas tacos as served at Carnitas El Momo.

Carnitas, Carnitas El Momo, 2411 Fairmount St. Los Angeles

No dish may prompt as big a scowl on the face of cardiologists as carnitas.

Bits of chopped pork are cooked for hours, typically in lard, then served either in tacos or as part of a platter with rice and beans. It’s heavy in calories. It’s also delicious.

This week I ate the best carnitas of my life at Carnitas El Momo, a tiny establishment in the Boyle Heights area of East L.A. that recently made the L.A. Times’ list of the 101 best restaurants in the city.

You can choose the type of carnitas you want — shoulder, belly or skin — or get a taco containing all three.

Chopped onions and cilantro, pickled jalapenos and carrots, limes and salsa are available to top your carnitas at Carnitas El Momo.

I normally squeeze a couple limes and add salsa and chopped onions and cilantro to my tacos, but the carnitas served here need no adornment. They are pure pork and fat and immensely satisfying eaten as served.

It would probably be wise to skip a meal or two after eating at Carnitas El Momo, but the sacrifice is worth it.

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