@Aesthete yah it’s weird. The first two times I went, the locally made tortillas were fine (they held the fillings no breakage). The last time I went, 2 of the tacos’ started breaking up before I finished them. I mentioned it to the person behind the counter and they mentioned it might’ve been inconsistent thickness due to the handmade aspect?
Next time I go I hope it’s back to normal. Their tacos are so good!
Update 4: Petty Cash Taqueria (Arts District / Downtown L.A.)
I have largely avoided Petty Cash since I read the early reports on our old board from many respected members, talking about the overpriced nature and the so-so taste. But with Petty Cash Taqueria opening up in Downtown L.A. and with a year gone by, I was hoping it might be better than the reports I had read so far.
Located around the corner from Bestia, the new Petty Cash Arts District is this weird mixture of wanna-be street + hipster (see the entrance) flowing into a gastropub / brick / low-lighting feel in the main dining room.
Petty Cash’s claim to fame is partially based on a menu created by consulting Chef Walter Manzke. I enjoy many of the dishes at Manzke’s Republique, so how bad could the tacos be here?
It sounds great (using Cook’s Ranch natural pork), but the taste is just OK. The pork is crisped, with a tender fattiness, but it tastes old. In addition at $6 for a single taco(WTH?!) the picture I took is a zoomed in shot. It is seriously only slightly bigger than a regular street taco. Villa Morelianas (my fav Carnitas specialist in the city)'s Carnitas Tacos are only $2.50 and it’s easily about 250% LARGER than this, and it tastes far better.
Prime Rib Carne Asada Taco (w/ Refried Beans, Guacamole):
I was so looking forward to this taco, extremely curious what Prime Rib might taste like in taco form… only, what you get is a smallish taco with a mound of WELL-DONE Bland Beef. There’s so little taste (no beefy quality), and it was well-done (waste of beef). And it was $6 for this single round of travesty. Avoid.
Wood-Fired Octopus Taco (with Chile de Arbol, Peanuts, Jack Cheese, Avocado):
Seriously, $6 for a small fish taco that features overcooked, dryish, tough fish?! I’m not being glib when I say that the fish tacos I’ve had at Wahoo’s and Sharky’s taste about the same (and were cheaper). Ugh.
Al Pastor Taco (Adobo Chile-rubbed Pork Leg, Pineapple, Avocado):
MUCH better! Phew! Leo’s Taco Truck #1’s Al Pastor is savory, moist, and so much better than Petty Cash’s version, and only $1 a taco compared to $6. Although I feel that Leo’s recipe or execution has taken a step back from its early days, but Truck #1 is still enjoyable.
Leo’s Tacos #1
1515 S. La Brea Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90019
Ever since Chef Ray Garcia left Santa Monica’s FIG, I’ve been eagerly anticipating what he might be cooking up next and where he might land. BS Taqueria served as “part one” of his new journey post-FIG, with the more formal sit down Broken Spanish as “part two.”
Chef Garcia’s Horchata reflects the rest of his ideals at this restaurant, taking interesting ingredients and elevating the original notion of the drink or dish in question. B.S. Taqueria’s Horchata is made with Barley, Piloncillo (a type of Cane Sugar) and Almond Milk.
And it’s fantastic! It’s a little gritty, nutty and sweet, but not too sweet.
Their lunch special adds a nice Mixed Greens Salad (with Lime Vinaigrette):
The Cactus (Nopales) is tender and the Hibiscus flowers add a slight tangy-ness. Chef Garcia shows off his FIG experience using fresh, fully ripened farmer’s market fresh avocados, which are so creamy and lush.
I think in many fancier restaurants, seeing “Mushrooms & Garlic Taco” would probably elicit a notion of incredulousness, thinking it’s just an afterthought for Vegetarians or something. But this is a creation from the chef who was so smitten with the freshest produce and delivering what’s in season from the local farmer’s markets that he added a “ticker tape” to the menu at FIG, broadcasting what was in season at the moment and what was coming soon.
The Mushrooms & Garlic Taco is RIDICULOUS. It’s meaty, savory, bursting with flavors, full of umami. It’s one of the best Tacos I’ve eaten recently and it’s Vegetarian, blowing away many of the meat-based Tacos I’ve had. Chef Ray Garcia uses a mixture of fresh local farmer’s market mushrooms, sauteed with Thyme, Oregano, Chile de Arbol (awesome!) served on top of a White Bean Puree, and the amazing Handmade Tortillas. Serious WIN.
There were some dishes only served at night, so I had to come back and try more stuff.
The Sweet Potatoes are beautiful, sweet and soft, yet crispy because Chef Avila sears the outside, giving it some awesome texture contrast! It sounds “boring” but this Taco is great, sweet, lightly spicy.
A nice contrast to BS Taqueria’s take on a Shrimp Taco, Chef Avila goes with fried, battered Shrimp. And the Shrimp he uses are massive! These are HUGE Gulf Shrimp, seriously only one step down from large Santa Barbara Spot Prawns.
The Shrimp are tender and cooked just right. It’s a bit on the acidic side, but still solid. I liked BS Taqueria’s Shrimp Taco more in terms of flavor.
Besides being drop-dead gorgeous visually, the Squash Blossom Tacos are another flavor bomb! PERFECT Flavor Synergy with the Squash Blossoms and light, creamy Ricotta Cheese. The balance of flavors in this taco make it one of the best tacos yet from Chef Avila! It just ROCKS! (and yes, there’s no meat in it and it’s that good!)
There are some pretty amazing tacos coming out of the city these days from both Chef Garcia and Chef Avila. Can’t wait to see what’s next.
Guerilla Tacos Wednesday 10am - 2pm at:
6114 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA
Thursday & Friday 10am - 2pm at:
826 E 3rd St. (Arts District DTLA)
Los Angeles, CA
Thursday 5 - 9pm at:
2395 Glendale Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90039
Saturday & Sunday 10am - 2pm at:
Blue Bottle Coffee
582 Mateo St. (Arts District DTLA)
Los Angeles, CA
At the behest of @Porthos, I had to make a trip down to his recommended Carnitas specialist in Orange County, Carnitas Uruapan. It was slammed with people, always a good sign. Then looking at their menu… 18 (EIGHTEEN) different types of Carnitas Tacos. Oh yah, this looks legit.
You can see them separating out the different cuts of pork and choose what you like on the spot. They were also serving Barbacoa de Borrego (Roasted Lamb) on the weekend as well. How does it stack up against my all-time favorite, Villa Moreliana? Couldn’t wait to dive in!
The server said that their Surtida Carnitas Taco was a “mix of everything,” and indeed it was a bit of Cuerito (Braised Pig Skin), Maciza, Cabeza and more. The mix of lean Pork Shoulder, Ribs and other parts made for a great taco! Pure porky love, LOL.
This is the first time I’ve seen a place selling Braised Pork Cheek Carnitas Tacos! LOL. I was imagining it was just the inner meat, but it included some skin as well. It was even more tender and lush than the Pig Ear Tacos.
The flavor was good, with a nice gaminess, but on the salty side (just a bit). But the unfortunate part was that in their hectic chopping perhaps, our tacos were interspersed with chopped bone bits! We had to constantly spit out / pick out chunks of Lamb Bone. So that was a turnoff, and it’s not as good as some of the lamb specialists in L.A.
Overall Carnitas Uruapan is pretty awesome! Definitely the best Carnitas I’ve had in Orange County, and a good choice if you’re in the area. It doesn’t dethrone Villa Moreliana, but it’s a great find; I’d be glad to return. Thanks @Porthos!
2106 W. 5th Street
Santa Ana, CA 92703
Pollos Asados Al Carbon El Guero
On the way to Carnitas El Momo, we noticed an awesome flame grilled Chicken street stand, and had to stop by.
Pollos Asados Al Carbon El Guero
(Saturdays & Sundays)
Corner of Slauson Ave. & Towne Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90011
Or at their brick and mortar shop 7 days a week:
274 E. Slauson Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90011
Carnitas El Momo
I’ve been to Carnitas El Momo many times, but I fear they might be out of business! I’ve driven to their weekend location the last few weeks and they are no longer there. Their website has been shutdown, and no one picks up when dialing their phone #. If anyone knows if they are still around (but a new location?) let me know.
From the last visit I did have (a few months back), I thought their Carnitas Taco was legit and very good, but it lacked the variety and subtlety of Villa Moreliana and Carnitas Uruapan.
El Taco Grande
So on the way back from the missing Carnitas El Momo, we noticed a truck that looked pretty appealing, specializing in Birria (Goat) Tacos!
Carnitas Urapan definitely has chopping issues. Last time I was there I had huge chunks of kidney and liver which was a bit chewy and got a jaw workout. My cueritos taco was fantastic with that great red salsa to cut through the richness. My favorite part is watching them make the carnitas on the tv.
@noddles Thanks for the heads up. I literally went the day before that Yelp post, and they were not at their usual location. I drove up and down the street for many miles, hoping they weren’t gone.
It also doesn’t explain why their Website is shutdown, and why they no longer pick up the phone (I’ve tried calling about 6 - 7 times at various times over the past 2 weeks - and they used to pick up). It also is weird that they were no longer there for 2 different weekends as well. So all that made me fear that they were out of business.
I went there on Thursday evening around 6pm. The location is in a residential area and they had no customers. I had the chicharron, the buche and the pork shoulder. I wasn’t a fan of the chicharron, but the others had that porky goodness I was looking for.