I remember reading about this new taco stand to be opened by none other than Danny Trejo, the recognizable Hollywood movie actor that usually plays a bad guy role in a ton of films over the years; I think in some Steven Seagal, Michael Bay, Robert Rodriguez movies, etc. LOL Then he got thrust in the spotlight as the anti-hero of Machete, and from his interviews, he seems like the complete opposite of the bad guy roles he was put into: Really nice, humble, down-to-earth.
Why Danny Trejo decided to open up a taco stand, remains a mystery, but I couldn't wait to try it, just because.
One interesting thing was how healthy many of the items on the menu were. And from the taste of things, it seems they are really serious about it.
Date-Sweetened Housemade Horchata:
It's made with Toasted Organic Rice, Almond Milk, Cinnamon. First sip and it's shockingly... almost non-sweetened! I was thinking they'd try some over-the-top flavors, but it tasted like Unsweetened Horchata. It wasn't bad (and I don't even like sugar that much), but it could probably use a little bit more sugar (or dates) to make it tastier. As it was, it was like drinking Unsweetened Rice Milk or something.
Fried Jidori Chicken Taco (Lettuce Cup, Spicy Slaw, Chipotle Cream):
Beautiful to look at, and I appreciated that they used Jidori Chicken, but it was just OK. The Fried Chicken was slightly crunchy, but could've used a bit more crackling crunch. Otherwise, the Spicy Slaw and Chipotle Cream seemed to be nice matching condiments.
Pulled Beef Brisket Taco (Tortilla Chips, Pico de Gallo, Cotija Cheese):
It's a great concept, and the Pulled Beef Brisket was savory, deeply-flavored, tender (all pluses). However the "Tortilla Chips" didn't lend any crunch at all (they were kinda stale) strips of Tortilla Chips.
Black Pepper Tofu Taco (Organic Tofu, Serrano Chilies, Scallions, Cilantro):
These were the best tacos on the menu, surprisingly. They were more crispy and piping hot than Fried Chicken. Well-balanced flavors, not too salty.
Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder Taco (Red Onions, Fermented Red Chili Hot Sauce, Cotjia Cheese):
The Pork Shoulder itself had a good, salty, porky flavor, but it was ice cold! This was probably the result of being in soft-opening phase, and doing early prep on some dishes (already having it made ahead of time). But it was off-putting to eat ice-cold tacos.
Danny's Super Rice (Organic Quinoa, Organic Koda Farms Brown Rice, Spices):
This was another dish indicative of the healthy edge Trejo's Tacos is going for. Unlike typical Spanish Rice served at many Mexican restaurants, this rice dish was light, fragrant, delicate and healthy. I appreciated that it wasn't overly salty, and it helped balance out the tacos we had.
Guacamole (Hass Avocados, Onions, Serrano Chilies, Lime, Pistachios):
The Guac was absolutely delicious! Really good balance of flavors. However, the Chips were sadly partially stale or too thick (some of them). They were uneven and without that nice crunchy, crispiness, it detracted from the great Guacamole.
Trejo's Tacos is only in soft-opening mode, so I want to give them time to sort things out (and hopefully they will). However, the one aspect that I don't see them changing is their pricing. At $4 per Taco, these were slightly larger than the typical "$1 Street Taco" and it feels pricey. For reference, getting the amazing tacos of Villa Morelianas (the best Carnitas in the city) is $2.75 for about 300% of the filling! Even Revolutionario's North African Tacos (with some amazing flavors and ingredients) don't hit the $4 range. Then again, we're paying for the rent / location (prime spot on La Brea). I really want to see them succeed, so I hope they sharpen their execution a bit, and perhaps their extended menu will offer more hits as well.
1048 S. La Brea Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90019
Tel: (323) 938-8226
Tacos La Guera
Thanks to @Sgee for the tip, I had to stop by and check out this Al Pastor taco stand with their own trompo. It looked like a legit place. As we showed up around midnight, there was a crowd of people and sure enough, the trompo was out and cooking the delicious Al Pastor.
Al Pastor Taco (Marinated Roasted Pork):
It had crisped edges and soft, tender Pork. The herbs and flavor were spot-on. Really, really good! I thought it might be better than Leo's Tacos famous Al Pastor. Fantastic.
Tacos La Guera
(Evenings only, 7 days a week, 5 p.m. - Midnight; through 1:00 a.m. on Fri - Sun)
Pico Blvd. & Hobart Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90006
Leo's Tacos #2 (Re-Visit)
Just to compare flavors immediately, we headed over to Leo's Tacos (2nd Truck) to see how the Al Pastor compared.
Al Pastor Taco (Marinated Roasted Pork):
This visit was much better than my last visit to their 2nd truck. There was nice crisped edges (more than Tacos La Guera), but it was saltier (not overly salty, but more than TLG). But Leo's Tacos has their Pina (Pineapple) which really helps add a touch of sweetness. Excellent.
Overall, I'd say it's a close toss-up, and I'm glad we have choices.
Leo's Taco Truck #2
415 Glendale Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Aqui es Texcoco
One of the most beloved Lamb Barbacoa specialists from our old Chowhound board, they finally opened up a location here in L.A. I realized I never got a chance to write about it, so I went back for another visit and to see how it compared with Barbacao y Birria Estilo Guerrero.
Their Consomme (Lamb Soup) was clean and bright, but saltier and spicier than ByBEG's version.
Maciza Barbacoa Taco (Lean Lamb Leg / Shoulder Meat):
It's light and tender, but a bit dry because of how lean the meat is (inherently). It's good, and I'd say it's a toss up between Aqui and Barbacoa y Birria Estilo Taxco.
Pancita Barbacoa Taco (Lamb Offal):
Pungent, funky, and maybe a bit more overwhelming than ByB's version. Still very good.
Costilla Barbacoa Taco (Lamb Rib):
Aqui's version is excellent. Moist, tender, and that balance of a bit of fat with moist Lamb Rib meat. Tasting them back-to-back, I realize I like Barbacoa y Birria's version better.
In addition, one failing on Aqui's part are their Tortillas: They look like they're made en masse, so our stack of Tortillas were partially stuck together, steaming on themselves. Barbacoa y Birria Estilo Taxco's version (fresh made to order, individually) was much better.
Cabeza Completa (Complete Roasted Lamb Head):
While it does look like a bit of a scary dish (an entire Roasted Lamb Head), it's a pretty good bargain, as you're able to taste and try a variety of interesting tacos.
Lamb Sesos Barbacoa Taco (Lamb Brain):
Creamy, fatty, rather plain, but when dressed up with the 2 types of salsa and condiments, it's decent.
Lamb Lengua Barbacoa Taco (Roasted Lamb Tongue):
This was a bit mealy, but tender Lamb Tongue. Not as satisfying as the more common Beef Tongue preparations.
Lamb Cheek Barbacoa Taco:
Definitely the highlight of the Cabeza Completa, the Lamb Cheek meat was really tender and moist, and absorbed the most spices / flavor into the meat.
Chapulines Taco (Deep Fried Grasshopper):
Their Chapulines look like something out of Fear Factor or some horror food show, but having gotten used to them from Guelaguetza, Aqui's version is tart (marindated in tamarind?), salty and very crunchy. And good. It has very little taste (rather nutty).
Overall, Aqui delivers some very good Lamb Barbacoa. If it wasn't for Barbacoa y Birria Estilo Guerrero, this would be my favorite Barbacoa place in town. Even as is, though, it's very good, and I'd be glad to come back whenever it's not a weekend and I'm in this part of town.
Aqui es Texcoco
5850 S. Eastern Ave.
Commerce, CA 90040
Tel: (323) 725-1429
Barbacoa y Birria Estilo Taxco Guerrero (2nd Visit)
Had to go back and try their famous Birria (Goat) Tacos and preparation.
If it's not sold out by the time you get there, you can request different parts of Birria (Goat Stew) for your Tacos.
Birria (Full order comes with Goat Stew and various cuts by request):
The Goat Stew was delicous! It's more savory and spicier (slightly) than the Consomme from the Barbacoa (Lamb Consomme), but really satisfying and warming.
Pata Birria Taco (Stewed Goat Foot):
This was very good! It had some cartilage (super soft, and gelatinous), and a rich, deep, gamy flavor in the meat.
Faldita Birria Taco (Stewed Goat Lamb Skirt Meat):
I've never had the Faldita portion of the Goat before, and it made for a slightly fattier, creamier, delicious Taco!
Costilla Birria Taco (Stewed Goat Rib Meat):
As expected, just delicious! A nice blend of lean and fatty meat from the Stewed Goat Ribs. Just awesome.
Maciza Birria Taco (Stewed Goat Leg / Shoulder (Lean) Meat):
Unexpectedly, the Goat Maciza Taco was the winner! While it's the leanest cut of meat, unlike Barbacoa or Carnitas even, with Birria (Goat Stew), it renders the Maciza meat really tender and soft and juicy! Highlight of the weekend.
And of course, I had to get a repeat of my favorite Taco there (and as confirmation of my taste buds in comparison with Aqui es Texcoco):
Costilla Barbacoa de Borrego Taco (Roasted Lamb Ribs):
Supple, tender, sexy Roasted Lamb Rib Meat. Perfect! They are making the best Barbacoa de Borrego (Roasted Lamb Taxco Style) that I've ever had.
Saturday & Sundays Only
7:00 a.m. - Lamb is sold out (usually around 2:30 p.m. or so)
Barbacoa y Birria Estilo Taxco Guerrero
5609 McKinley Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90011