Colonia Tacos Guisados
Chef Ricardo Diaz has been slowly and steadily building up a mini-empire of well-regarded eateries around LA, from Cook's Tortas to Guisados, to Bizarra Capital and more. Colonia Taco Lounge actually delivered some interesting tacos when he first opened it up in La Puente, only to have it shut down last year. It turns out he's resurrected the restaurant with a slight name change and closer to his other restaurant Colonia Publica. Now known as Colonia Tacos Guisados, Chef Diaz is still serving most of his most popular tacos from Colonia Taco Lounge, with some new flavors as well.
This location is much smaller than Colonia Taco Lounge, mainly featuring outdoor patio seating (w/ large patio umbrellas).
Aguas Frescas: Today's Aguas Frescas was a Cucumber, Pineapple, Mint -
Sweet, but herbaceous and super refreshing!
Lengua Taco (Beans, Guacamole, Sriracha, Mayo):
Super tender Beef Tongue really works well with the Guac, Beans and Sriracha Mayo. It doesn't taste overdressed at all. Excellent.
Beef & Beer Taco (Cilantro, Onion, Chile Morita):
Another solid entry. There's a slight hoppiness from the cooked off beer, but otherwise the Chile Morita Salsa (really bright, lightly spicy) brings up the stewed Beef and makes for another great taco.
Cauliflower Taco (Fried Cauliflower, Vinaigrette, Corn, Salsa Veracruz, Flour Tortilla):
This was the taco I was most looking forward to, as it was my favorite Taco from the previous incarnation at Colonia Taco Lounge. It was almost as good as I remembered it: The Fried Cauliflower chunks, Corn, Salsa Veracruz and soft, delicate Flour Tortilla was just perfect. So good!
Doradito (Potato, Cheese, Cabbage, Guacamole, Vinaigrette, Chipotle Sauce):
I wasn't that much of a fan of this at the original location and it still holds true today. It's a deep fried, crispy taco shell (which is nice for the crunch), but it's carb on carb. It just feels heavy, but I can see why some people really like this.
Grilled Shrimp Taco (Coconut Rice, Shrimp, Cabbage, Salsa Aji, Flour Tortilla):
This is really tropical and fragrant. The Coconut Rice gives the Shrimp a nice pairing but also it's fun, exotic tasting. The Salsa Aji doesn't overwhelm and overall it works.
Barbacoa Taco (Lamb, Onion, Cilantro):
Really tender, stewed chunks of Lamb Barbacoa. It's slightly smoky and gamy and just fine. It's not Aqui es Texcoco or as good as other specialists but fine for a local place.
Duck Carnitas Taco (Guacamole, Pickled Onions, Salsa Morita):
It's rare to find Duck Tacos, so I'm glad Chef Diaz kept this on the menu. The flavors are pretty well balanced, but the issue was that the Duck Carnitas tasted not so fresh (it's not super funky, but just tastes like leftovers). Otherwise, the flavors were great and if the Duck was brighter, this would've been a favorite.
Huitlacoche Taco (Mushrooms, Cilantro, Salsa Verde):
The "Mexican Truffle" or Corn Smut / Maize Fungus was another solid flavor, matching well with the Mushrooms and Salsa Verde.
Pork and Pumpkin Taco (Kabocha Squash, Pork Carnitas, Pumpkin Seeds, Seed Salsa):
Great concept, undermined by mediocre Carnitas. It's tough, we're in an awesome time here in L.A. where we have LEGIT Carnitas specialists (like Villa Morelianas, Carnitas Uruapan, etc.), so eating chunks of this fried Pork Carnitas tastes really pedestrian. The flavors otherwise are great (the Kabocha Squash, Pumpkin Seed Salsa, etc.).
Tesmole Taco (Chicken, Seed Salsa):
It looks very similar to the Pork & Pumpkin, but the flavors are decidedly different. The Tesmole was more savory, piquant and the Chicken is pretty tender.
Vampiro Taco (Steak, Molcajete Salsa, Cilantro, Onion, Mozarella Cheese, Flour Tortilla):
This was a pretty delicious taco. The Carne Asada Steak tasted like beefy chunks of goodness, and the Molcajete Salsa and Cheese and Flour Tortillas all came together for a great combo.
Mahi Mahi Taco (Bacon Aioli, Cabbage, Salsa Molcajete, Fried Fish):
Probably the most disappointing taco we had in all the visits: Besides competing against the legendary Ricky's Fish Tacos and even places like TBE, the fried Mahi Mahi is soggy, dense, and not very edible.
Colonia Tacos Guisados
11114 Whittier Blvd.
Whittier, CA 90606
(Note: The phone number via Google and Yelp are wrong. This is their actual phone number.)
Barbacoa Estilo Taxco Guerrero
Found out about this from an LA Mag article, about a Lamb Barbacoa specialist, and we couldn't wait! This family makes their Barbacoa de Borrego (a Slow Roasted Lamb dish) in the style from Taxco, Guerrero, Mexico.
They literally set up a tent and taco stand in a parking lot off of McKinley. I couldn't wait! Walking up, there is a huge group of people all happily ordering and eating away (there are plenty of temp tables set up). I really enjoyed seeing them making fresh Tortillas and scooping up more of the Lamb Barbacoa and chopping it up for each order.
They allow you to choose any part of the Roasted Lamb (if it's not sold out yet), so we choose all the sections available:
Lamb Pancita Taco (Lamb Stomach, Organs Blend):
Wow! This would make @theoffalo and all offal fans happy: It's really intense, but tender, and funky and delicious! Using some of their Salsa Arbol (with Chile de Arbol) and a squeeze of fresh Lime, and it balances out the offal funk and makes a really compelling Taco.
There's also an Avocado Salsa (less spicy, but still delicious).
Lamb Cabeza Taco (Roasted Lamb Head meat blend):
They already sold out of the entire Lamb Heads (for order), but still had some Cabeza pulled off the bone, bits of Lamb Cheek meat, Tongue, and other bits. It's really soft, fatty, delicious!
Consomme (Lamb Soup):
WOW. Seriously, this is some of the best Lamb Consomme I've had around here! Tastes like a delicate Lamb Soup, with bits of Garbanzo Beans and Rice. Add in some Onions & Cilantro and Lime and you're set!
Lamb Maciza Taco (Lamb Shoulder / Leg Meat):
This was the leanest cut of meat. But still tender, fresh and fantastic with their Avocado Salsa!
Lamb Costilla Taco (Lamb Rib Meat):
The star of the Barbacoa de Borrego: Seriously tender, slightly fatty, but with lean chunks. Just the perfect blend! Lamb Rib meat, cooked fresh that morning, and just MAGIC!
Their fresh-made tortillas weren't too thick, but had enough to hold plenty of lamb meat and not detract from each bite (so thinner than Broken Spanish, etc.). Really nice.
This was better than Aqui es Texcoco here in L.A.! Lovely.
You can order their Roasted Lamb by the Pound, or for parties, you can order a whole roasted Lamb (or Half a Lamb) or a Whole Roasted Goat (or Half a Goat).
Saturday & Sundays Only
7:00 a.m. - Lamb is sold out
Barbacoa y Birria Estilo Taxco Guerrero
5609 McKinley Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90011