Showing posts with label mexico. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mexico. Show all posts

Eat Drink Style The Merry-Go-Round of Meat - Leo's Tacos, Mid City Los Angeles

Leo's Tacos, Mid City Los Angeles

Venice Blvd. A street filled with too many cars, sign-spinners on the corners and Affordable Portable cell phone stores all around. When I was working in this area near Culver City/Mid City, I'll admit, I wasn't very into it. It is cluttered, busy and pretty much in need of a major manicure. Walking around here, it was common to be approached by drugged up runaways or all-day bus riders – harassing me for some change. But this is Los Angeles, love it or leave it. The good thing is though, things get much better here in the cloak of darkness. After the sign spinners have spun their asses off, cell phone shops have closed and the day zombies have retreated, one thing does stand out on Venice Blvd. – the taco trucks.

I usually don't pay attention to the taco trucks for some reason. I love my taco stands and tables because I can stand there and watch. It's as close of an experience as you'll get in Mexico – it's real street food. Just visit York Blvd. in Highland Park or Pico Blvd. near Pico/Union area. When Jeni and I were in Mexico City last, there was sheer excitement and assurance. For what? For the fact that no matter which taquero we approached, we were in good hands. Tacos as low as 10 for $1. Nice.

But as usual, for the last 4-5 years, Bandini of Great Taco Hunt has scoured only the best for Angelenos. Although he doesn't favor the offals and entrails as much as I do, one thing he does love is al pastor. Especially from this particular truck on Venice Blvd. My friend, who some of you may know as the twitterific, Tricerapops, texted me one night to meet him here after he had read Bandini's posting. Yes sir! A man with triplets needs to get out and breath some smoggy LA air once in a while, right?

Leo's Tacos, Mid City Los Angeles

We parked in the taco truck lot, which was also a gas station, and met up with Tricerapops. There were about 10-15 people standing around. Some ordering from a cashier who stood outside the truck, some people loading up on their condiments and some people just hanging out.
Leo's Tacos, Mid City Los Angeles

Aside from the food being prepared in the truck, there were also a few people huddled around a spit. One look at the yellow object atop the spit like a star on a Christmas tree, I knew why Bandini had been so excited about this place. Al pastor con pina tacos... a Mexican favorite. Instead of the usual white onion placed on top for aroma, a pineapple is set in. From wikipedia, tacos al pastor is a dish that originates in Puebla, Mexico, by way of Lebanese immigrants. If you've had delicious shawerma, you've basically had a less spicy version of al pastor!

Leo's Tacos, Mid City Los Angeles

What is different here than other taco stands that offer pineapple with their al pastor tacos is that the pineapple is kept atop the spit. I'll explain why this is critical. Al pastor con piña isn't a new thing. Plenty of stands and trucks do offer the pineapple topping, but it's not the way I like it. I've eaten some taco stands run by families from Guerrero and Jalisco. I get really stoked when I see the pineapple on the spit but the horror begins once the taquero cuts the al pastor and pineapple slices onto the griddle. Aye! From there, they chop up the meat and fruit into something similar to a bizarre stir-fry from a bad Chinese take-out place. All they need now is hot & sour soup and a fortune cookie. Ugh! The 'Mexican stir-fry' is now flavored by the grease from the previous cooked meat, which could be anywhere from buche (pig stomach lining) to lengua. Not that it's a bad thing but flavors are lost! By now, your pineapple taco has gone from Mexico to China in like 5 seconds. Just not my thing. This needs a major rewind.

Leo's Tacos, Mid City Los Angeles

I stood by the taquero operating the spit. Like a cellist with his bow, he swipes the mass of meat with his sharp knife. In the other hand, a warm tortilla catches the fallen meat. The meat is moist, flavored nicely and never touches the griddle once.

Leo's Tacos, Mid City Los Angeles

And with one flick of the wrist, he lobs a thin slice of pineapple into the air and catches it with the taco "mit". All of this happening in pure harmony. This is not as easy as it looks because the taquero must also watch that the meat "merry-go-round" never gets burnt. He has to know when to turn the heat on or off. Not cooked long enough, you're going to get trichinosis. It's overcooked and you're suddenly eating at Chipotle. It has to be just right.

Leo's Tacos, Mid City Los Angeles

And here is the final product. The moist meat, red salsa and sweet, smoky pineapple slice marry together to become this small, flavor-packed bomb. And only $1. I do have to say that I think the salsas can use some work but as a whole this is the experience close as you'll get to Mexico City. The taqueros of Leo's are from Oaxaca, but they offer Mexico City-style (D.F.) . In all fairness, I have been here at least three times already and twice, the al pastor meat was perfect when the place was crowded. When the lines were dead, I noticed the meat was only mediocre. Just keep that in mind.

Leo's Tacos, Mid City Los Angeles

I also recommend trying the al pastor con piña in quesadilla form for a take on Mexican ham and pineapple "pizza". Ask for less cheese (poco queso) so that it doesn't overpower the delicate pork slices and pineapple. This was delicious – like candy!

Leo's Tacos, Mid City Los Angeles

Thanks for reading. And thanks to the Great Taco Hunter for everything he's eaten for us.

Leo's Tacos
La Brea/Venice (76 Gas Station)
Everyday 6 pm - 2 am

Eat Drink Style Mariscos Chente, Los Angeles - A Shrimp Morgue in Mar Vista

Mariscos Chente Camarones Aguachiles

It was a Saturday afternoon and I sat patiently hunched forward with hands crossed on a table with a lazy susan. Jeni was by my side and so was Eddie, Rickmond and Javier. Eddie, also known as the ultimate predator and every animal's/insect's worst nightmare had invited us to a day of adventurous eating. Just before, we had stomached a Filipino duck egg in its nascency – eyes sheathed with very thin veiny skin, claws just firm enough to give you a nice prick in the throat and enough feathers to remind you that you were in fact, consuming a dormant mammal. We had also just finished live spot prawns that jumped out of the pot brought out by the server. About 10 minutes before, they had added a Chinese rice wine and covered the shrimp with a lid, intoxicating them to a lethal state. We picked up the shrimp with our hands the second we their antennaes became limp. We took off their heads, exposing their brain and pulled off its shell. The shrimp was so sweet and fresh, and a few times, I thought I felt the pulse of the once alive shrimp on my tongue. It was exciting and unexpecting.

And now, we were up for the final dish, live lobster... sashimi. All of us looked at each other with confusion and excitement. Eddie saw the server coming through the double doors with a large platter, rubbing his hands together in sheer joy. When the server laid down the platter, we saw not one, but two lobsters. They faced each other on a bed of ice, with antennaes in full motion and making contact with each other. In between the two lobsters, was a small pile of light gray flesh resembling that of red snapper sushi. But then, there was something that caught out attention. The lobsters were moving, but it was only their head that remained. The thorax, abdomen and tail were nowhere to be seen. For a moment, there was an eerie silence. The server even looked at us to get our reaction, almost asking us through ESP, "are you really sure you want this?" We hesitated for a few seconds, and one after the other, we straightened our chopsticks and grabbed a piece of the flesh. I saw the lobster staring at me as I reached my chopsticks into the flesh pile in front of them, even brushing their antennaes. I dipped the lobster sashimi in the provided soy sauce and wasabi, which is not a typical condiment in a Chinese restaurant. I then put the piece of lobster in my mouth and looked at the lobster still alive and kicking. For a second I felt it was a bit wrong, but that quickly changed once my palate approved of the sashimi. My god, it was delicious. Sweet, beautiful texture and reminiscent of sweet shrimp (ama ebi). Once we had finished the sashimi, we cleaned out the heads of the lobsters and by this point, they had fortunately died. I wondered if they could see me eat them alive and I certainly hope they didn't. I felt as though I had walked away with murder and I'll never forget this delightful meal. Note: the lobster is very well dead upon being cut up and Eddie quotes that the remaining nerve or muscle reflexes will still be in effect for a little while.

Almost a year later, I was reminded of that occasion with the live lobsters the second I walked into Mariscos Chente in Mar Vista with my coworkers. With its white walls, green tables, blue-tiled floor, stainless steel metal and open dining area, I was mildly reminded of a morgue – a shrimp morgue to be exact. But I knew this place, much like any other humble Latino-run restaurant, was not about decor or adornments. They had something very delicious in store for us.

Mariscos Chente is run by Sergio Eduardo Penuelas and his wife, Maria. ("Chente" is short for Vicente (Vincent) in Spanish, which is Maria's fathers name – the original chef of MC's dishes.) They come from the Western Mexican states of Sinaloa, and Nayarit respectively – both of which offer an extensive list of seafood dishes. According to Street Gourmet LA's great discussion and review on Mariscos Chente, "it's Nayarit cuisine with a Sinaloan chef." I had eaten ceviche a dozen times, but had never tried Nayarit or Sinaloan-style food. Let's go.

Mariscos Chente Dos Equis Beer

Cubeta de Cerveza (Bucket of Beer)
Eating a Mexican seafood meal without some sort of alcoholic drink is simply immoral. Even more immoral than eating the flesh of a live lobster. The food gods will make sure you spend more time in the purgatory rather than ascending to heaven. Chef Sergio knows that, and that's why he endows you with your very own cubeta de cerveza... 6 beers for $15. Salud!

Mariscos Chente Marlin Tacos

Grilled Marlin Tacos
I watch a lot of Discovery Channel and National Geographic, especially the ocean related stuff. If there's one fish I do want to catch and cook up before I die, it's a marlin. Pretty easy stuff considering it'll only take 4 hours and rip off all the skin from your palms. This is one TOUGH fish and tough fish means tough meat. Right? Wrong. Leave it to Chef Sergio to give you some of the tastiest, smokiest marlin tacos you'll ever have. The meat has a consistency of pork and its super moist. A simple dip into the hot, cucumber-infused green hot sauce and you can relax knowing that Chef Sergio just saved you 4 punishing hours of skin-tearing pain on your palms. Guys will be grateful.

Mariscos Chente Shrimp Ceviche

Ceviche de Camaron
Your standard dish at any Mexican mariscos restaurant. But you'll notice a large portion of cucumbers are mixed in – that's because Nayarit and Sinaloa use it heavily in their cuisine. This ceviche was done very well. Just the right amount of lime and not too sour. The shrimp was well balanced with the cold tomato and cucumber cubes – altogether it was very refreshing. I would get this again and maybe even request an octopus (pulpo) version.

Mariscos Chente Coctel de Camarones y Pulpo

Coctel de Camaron y Pulpo (Shrimp & Octopus Cocktail)
Another standard dish that comes in a glass, rather than a plate. It's almost the same as ceviche only there is ketchup added. In addition to the freshness of the shrimp, octopus and vegetables, there was a nice smokiness in the juice and I can't quite figure out its origin. FYI, this is also the Mexican version of the "hair of the dog" and I believed it as we passed this along to everyone at the table. You will be completely sober after eating/drinking this. I have to say, I am now a huge fan of lime juice that is mixed with seafood, ketchup and veggies. Mmm, Sea Juice anyone?

Mariscos Chente Pulpo Camaron Coctel

Mariscos Chente Camarones Aguachiles

Camarones Aguachiles
And here is the reason why I deem Mariscos Chente as a shrimp morgue and why I am reminded of the "Day of the Living Lobsters". The server brought this out to us and we were immediately attracted to the dish. The shrimps were all facing outwards, staring at each one of us. Their bodies had been butterflied beautifully, and the flesh resembled a cape behind their heads. And they weren't flying anywhere else but into our stomachs. The plating of the butterflied-Shrimp with heads still attached and the combination of gray, green and purple colors immediately hit our brain as true food porn. It was naked. It was sexy. And it was true Mexican seafood. Aguachiles refers to the stellar sauce that Chef Sergio makes – a little lime, chiles and cucumbers are blended together in this harmonious sauce that accents the sweetness of the shrimp. Not quite as sweet as Spot Prawns but still delicious. I love the texture of raw shrimp.

Mariscos Chente Camarones a la Diabla

Camarones a La Diabla
The server set this down and immediately reminded of a massacre. The shrimp, some beheaded, lay on the plate amongst fallen comrades in their own blood pool. It was beautiful. Considered to be the spiciest of Chef Sergio's dishes, this is simply fantastic. Chef Sergio serves up the perfectly sautéed shrimp in a sauce made of two types of chili (Nuevo Mexico and Chili de Arbol), cooked onions and butter. I think I tasted a hint of beer but that could be from my cubeta de cerveza. I have never found a Mexican seafood sauce as spicy, buttery and smoky as this and we made sure to lick that plate clean. We added the rest of the sauce into the shrimp cocktail and jokingly told Sergio to check out our invention: Ceviche a la Diabla. He laughed and then walked away muttering... "pinche chino." Just kidding.

Mariscos Chente Camarones a la Diabla

Another Gratuitous View of Camarones a La Diabla
If Chef Sergio bottled this sauce up, he would make a fortune and shrimp would hate him forever.

Mariscos Chente Camarones a la Pimenta

Camarones a La Pimienta
I think these are in my top 3 of Sergio's shrimp dishes. I am a black pepper freak.

Mariscos Chente Camarones al Mojo

Camarones Checo
All you're going to taste in this is garlic, tons of spice and butter. You will love.

Mariscos Chente Camaron Borracho

Camarones Borachos
These shrimp are deep-fried, and then sautéed with Worcestershire sauce (Salsa de Ingleterra) and tequila. Wasn't my favorite because the shrimp was way overcooked. It was nothing like Japanese deep fried shrimpheads.

Mariscos Chente Carnage

Mariscos Chente Pescado Zarandeado

Pescado Zarandeado
And this is probably Sergio's most proud dish – the pescado zarandeado. The verb zarandear means to shake or stir, but it has nothing to do with this dish that requires grilling with a special robato tool. He uses a fish called Snook and after filleting it in half butterfly style, he adds a sauce made of soy sauce, limes and mayonnaise. The fish is then folded back into its original form and sent to grill hell. And this beauty is served upon a turquoise tray – I love it.

Mariscos Chente Pescado Zarandeado

Mariscos Chente Pescado Zarandeado

Mariscos Chente Chef Sergio Eduardo Penuelas

Chef Sergio Eduardo Penuelas
Here is the shrimp mortician himself. Everyday, he probably sacrifices over 3,000 shrimp. He is the nicest guy and I have to say, probably the best Mexican seafood chef I had ever met. My biggest problem with ceviche in general has been the overuse of lime more as a way to mask older seafood, rather than 'cook' the seafood. But Chef Sergio has helped me realize my love for Mexican seafood once again. His sensibility of adding just the right amount of everything is exhibited in every dish we tried.

Compared to your "standard" Mexican restaurant, there is a lot to be learned about Nayarit and Sinaloan cuisine as there are huge differences. We didn't get to try the Nayarit specialty, pescado zarandeado, which is a whole-grilled Snook fish marinated in soy sauce, lime, chipotle and mayo. It's supposed to be the most popular, if not best dish at Mariscos Chente. Nor did we get to try the many variations of sautéed shrimp in various sauces such as pepper and oil, butter, garlic and tequila. The good thing about Mariscos Chente is that the menu is small enough for you to complete in about 4-5 visits and it's comforting knowing that anything you do try will be made by a very talented, warm chef that will have you coming back more than once. Thanks for reading.

Mariscos Chente, Los Angeles

Mariscos Chente Carnage

Mariscos Chente
4532 S. Centinela Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90066
(310) 390-9241

Mariscos Chente reviews on Los Angeles Times, Street Gourmet LA and Exile Kiss.

Eat Drink Style Taco Stands Standing Tall: Los Angeles Taco Stands & Taco Tables

tacostands


***Update 10/6/10. This posting was written over 1.5 years ago and many of the taqueros no longer set up shop. The ones that do exist are Fletcher/Larga, Verdugo/Ave. 31, a few on York Blvd. and Pasadena Ave./Figueroa. Happy taco hunting.***

I remember working till 1 am one night. I was exhausted and driving back home on the 10 freeway. The last time I had eaten was 5 pm and I was starving. At this point, I was ready to go home and sleep, but my brain made me double-check the hunger department. Yes, you did eat earlier today. But did you have double dinner? Why no i didn't! Something about me when I work late, I feel like I should reward myself for burning the midnight oil. Ok then, let's find something else to eat for all the hard work. When you're looking for late night eats, Los Angeles provides the options. I exited the freeway off the Vermont exit and immediately became happy because I was in food-hawk mode. I put both hands on the steering wheel and ducked my head lower to check out my options on the left and rightside.

Bland-looking burger joint. Probably too greasy.
Jack in the Box. Greasy and probably a long ass line in the drive-thru.
Korean-style pho. No, especially when you have to ask for cilantro.
24-hour diner. I'm not paying $13 for ham & eggs.
Taco trucks. The obvious choice but I'm kinda tired of it.

I was already nearing home and quickly becoming concerned that I had not made a food decision yet. It usually does not take me this long to consider what I'll eat. I stopped at an intersection and watched as cars crossed. Suddenly, as the last car passed and the light turned green, I noticed four blurry white lights. Like a moth in flight, I became drawn to it and hit the gas pedal. As i drew closer to the source, I noticed that the four lights were actually Home Depot clamp lamps on a pole. There was a crowd of people huddling around the light source like a campfire. And then I could see that they were huddling around a man and a woman behind a table. Oh yes. It could only mean one thing: taco stand, or as I refer to them, taco tables because they use folding tables to set up shop. I pulled over to the side and parked. Business time.

As I walked towards the taco vendor, I suddenly time traveled to Oaxaca, when Jeni and I were on a taco hunt. A boombox on medium volume playing Spanish music. A child, bundled in a jacket, sitting on a little chair cupping warm Horchata with both little hands. Patrons talking quietly among their friends. And finally, the sound of metal spatulas clanking the griddle top as the vendors cook up their meaty offerings. I asked what the taqueros had to offer besides the beautiful orange spit of spiced pork. The man smiled and removed the foil from one of his trays, bearing fresh lengua and cabeza. The vapors rose from the pan, giving a nasal teasing. I ordered my tacos and Jarritos, paid the lady and moved on to the 'salad bar' – a smorgasbord of taco accoutrements such as salsa, salt & pepper, curtido (spicy, pickled veggies) and napkins. I walked back towards the curb behind some patrons and quietly enjoyed my little snack, muttering groans of satisfaction. This is all I needed at 1:30 in the morning, and for me, was the true taco experience. All of this set within a auto repair shop backdrop on a busy street in Los Angeles.

It's not that you couldn't get the same quality tacos from trucks. You definitely can. But for me, there are little things that do it for me. While trucks can operate in rain or shine, they pretty much sell tacos all day long for a living. For the people running the taco stands/tables, they are usually families making extra money every night after their primary jobs. And in some cases, the vendors I've spoken with are even employees that station themselves in front of their own businesses/workplace. It's a lot of work and I am more drawn to them because its a method of business practiced heavily in Mexico, that I want to support. It's real street food.

I hate to mention the 'B' word, but taco tables give you a Mexican Benihana experience. Disclaimer: I do not eat there nor will I ever again. You know Benihana. It's the type of restaurant that seats you around your own 'chef' and grill. The actual quality of the food is usually masked by whatever circus act the 'chef' has to offer. Will it be the blindfolded, juggling of shrimp? The knife stab between the v-shaped space of your spread fingers? Or my favorite, the 'onion volcano' which consists of butter being cooked inside a well created by stacked onions, causing rising vapor like a semi-dormant volcano. Whatever the case, it's pleasing to the senses. Taco trucks have been under fire over the last year or two by the City, and there has been an emergence of taco tables because of the relatively low overhead, compared to a truck that costs upward of $50,000. At a taco table, I'm more hungry than I would be at a taco truck. I can see, smell, hear and ultimately taste the food. And with a truck, I can get good tacos but not quite the same experience.

Here are a few places I've stumbled upon in Los Angeles, mainly in the Koreatown, Echo Park and Highland Park areas. I'd like to do the East LA and Huntington Park area next. You should be the judge though. Some are great, some aren't. Even my favorite places have had bad days and some don't even show up like they say they will. Sometimes when I go too late to a stand, the results aren't as desirable because the meat has been sitting out too long or the vendor isn't willing to make a new batch. And I sort of like the unpredictability of it. It goes back to the the caveman days where we had to forage for food that was available. I've listed the meats each vendor offers and you can see what the abbreviations mean in a few moments.

Few Things to Consider
:
(1) All the taco vendors listed here are $1. Break down your Grants and Franklins prior to.

(2) If it's raining or extremely cold, taqueros probably won't be there.

(3) Al Pastor with pineapple on top is tasty. Ask them for a slice or have them sauté with the meat.

(4) Buche and tripas can be gummy sometimes. Say the magic words "mas dorado(a), por favor" and you'll get them fried longer. Tasty.

(5) I recommend ordering two tacos at a time and eating them right away for maximum enjoyment. Tacos do harden and get cold after like 2 minutes. The vendors aren't going anywhere, so take your time.

(6) They say you can gauge a taco stand/truck by its carne asada or al pastor. But to tell you the truth, I usually stick with the buche, cabeza and lengua and really don't remember how the asada tasted. If it was good, I'd remember it. I RARELY ever come across bad buche, cabeza and lengua since they are cooked with simple techniques that don't require heavy marinating.

(7) Again, the later you go to a taco stand, the better chance of your meat being either (a) dried out or (b) burnt to an unidentifiable state. Take for example, the Taco Zone truck on Alvarado in front of Vons in Echo Park, which receives much praise from the Yelp army, has its on and off days. And I've noticed it's off-days are usually when I get the tacos from 12 am - 2 am.

Cow Chart

Asada (CA) - flap/flank/skirt meat. Usually grilled. Sometimes fried in oil.
Suadero (SU) - brisket. Fried in lard/roasted.
Lengua (LN) - cow tongue. Steamed/braised.
Cabeza (CZ) - head meat and cheek meat (cachete). Steamed.

Pig Chart

Carnitas (CR) - pork shoulder/picnic/butt. Fried in lard/roasted.
Al Pastor (AP) - pork shoulder/butt. Spiced and marinated over a day and roasted on a spit. Originated in Mexico City by Lebanese immigrants. An onion or pineapple is usually placed above the spit for extra flavoring. Try with pineapple!
Buche (BU) - pork belly/pig stomach lining/hog maw. Fried in lard. My favorite taco filling. When fried longer adds a nice texture.
Tripas (TR) - pig intestines/chitterlings. Washed, boiled and fried. People love these for the texture and 'filling'.

YN

CA, CZ, LN, AP, CH, BU, TR.
I found this stand by accident when looking for The York. They are situated in a car body shop and always have people eating here - good sign #1. Good sign #2, everyone there stares at me like I'm from outer space which should tell you the food is authentic. Good sign #3 is explained in the following image.

YN Pot2

YN Pot1

This is exactly what I look for in a taco stand/table. A pot of various meats cooking in oil. Here you can see carne asada, tripas and buche all having a good time in the hot tub. I just shed a tear. It's not a wonder that you're asada might taste like buche. This is the first place I'll stop at during a Highland Park taco hop. I always enjoy their cabeza, lengua and of course, buche fried crispy. They also offer a habanero curtido – onions, oregano and habanero peppers!

YN CA

YN AP

YN TR

FL1

CA, CZ, LN, SU, AP, CH, BU, TR.
This is also my go-to place if I don't feel like venturing into Eagle Rock/Highland Park. A lot of people from Red Lion Tavern, Cha Cha Lounge and Home frequent this place off Fletcher Drive. And with good reasons behind it. I always get welcomed with friendly smiles and before I usually order anything one of the guys there assumes I want my buche fried longer. That is service. This place is one of two stands that offers suadero (brisket) and it's quite moist and tasty (pictured below). I recommend buche, cabeza, al pastor and suadero with an ice cold Jarritos.

FL SU

FL CZ

FL AP

AK

CA, CZ, LN, CR, CH, BU, TR.
This taquero offers a different style of curtido. It's more of a cabbage and cucumber salad that balances out a spicy taco. I enjoyed the carnitas, buche and cabeza here.

AK CA

AK CZ

AK CR

VL

CA, CZ, LN, AP, CR, BU, PL.
If you happen to be doing your laundry in the Virgil/Santa Monica Blvd. area, do it where this taco stand sets up. I arrived right on the dot at 6 pm while they were setting up and I knew things would be fresh. The girl working there strongly recommended their chicken and it was really good. I enjoyed the cabeza and chicken.

VL CA

VL CZ

VL AP

VV

These guys do the hot tub thing. First thing I saw when I got there was buche being made. Mmm. I enjoyed the buche and cabeza.

VV Buche

VV CA

VV CZ

VV BU

AG

CA, AP, TR.
Back to Highland Park, this guy is from Guerrero and is one of the the few stands that I have seen offering al pastor con piña, which is one of my favorites. I also refer to him as Disco Ball (pelota de disco) taco man since he had a disco ball tied to his stand. They also offer grilled cactus (nopales) for your tacos as well as a relish or pico de gallo with nopales. If you have not tried grilled cactus, it's kind of like a bell pepper with a slimy texture, similar to Japanese mountain yams and natto. Ask the nice man for his 'hot cookie' drink. It's something 'galletas' in Spanish and it's tasty on a cold night. I enjoyed the al pastor and tripas. He seems to favor tripas because there's always tons of it on the grill. A disco ball, tacos and some house music and you've got yourself a party.

AG Pastor Spit

AG Tacos

Guerreros

CA, AP, BU, PL.
These guys are statione right in front of the Guerrero Meat market and also serve the al pastor con piña. They offer grilled cebollitas (green onions) and nopales with your tacos. Nice guys.

GM Tacos

WB

CA, CZ, LN, AP, BU, TR.
Found these guys when I decided not to take the freeway and I'm glad I didn't. I enjoyed the al pastor and buche. There was a nice guy eating there as well and told me to try tacos another way. Order one soft taco, and one cooked a bit more crisp... put them together and you have a dual textured taco. I didn't know if he was making this up or talking about Taco Bell's latest caloric delight.

WB CA

WB AP

WB BU


V31

CA, CZ, LN, SU, AP, BU, TR, PL
These guys are loved by the Yelp army. Probably because it's the closest taco stand for patrons of my favorite bar, The Verdugo in Glassell Park. I had tried to find them at least five times – either missing them or not being able to find them due to their frequent location changes. And like a moth, I drove down this really dark part of Verdugo Rd. and found the brightest lights along the sidewalk. The stand was covered by big trucks, probably done intentionally. The people running this here are young and very nice people. Tacos are served the way I like them... small tortillas, small portion of meat. $.80 for one taco. They also offer gorditas for $3. I enjoyed the asada, al pastor, buche (already crisped up) – my favorites being the cabeza and suadero. 5 pm - 11 pm, everyday except Thursday.

V31 CA

V31 SU

V31 CZ

V31 AP

V31 BU

Thanks for reading and enjoy it all as much as I do.