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Cheap Eats

15th St. Burger/Classic Burger ~ Hermosa Beach

11:56 AM PDT on March 13, 2007

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1433 Hermosa Ave. Hermosa Beach, CA 90254 ~ (310) 376-8909 (TACO Guide)

Loving all foods Mexican and possessing an unholy appetite for the incredible, edible egg, you can bet your bottom dollar that I love me some breakfast burritos. I also enjoy my breakfast most when surrounded by the biggest cast of sketchballs assembled since the last AVN Convention. I don't feel truly at home in a neighborhood breakfast joint unless eyes and teeth are a high-luxury for its regulars.

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Waking from one haze or another on a TACO floor recently, my stumbling down the blocks of Manhattan Beach drew attention to my ragged state as if I were a walking off-track betting center, pushing me closer towards refuge. I used to find my way into Manhattan Bee-atch's Kofee Kart on similar confused findings-of-myself-in-the-north-South Bay, their old school waitresses making all my Alice fantasties come finally true. But then they showed an allegiance to Fox News I found unappetizing. Also, for a place named after the mud, my cup seemed to reach and remain at bottom too much.

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My new home for the most important meal of the day in the Tri-Pier cities is 15th Street Burger in neighboring Hermosa Beach, where cheap eats are endangered. They have everything on their gargantuan menu from an impressive selection of renowned small and large burgers done in creative styles to teriyaki, sandwiches, tacos, and mucho mas. I grabbed a steak and egg burrito for my host and a turkey and avocado burrito for my big ass, aguacate being another obsession.

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I'm not usually a huge fan of potatoes in my Mexican food. I see this on occasion. Being from blood both Polish and Irish in parts, maybe I snobbily find spuds a step-back to filler. 15th St. Burger knows it taters, though. Mashed in a soft Tabasco-stained cocoon around the shredded turkey and near-melted, creamy avocado is a sometimes crunchy, often soft comforter of gratin-like hashed potato.  It's the bomb and a great take on the breakfast burrito, putting the entire contents of breakfast in one wrapped unit (heh heh).

The turkey's quality does not seem particularly higher than packaged sandwich meat (though more Boar's Head than Oscar Meyer's), but the medley of the ingredients makes for an incredibly comforting texture. The tastes are subtle, but wrapped in a structurally sound tortilla and piping hot, it is a sustaining, filling way to begin the day.

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The steak and eggs was obviously even heartier, the steak chewy but filled with grilled, juicy flavor, contrasting nicely with a fluffy bed of eggs that was distributed well. I have come back for some burgers too, which are nicely grilled, tasty, and similarly hearty affairs. T hey have a San Francisco burger with swiss and avocado on sourdough that is very good.

Best of all, 15th Street brings together the South Bay's best breakfast fans over $6 burritos, burgers, and free LA Times. Not the yuppie soccer dads, or Nazi skinheads, or USC grads in Bush/Cheney shirts, but the seemingly homeless, the tatted, the tweaking, the hard-hustling, and the sleepless.

Start your day off there soon before it becomes a Starbucks with a stroller requirement. I read it is actually slated to be torn down, with its neighbor the abandoned donut shop, to make room for condo style offices, a shop, and upscale restaurant. Note to Torrance, please get the eggs cooking.

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