Adam Richman, host of Travel Channel’s Man vs. Food, is a likable enough guy and though he lead me astray once, I had it on good authority from my sister that the Manuel Special from El Tepeyac Cafe in Boyle Heights was actually worthy of its hype and fame. After talking about it for nearly a year, my sister, Steffie and I trekked it over to Boyle Heights where there was already a line outside waiting for a table in the cozy cafe. We waited for about 15 minutes before we were seated inside.
Everybody is warm and friendly and while my sister speaks fluent Spanish, it wasn’t absolutely necessary. Of course we ordered the Manuel Special, a gargantuan burrito loaded with shredded beef, cheddar cheese, salsa, peppers, beans, rice, guacamole and topped with more cheese, peppers and salsa, tipping the scale at five lbs. If that weren’t enough, we also ordered a small order of chips and guacamole.
The chips were fabulous ~ not too salty, which always kills it for me. The red salsa was hotter than hell, the green just mediocre (but I’m rarely a fan of salsa verde). While Annette and I stuck with water, Steffie went with horchata and it was muy delicioso. Though the place was packed, we did not have to wait long for our behemoth:
I was designated Burrito Carver (because I know how to cut a bitch) and served us all up. I took a corner piece and after giving a little dousing with the spicy red sauce it was time to dig in. Despite the burrito’s girth the quality does hold up. The shredded beef was tender and moist, as delicate as paper. Their guacamole is out of this world with freshness I’ve only found from my own kitchen – I’m glad my sister insisted we order the chips with guacamole so we had extra.
The Manuel Special is definitely worth coming out of whatever way you have to drive. Bring your family, your friends, hell, bring your enemies because what else could bring peace other than a giant ass burrito made with love and quality ingredients?
The Glass of Win Non-Patent Pie Rating System gives Manuel’s Original El Tepeyac Cafe four out of five pies!
Manuel’s Original El Tepeyac Cafe
812 N Evergreen Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90033