A Taco Journey: Carne Asada, Al Pastor, Pacific Spiny Lobster, and more - Leo's Tacos #2, Tire Shop Tacos, Revolutionario, Ricky's Fish Tacos, Guerilla, BS Taqueria and more!


#182

Hi @PorkyBelly,

Thanks. Yes! I was thinking of you when we had the Tocino Taco, LOL. That Pork Belly they have at Taco Maria was really, really good. :slight_smile:

Hi @Helper_Monkey,

Thanks. I wish I could go visit more. I’m not as thorough as our veteran FTC’ers or our old Hounds. I can’t afford it, or the time most of the time.


#183

Hi @bulavinaka,

I thought they had an open grill, but I saw a flat top part as well I think. The $26 Steak we ordered did have some mesquite smokiness (finally), but not on their Carne Asada Tacos.


#184

Went to Rocio’s once (the move must’ve happened fairly recently, b/c I could’ve sworn it was less than a year ago), and I LOVE it. From the presentation (stark and spare but elegant) to the way the food tasted (of course), there was such a thoughtfulness and elegance. Although I did find the tortillas just a wee bit too thick. :wink: Sad to hear she’s moved, although glad she’s still cooking at all.

I really want to try Taco Maria b/c of all the raves reviews, but it’s just SO far. But maybe one day. :slight_smile:


#185

Your review is just glorious, @Chowseeker1999! I’d nominate you for president!

Ah, I miss Rocio’s so much… I was hoping that they’d be able to recover from the arson attack in the valley. Looks like a trip to Bell Gardens is now in order.


#186

I had the same general experience at Taco Maria. The fish taco and tocino are incredible–two of the very best tacos I have ever had. The carne asada and vegetarian tacos were just ok.


#187

I think if that setup doesn’t allow the smoke from the mesquite to rise up through the grill and on the meat, no smoke for flavor. Also, the fat and juices that drip down onto the coals and return upward as smoke offer flavor as well. I know this is obvious too us, but I have to wonder if it has come to mind with the kitchen.


#188

Hi @paranoidgarliclover,

Cool, glad you like Rocio’s as well. :slight_smile: Which Moles did you like the most from the menu?

Yah, when I heard about the fire, and Rocio’s restaurant burning down, I was sad, but I’m glad she’s recovered and moved to Bell Gardens, which is much closer than Sun Valley LOL.

I didn’t get a chance to try her Tortillas at either of her other locations, but at her new one, I thought the density was on par with Broken Spanish’s awesome Heirloom Tortillas, and really nice and toasty. :slight_smile: Thanks.


#189

As an FYI: Loqui is officially out of the Carne Asada game and are now doing pork taco’s which look to be braised and kept on the steam table. It was a good and nicely garnished, the fresh tortilla was perfectly cooked.


#190

Hi @Selfportrait93,

Nice! Glad you like Tire Shop Taqueria. :slight_smile: Hope you get a chance to try La Carreta one of these days and would love to hear your thoughts on the place. :slight_smile: (And don’t forget to try a Chorreada as well when you go.)

Hi @aaqjr,

Wow, good update! I’ll update my post above with that info. I guess they couldn’t make it work with Carne Asada. Love their Mushrooms though.


#191

I am glad you enjoyed Los Poblanos!!

Don’t forget about the complimentary beans and grilled chile peppers.


#192

Update 11:

A few more Taco spots were recommended to us over the past few months, so it was time for another journey. :slight_smile:

Avenue 26 Taco Stand

Someone had mentioned this little Taco setup on Avenue 26 and we were excited to try it out.

As we walked up, the smell of grilled meat was wafting all the way down the street. I was really looking forward to this. :slight_smile:

Asking the friendly staff up front, he mentioned that Suadero was their specialty, so we started with a Suadero (Specific Cut of Beef) Taco:

The Suadero was a bit chewy and salty. It was pretty decent, but nothing worth driving across town for.

Carne Asada Taco:

Their Carne Asada had no smokiness, and was mainly salty and greasy. It tasted like a standard Carne Asada Taco you’d find at many Taco trucks / stands around town.

Still at $1.25 per Taco, it is cheap and reasonable if you’re in the area.

The one absolute highlight at Avenue 26 are their free Stewed / Boiled Potatoes. As we were getting out order and Salsa, one of the servers asked us if we wanted these Potatoes. They cook them in the same pot as their other meats (shown in the pic above), and have a deep, delicious flavor. Really unique for a Taco stand. And it made the visit much more enjoyable. :slight_smile:

(Cash Only)

Avenue 26 Taco Stand
W. Ave 26 and Humboldt Street
Los Angeles, CA 90031

A Cut Above

The interesting Butcher Shop on the Westside featuring Pasture-Raised, All Natural, Nose-to-Tail Meat selections happened to also be serving Grass-Fed Beef Tacos. We had to try this as well:

Spicy Grass-Fed Beef Barbacoa Taco (with Shredded Cabbage, Red Onion, Cilantro):

First, the quality of the Grass-Fed Beef was without question. It had a gamier, beefy flavor that’s inherent with good Grass-Fed Beef. Unfortunately (as it is with Grass-Fed Beef), it’s really lean, and the Beef was stringy. :frowning: There was a nice kick in spice levels, but the Barbacoa sauce made it feel oversauced and a bit sweet as well (almost BBQ-like).

At $3.50 per Taco this is still reasonable considering the quality of Beef, but we had hoped the flavors and texture of the Beef were better.

A Cut Above
2453 Santa Monica Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Tel: (310) 998-8500

http://www.acabutchershop.com/

Amor Y Tacos

We were really looking forward to this place, hearing many people talk about how inventive their Tacos were. Located in a less busy area of Cerritos, Amor Y Tacos is the brainchild of Chef-Owner Thomas Ortega (who also runs Ortega 120).

Their interior is kitschy, wacky, yet also warm and inviting.

They make their own Tortillas by hand, which is a nice touch, and a good sign. :slight_smile:

Complimentary Chips & Salsa:

Tasted fine; nothing to write home about.

Agua Fresca: Watermelon:

Refreshing, but a bit too sweet.

The Tacos arrived:

Tinga de Pollo Taco (Salsa Verde, Cotija Cheese, Cilantro Radish, Crema):

The first thing that hit the senses was the funky aroma of their Cotjia Cheese. It’s more noticeable than many types of Cotija I’ve had at other places. Then the Crema and Salsa Verde dominate the Taco.

Short Rib Taco (Burnt Habenero Crema, Caramelized Onion, Queso Fresco, Micro Cilantro, Pickled Radish):

Another Taco that sounded delicious (who doesn’t love slow-cooked Short Rib?), but the funk of their Cheese hit the senses immediately. The actual Short Rib was more discernible this time (compared to the Chicken), being somewhat tender, but not as mouth-wateringly succulent as great Short Rib dishes can be. The Crema, Cilantro and Cheese (similar ingredients in the previous Taco) prevailed.

Al Pastor Taco (Avocado Salsa, Charred Pineapple, Cotjia Cheese, Cilantro):

I didn’t see any Trompo in the kitchen when we peaked, but I was still hopeful. The Al Pastor was sadly a far cry from Leo’s Tacos famous Al Pastor. The Pork was dry, the Pineapple finally gave this Taco a standout quality (compared to the previous ones), but the Cotija Cheese once again overpowered the Taco.

Carnitas Taco (Amor Salsa, Salsa Avocado, Pickled Onion, Cotija Cheese, Cilantro):

At this point it became apparent that Amor Y Tacos is in the “Big, Wild Flavors!” category of cooking. Like the Super Unicorn Dragon Philly Cream Cheese Sushi Rolls, their flavoring was just heavy-handed and excessive. :frowning: The Carnitas had a very similar flavor profile to all the Tacos we had today, literally tasting mainly of pungent Cheese and Cilantro (and usually some creamy sauce).

The Carnitas were a bit stringy and nothing like the gorgeous porcine flavors of Villa Moreliana, Carnitas Uruapan and a few other specialists around town.

Carne Asada Taco (Salsa de Arbol, Avocado, Cotija Cheese, Cilantro, Onions):

Their Carne Asada lacked any smokiness. It was thankfully tender, but once again, Cheese & Cilantro dominated the flavors. Tacos La Carreta (at $1.25) were far more enjoyable.

Rajas con Queso Taco (Amor Salsa, Cilantro, Queso Fresco):

Their Vegetarian Taco was a large chunk of Cheese, Bell Peppers and Cilantro and Queso Fresco. This one was actually the most distinct and enjoyable Taco. A nice crunch and some melting Cheese, but not much else.

Rice & Beans:

Their Pinto Beans actually showed restraint, and were quite tasty (not refried), being moderately salted and seasoned, while the Rice was rather salty and unremarkable.

The Tacos are an affordable $3 / Taco, but unfortunately their seasoning and ingredients feel like someone trying to be like Guerilla Tacos, but just throwing way too many flavors on top of the core protein, overpowering and covering up, rather than enhancing. :frowning:

Amor Y Tacos
13333 South Street
Cerritos, CA 90703
Tel: (562) 860-2667

http://amorytacos.com/

Guerilla Tacos (Revisit)

This week’s menu at Guerilla Tacos sounded intriguing, and as a sanity check, we wanted to see how Chef Wes Avila’s gourmet Tacos compared, because Guerilla can use some outrageous (in a good way) ingredients.

Agua Fresca: Strawberry & Pineapple Juice:

Their Agua Fresca today was fresh-ground Strawberries with Pineapple mixed together. It was delicious, lightly sweet (not overly sweetened) and tasting like natural fruit rather than something synthetic. Delicious! :slight_smile:

Eggplant Taco (Red Pepper Escabeche, Fried Cheese, Dried Figs, Hazelnut, Parsley):

Absolutely DELICIOUS! :blush:

The Eggplant is the star here, slow-roasted, soft, almost luscious, and the Fried Cheese is soft and melty, and it serves to embrace all the other ingredients, adding some cohesion. The Red Pepper Escabeche adds just a bit of tartness, while the Dried Figs add a little bit of sweetness, and the Hazelnuts are fresh and toasted, adding a beautiful nutty finish.

THIS is how you do “gourmet / new flavors” for Tacos (unlike what Amor Y Tacos was trying to do). No ingredient overpowered anything else; well-balanced, subtle, yet distinct. Just outstanding! :slight_smile:

Cauliflower Taco (Burnt Tomato Chile, Castelvetrano Olives, Dates, Pistachios, Chives):

Another outstanding Taco! The Cauliflower retained a distinct spotlight with each bite, accented and complemented by the Housemade Burnt Tomato Chile, the Castelvetrano Olives were surprisingly delicate, with the Dates and Pistachios adding just the right balance of sweet and nutty here as well, but distinct from the Eggplant Taco. Wonderful! :slight_smile:

Soft Shell Shrimp Torta (Habanero Salsa, Heirloom Tomatoes, Chipotle Crema, Cabbage Slaw):

Fantastic! The Soft Shell Shrimp was like Soft Shell Crab, crispy and soft enough to eat the Shrimp and Shell. The Shrimp had a good brininess, and one of them had Roe (so good!) :slight_smile:, and it worked really well with their 2 Housemade Salsas. Note that their Habenero was incendiary! :open_mouth: A strong burst of heat, but then it subsided after a few minutes. :sweat_smile:

Chef Avila continues to deliver some excellent flavors (rotating each week, with new seasonal items). We can’t wait for his brick and mortar to finally open. :slight_smile:

Guerilla Tacos
Check their Website for Latest Locations and New Menu each Week:

http://www.guerrillatacos.com/

Tacos El Jefe

As we were driving around the city, another Taco truck caught my eye, with a large crowd. We decided to stop by to check it out. :slight_smile:

It turns out Tacos El Jefe while offering a variety of meats specializes in Suadero.

Suadero Taco:

According to Wikipedia, Suadero is a special cut of Beef between the belly and the leg. Regardless, Tacos El Jefe’s Suadero was tender, very well seasoned and pretty tasty! :slight_smile: It had the taste of being slow-cooked, with special attention to seasonings. I would order this again.

Note: The friendly server recommended using their Habenero Salsa (the orange colored one) to pair with this Taco and it was spot-on! Really nice pairing. :slight_smile:

Cabeza Taco:

Made from the meat from the head portion, this was decent, but not really amazing. Still pretty tasty, and at $1.25 it’s just fine.

(Cash Only)

Tacos El Jefe
2377 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90006

Tel: (323) 334-8039

Tacos La Guera (Revisit)

Being right down the street from El Jefe was the excellent newcomer to the Taco scene, Tacos La Guera. It was time for a revisit (that, and our friends who tagged along insisted we try their Al Pastor again to see how it compared to Leo’s and other places). :wink:

There was a massive crowd tonight, and their Trompo was out in full force:

Al Pastor Taco:

Absolutely delicious! :blush: Tacos La Guera’s Al Pastor Tacos were just as good as Leo’s Tacos on this night. Crisped edges of juicy Pork, well-seasoned, more salty than sweet (which is good), and the Pineapple slice giving it just the extra sweetness to balance it all out.

Suadero & Buche Tacos (Suadero in the front of the pic):

This journey somehow turned into a Suadero exploration for some reason, LOL, but La Guera’s Suadero is another specialty of theirs. This was much more tender, luscious and just more delicious than El Jefe’s version (which wasn’t bad at all). La Guera’s is more like a stew, and there are tender lean and fatty bits of slow-cooked Beef. Really delicious! :wink:

Their Buche Taco (Pork Stomach) was also quite good. Also stewed then seared on the flat top, it was one of the better Buche Tacos we’ve had recently. :slight_smile:

At $1.25 / Taco for some of the best Al Pastor and Suadero in town, it’s a real bargain! :slight_smile: Thanks again to @Sgee for the tip on this place.

(Cash Only)

Tacos La Guera
(Evenings only, Mon - Thurs, 5:00 p.m. - Midnight; Fri - Sun, 5:00 p.m. - 1:00 a.m.)
Pico Blvd. & Hobart Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90006

Tacos Estilo D.F. (MLK & Hobart Blvd.)

Thanks to @Mattapoisett_in_LA, we headed off to try this new Taco stand that he just ran into recently. It seems relatively unknown as there was only 1 other group there besides us.

They had a Trompo out, but it was sadly on low heat, and they would slice some of the meat off and cook it on the flat top grill instead of just slicing it off the Trompo.

Al Pastor Tacos:

They were tasty. They lacked the searing and flavoring of Leo’s Tacos and Tacos La Guera’s amazing Al Pastor, but they were well-seasoned and a nice balance of salty and sweet.

Volcanes (Al Pastor, Refried Beans, Queso):

The owner(?) mentioned they had a specialty to recommend: Volcanes, which he explained to be a crisped Tortilla shell, topped with Refried Beans, choice of meat (he recommended the Al Pastor), and then Cheese, which he then proceeded to invert and sear on the flat top(!).

The result is a ridiculously tasty crunchy, meaty, seared cheese (crisped on the outside, melty on the inside) treat that probably belongs in the Hungry / Drunk thread. LOL. :slight_smile: This was quite good!

At $1.25 / Taco this was another bargain and a nice alternative if you’re closer to this corner than Leo’s or La Guera.

(Cash Only)

Tacos Estilo D.F.
W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. & Hobart Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90062
Tel: (323) 947-5232

Barbacoa y Birria Estilo Taxco Guerrero (Revisit)

With the weather cooling down, it was time to revisit one of our all-time favorites.

Handmade Tortillas, being made fresh for each order:

Agua Fresca: Jamaica (Hibiscus Flower Drink):

Not too sweet. Refreshing. :slight_smile:

Consomme (Lamb Soup):

Delicate, not too salty, clean, pure Lamb Soup. Our favorite Lamb Consomme in town! :blush:

Lamb Pancita Taco (Lamb Stomach, Organs Blend):

Just as fresh, bright and minerally and funky as before! :smile: Definitely for fans of Offal like @theoffalo. :slight_smile: This was quite good, even for me (that doesn’t eat much Lamb Offal).

Lamb Maciza Taco (Lamb Shoulder / Leg Meat):

Wonderfully juicy, succulent, tender morsels of Lamb Shoulder & Lamb Leg Meat. Nicely seasoned, not too salty and just fragrant. My favorite Lamb Tacos in L.A.! :heart:

Lamb Faldita Taco (Lamb Skirt Steak):

Today we got to try their Faldita cut of their Whole Lamb Barbacoa, which is described to us as the “Lamb Skirt Steak.” It is delicious, a bit fatty with lean meat as well, and more lush than the Lamb Shoulder.

Birria Taco (Goat):

And we had to try their amazing Goat Birria Tacos again. More intense, gamy but still tender and juicy. Outstanding and also our favorite Goat Tacos around. :slight_smile:

This was another fun Taco journey. Can’t wait to see what other awesome Tacos arrive in the coming year! :slight_smile:

Saturday & Sundays Only
7:00 a.m. - Lamb is sold out

(CASH ONLY)

Barbacoa y Birria Estilo Taxco Guerrero
5609 McKinley Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90011
(323) 359-9571


#193

Absolutely , a stellar review and pictures . I’ll tuck this in my folder for reference when I return .


#194

Ahhhh you didn’t get the potatoes from Ave 26!!! They are free and they cook them in that pot of offal.

The free potatoes are a must at Ave 26

That eggplant taco at Guerilla looks so tasty.


#195

Favorite? I’ve never even heard of it. But now I must try it. :slight_smile:


#196

Thanks @Emglow101. Hope you get to try some of the delicious Taco places when you come back to visit. :slight_smile:


#197

Hi @JeetKuneBao,

Oh! We did. I just forgot to take a picture and forgot to write about it, LOL. :sweat_smile: I’ll update my post now on thoughts. (they were great! :slight_smile: Thanks.

And yes, that Eggplant Taco from Guerilla was really tasty.


#198

I think of Amor y Tacos as a good Mexican American restaurant, maybe I’m the only one but it sets the expectation level right.


#199

We need you to do one on gringo tacos.
then pizza
then burgers.
get to work.
:slight_smile:


#200

Great update!

Glad to hear La Guera is still good. Btw I finally got a chance to check out Barbacoa y Birria Estilo Taxco Guerrero, loved it - terrific consomme as you noted.


#201

my rec goes to el taco llama in van nuys for their gringo tacos with al pastor

I vouch for nothing else except these tacos and their beans/chips, with the caveat that occasionally the al pastor is way too greasy. the al pastor is the abodoba style vs trompo style.