As you may know, Winnie the Pooh once mused to Piglet that the questions, “What’s for breakfast?” and “I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” amounted to the same thing. Breakfast is my favorite meal, yet I rarely get the chance to review breakfast spots. And I’m so late to Breakfast Little on 22nd Street!
Breakfast Little used to live across 22nd, in the space that is now Al Carajo, but moved into its larger, brightly colored digs in July, 2022. Originally opened by San Francisco native Andrew Perez in 2019, the little-window-that-could withstood the pandemic, and flourished. Breakfast Little now has indoor seating and a few tables set up on the sidewalk. Now that the rain seems to have let up, you have options, but I’ve only ever done takeout. Call in your order, and within about 10 minutes, you’ll have a piping hot bundle of love to snuggle up to. That’s an early morning weekday estimate, though; I’ve heard they’re busy as hell on weekends. And rightly so.
The genius of BL, I think, is the inclusion of potatoes in the burritos, instead of rice. But not just any potatoes; no, these tubers are TATER TOTS. Inspired! While you might be tempted to think tots would get mushy and lose their crunchy texture in what look like gut bombs, you’d be wrong.
My first burrito was the El Sancho.
With fluffy eggs, avocado, chorizo, cheese, black beans, salsa, crema and, of course, TOTS. While the whole of it could have been a mush-pot (as most burritos are, albeit in the best possible way), the tater tots here still made their presence known. This was a proper breakfast burrito, filling without being sleep-inducing, with flavor designed to wake up the tastebuds, and a good amount of spice, owing to their fruity habanero salsa (inside the burrito; they don’t offer it separately for take-out.)
On another visit, I tried their avocado toast, with an egg cooked to order, and chili crisp.
This little beauty miraculously withstood a 20-minute drive, very carefully packed so the egg was still a golden orb when I opened it up in the East Bay. And look at that gorgeous thick sourdough toast! Unfortunately, it was in desperate need of salt, and if I hadn’t been going to a home that had salt in it, I’d have been upset at this rather bland turn of events. Avocado and eggs need salt, people! Hoping it was just an oversight, I went back.
My next foray was the bacon-and-egg breakfast sandwich on a delightful pan de sel roll. (The breads here are excellent, by the way, sourced from a local bakery.) This time, the egg was a bit overcooked, and the bacon was so crispy it was almost burned. However, this baby had really good flavor, due in large part to the garlic aioli. I’d note that adding avocado and hot sauce made this a $12+ sandwich, so cheap eats it’s not, but daay-yum, was it ever delicious. I found it quite filling, and just repeated my new mantra between ravenous bites: “Everything just costs more now, everything just costs more now.”
Next, I tried the OG burrito with sausage, eggs, aioli and, yes, TOTS.
Again, after another 20-minute ride, the tater tots had absolute crunchy integrity. The perfectly silky scrambled eggs also withstood the drive. There were jalapeño slices in this, upon request, but I still needed more heat. I tried the jalapeño salsa, and while it had a bright, fresh flavor, it was pretty mellow. El burrito itself had great flavor overall, and I’d get it again. Indeed, despite a couple of missteps, there isn’t anything I’ve tried that I wouldn’t get again.
I could have just kept doing this, trying item after delicious item, and just never finished this review, but I thought I’d end it with the Tia Maria, a mélange of eggs, plantains, salsa (I specified habanero), queso fresco, black beans, crema and, natch, tater tots.
My only complaint was that someone committed the cardinal sin of improper burrito assemblage: All the tots were hiding at one end! Everyone knows a successful burrito ensures that you get a taste of every ingredient in each and every bite. The tots at the end gave me the salty contrast to the sweet platanos that I’d been craving, especially with the habanero kick. I also ordered the smoky molcajete salsa on the side.
This is stick-to-your-ribs food, with zesty flavors, served hot of an early morning. If you prefer a sweeter start to your day, Breakfast Little has honey and peanut butter toasts, and the King Kong toast boasts a natural chocolate hazelnut spread and condensed milk. There are a couple more burritos I need to try, as well as the mollete toast (black beans, queso fresco and salsa) and the Mr. Fancy Pants (garlic olive oil, brie, mushrooms, and pepper honey). There’s oatmeal with various toppings and names like “Hey Sunshine,” and “Hey, This Is an Oatmeal!” to kick-start your day, as well as French toast, bowls of tots, coffee, chai latte, bittersweet or spicy Mexican mochas, and aguas frescas to quench your thirst. (There are also Breakfast Little Bites, kid-sized portions of some of your favorites, at a lower price point.)
Thanks for making breakfast exciting again, Chef Perez!
Breakfast Little (Instagram)
3275 22nd St.
San Francisco, CA 94110