One thing I can say about the signature item at California Burrito Express is that it doesn’t scrimp on meat. The carne asada burrito I had at the East Colonial Drive restaurant, which bills itself as Mexican fast food, was loaded with lots of meat.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t much of anything else inside the large flour tortilla. And without the addition of some of the salsas from the help-yourself bar, it was ultimately not very flavorful.
I was happy to see a new restaurant -- any restaurant -- open on this stretch of Highway 50, where free-standing restaurant buildings have been left fallow in recent years. The spaces that once held Bennigan’s, TGI Friday’s, Uno, Amigo’s and others are now a blighted reminder of the recent economic downturn. California Burrito Express has taken over the space that once held Fazoli’s.
The new owners apparently didn’t have much of a decorating budget, but that would be OK if the dining area didn’t look so unkempt.
I also tried a carnitas taco, which was wrapped in a soft, almost soggy, corn tortilla. It had much more flavor than the burrito.
The salsa bar had an assortment of red and green salsas and they weren’t shy about the peppery heat. While I waited for my order, the man at the counter told me I could help myself to the salsas and the chips in a big bowl next to the bar. I had barely scooped up some salsa before my order was ready.
So it was definitely fast food. But was it Californian or Mexican. There are enough differences between the two styles to cause confusion. The burrito was large enough to be a California style, but with only meat inside, it was more Mexican in its makeup.
Whatever. I would try some of the other items on the rather extensive menu. And I might stop in late some night -- it’s open 24 hours (although an 8 a.m. phone call went unanswered).
California Burrito Express is at 3922 E. Colonial Drive, Orlando. It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. The phone number -- not that it matters -- is 407-894-8250. The business does not appear to have a Web site.