Diana’s Mexican Food is an old-fashioned family business that was started in 1969 by Samuel and Hortensia Magana, who named the company after their first daughter, Diana. They started out with a small grocery store in Gardena and soon opened tortillerias, a bakery, and a tamale-making plant. When they opened a corn tortilla plant in El Monte in 1991, they added a small restaurant. The popular eatery has expanded to six locations around Southern California.
The Carson location is the one my family has patronized for many years. Besides buying our masa and tortillas there, it is a favorite lunch spot. Diana’s extensive menu rivals that of Jerry’s Deli. The restaurant serves complete breakfasts, both Mexican and American. Other specialties include Birria, Lengua en Mole, Lamb Barbacoa and even Cornish Game Hens. But we are completely obsessed with one thing: their burritos.
The asada is made with ribeye so you don’t have the usual bits of gristle that can ruin carne asada. The beef in red sauce consists of hearty chunks of beef simmered for hours until tender; it is probably my favorite burrito. I am also a big fan of their chile relleno burrito. The chiles are seed-free, a small detail often overlooked. The chicken mole is dark and intense, with a discernible chocolate flavor. Other fillings include chorizo, machaca, and barbacoa. You can order your burritos mojado (wet), but I prefer the warm, fresh tortilla in its simple glory.
There are a few different burrito sizes available, and this is where things get interesting. The mini burritos start at six dollars and are the size that everyone else in the world would call a normal burrito. Their normal burrito is huge. But the most exciting thing about Diana’s is that you can order a 3-foot or 6-foot burrito for your special event. The 6-footer is only $150. You would think it might get cold, but the circumference is huge, which helps keep everything warm. I can’t wait until my next party!
Carson: La Bonita Restaurant
(Restaurant, Delicatessen & Tortilleria) 300 E. Sepulveda Blvd., Carson CA 90745
Huntington Park: Diana’s Restaurant 6035 Pacific Blvd., Huntington Park CA 90255
Norwalk: Delicatessen, Tortilleria & Panaderia 16330 Pioneer Blvd., Norwalk CA 90651
Gardena: Market, Deli and Bakery 16529 S. Normandie Ave., Gardena CA 90247
El Monte: Restaurant, Delicatessen & Tortilleria 2905 N. Durfee Ave., El Monte CA 91732
Maywood: Diana’s Tortilleria 4114 East Slauson Ave. Maywood, CA 90270
Bell: Diana’s Restaurant 4333 E. Florence Ave., Bell, Ca 90201