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.
I should've listened.
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?
Cook's Ranch Pork Belly Carnitas Taco (with Salsa Verde, Guacamole):
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):
Finally, a standout. The Octopus is super tender, perfectly cooked! Wow. It was a bit too greasy though. But definitely the best taco we tried at Petty Cash DTLA.
Baja Fish Taco (Mahi-Mahi, Pico de Gallo, Crema Cabbage):
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):
This taco was GROSS: A gloopy, soggy mess of a taco, with overly fatty chunks of pork. I couldn't finish the taco.
We all felt ripped off and just really disappointed with the tacos here. Especially considering the pedigree. Very disappointed.
Petty Cash Taqueria, Arts District (Downtown L.A.)
712 S Santa Fe Ave.
Los Angeles, CA
Tel: (213) 624-0210
One of my friends literally spit out the Al Pastor from Petty Cash, and for my own sanity and to salvage all things great about "Al Pastor," we made a run to...
Leo's Tacos #1
The original Leo's Taco Truck (on the corner of La Brea & Venice), was slammed with people, its popularity growing each year.
After the disappointment of Leo's Tacos #2 and Petty Cash, I had to see if this original still had it. The lovely Trompo was out in full force:
Al Pastor Taco:
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.”
It had been a while since I last hit up BS Taqueria (enjoyed the first few visits), so we popped in for a quick visit.
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):
Chef Garcia’s Shrimp Taco is awesome. Shrimp sauteed in a Guajillo Chile Sauce, Jalapeno infused Handmade Tortillas. The Shrimp is fresh and perfectly cooked. Legit, yet new.
Cactus & Hibiscus Taco:
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.
Mushrooms & Garlic Taco:
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.
Really soft, long-stewed, tender slivers of Beef Tongue.
Chorizo and Papas Taco:
Just great flavors. Crisped, seared Potato chunks with a lightly spicy, savory Chorizo Sausage.
Clams and Lardo Taco:
If you love seafood, you might wanna check this taco out. It's briny, savory (from the lardo), and maybe a bit too oily for me, but great in small doses, LOL.
514 W. 7th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Tel: (213) 622-3744
Guerilla Tacos (3rd Visit)
And Chef Wes Avila continues to astound at Guerilla Tacos. His daily menu today features some new twists.
Sweet Potato Taco (with Almond Chile, Feta Cheese, Fried Corn, Scallions):
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.
Baja-style Shrimp Taco (with Chipotle Crema, Cabbage, Raw Tomatillo Chile, Avocado):
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.
Squash Blossom Taco (with Ricotta Cheese, Hazelnut, Bill’s Bees Honey, Heirloom Tomatoes, Chile Morita):
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.
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
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