Ham 'n Scram
5871 Westminster Ave.
Westminster, CA 92683
Katie and I have been doing a lot of walking lately. Of course one of the reasons for this is to get a little extra exercise, but I also have some ulterior motives. I usually try to pick walking trails that are next to places that I have wanted to try for a long while. So, after a five-mile walk along the San Gabriel River Trail in the Long Beach and Seal Beach area, we had worked up quite an appetite. This was reason enough to continue our quest to find a great breakfast burrito in OC, and we headed to a joint that we had heard great things about, Ham 'n Scram in Westminster.
Ham 'n Scram caught my attention when they were featured and finished third in a search for America's Best Burritos, which you can see the results here. This was pretty impressive because they were not only going up against a great list legendary burrito spots, but they also were up against all styles of burritos, not just the breakfast variety. Ham 'n Scram has also been highlighted in the OC Register, OC Weekly, The Fork Report, and Carson Daly's Radio Show. All of these gave glowing reviews.
Run by a father and son team, son Jeremy is the man in the kitchen, and dad Forrest runs the front of the house, expediting and taking orders, dishing out samples of their soups, dispensing with little jokes, which I'm sure he repeats hourly, and making sure all guests have everything that they need to make their burrito-eating experience everything that it should be. Forrest explained to us that since this is just a four-table restaurant, they want you to enjoy your ham, and then scram. It did not come across as a jerk thing to say, it's just the way it is at this almost always line out the door restaurant, which is located in one of the smallest strip malls you will ever visit, located just west of Springdale and Westminster Avenue.
We must have hit a rare time, because we had no problem getting one of their four tables, and went right inside to order at the counter. The menu here is pretty straight forward. They offer seven breakfast items, along with some sandwiches, and the aforementioned soup for people who want to forgo the first meal of the day. Ham 'n Scram is only open until 3 on weekdays, and 2 pm on weekends, so plan accordingly. Let's take a look at what has made this place such a cult favorite.
While our burritos were being prepared, we were brought out a sample of each of their soups that they had featured on this day. They were a Three Bean and a Split Pea. Katie and I had a difference of opinion on which one of these we liked better. She liked the three bean because it had bigger chunks of ham, which she felt highlighted their marquee item better. I enjoyed the smooth and easy split pea, which had a good consistency to it, and did not have to rely on big flavor from added meat. I'd really enjoy making it up here on a Friday when they offer their Ham Chowder, which I've heard good things about.
When Katie's Ham 'n Egg Burrito ($8.50) hit the table, I was immediately struck by the beauty of it. This burrito, also known as the original, comes with bacon, ham, egg, hash browns, bell pepper, onion, and cheese. Katie really liked this burrito. It had a real good smooth texture to it, the ham was prominent, and it was way more manageable than she had imagined it would be. She also was a fan of the salsa here, which did not overpower with spice but instead added a little moisture to this solid burrito.
When I saw that Ham 'n Scram offered a Double Meat Burrito ($10), of course, that's what I had to get. This is their original burrito, but with double the meat, which can never be a bad thing. Just like Katie, I really enjoyed this burrito. I loved that they grilled the tortilla, which added a subtle crunch to it. The guts of this burrito were very smooth. The cheese, eggs, and potatoes were creamy, while the ham added a nice smoky flavor. The bacon, onions, and bell pepper could have been more prominent, but I liked that this lacked a greasiness that a lot of breakfast burritos possess. I kind of felt that the salsa here was good for adding a little moisture to the burrito, but I should have gotten up to get some Cholula for an added flavor boost.
When we were leaving Ham 'n Scram, both Katie and I remarked that this is one of the lighter breakfast burritos we have consumed. These are not overly large breakfast burritos, but you will not leave here hungry. I'm usually not a ham guy, but the pork was good and tender here. As far as breakfast burritos that I've had so far, this one was good, but I still have to give a slight edge to the one that I had at Lucky Boy in Pasadena, and due to the inclusion of avocado, and other breakfast meats, I like the one I had at Nate's Korner in Santa Ana, slightly ahead of this one at Ham 'n Scram. Katie, however, claims that this is the best breakfast burrito she's had. I guess she likes a more basic version, while I enjoy more options when it comes to my breakfast burritos. Service here was very homey, and Forrest really made us feel welcome, and we enjoyed hearing his story and getting to see how proud he is of his product. It was well worth going through a five-mile walk to come here.
Out of five nuclear reactors, (because the emergency shutdown switch for a nuclear reactor is called a SCRAM), five being best to zero being worst, Ham 'n Scram gets 3.5 nuclear reactors.
For more information about Ham 'n Scram, head to their website here: http://hamnscram.com/