This is very surprising, though in a good way. Moreliana is about a million times easier to get to than the others, especially El Momo haha
A Taco Journey: Carne Asada, Al Pastor, Pacific Spiny Lobster, and more - Leo's Tacos #2, Tire Shop Tacos, Revolutionario, Ricky's Fish Tacos, Guerrilla, BS Taqueria and more!
I found Leo’s #2 glorious and at a dollar each I actually felt guilty after. 9 tacos and a bottle coke for $11.
By far the most discrete drinking can be done by emptying an opaque Arizona iced tea bottle and refilling. Wide enough mouth to pour into and at 16 oz it can fit a 12 oz beer with room for some head.
@Ns1 Nice! Wow, 9 tacos at 1 truck! I’m glad to hear Leo’s #2 was great. I probably went on an off night, or as mentioned above, maybe wait until the first batch of the Al Pastor (outer layer) is served / done.
I split it with my wife, although I wanted them all for myself.
Thank you for a wonderful post. You left off some of the best tacos in L.A. in none other than Olvera Street at a place called La Luz Del Dia. They are known for their carnitas, chicharron and nopales. Tortillas are hand made and the best.
God’s work. More taco research please!!!
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
wow - awesome pics and reporting
Thanks @CiaoBob! I think you’d dig it (Barbacoa y Birria Estilo Taxco).
Seriously the best Lamb Tacos I’ve had so far.
Oh I forgot to talk about their fresh made Tortillas (I’ll update my post): They 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 is incredible. Thank you.
That pancita looks great! I was just reading about this place in LA Mag: http://www.lamag.com/digestblog/essential-t-guerrero-style-lamb-barbacoa-in-south-park/
Why all the great tacos have to be Weekend-Only? People ain’t like awesome shit on the weekdays??
@theoffalo it really is. Their Pancita has a nice lamb-y flavor, but more delicate than Aqui es Texcoco. Their fresh salsas really pair well with it. I normally don’t eat much offal, but with their salsa and seasonings for the actual Barbacoa, it was great.
finally made it there yesterday. beyond the cooking of the tacos, what makes the place extremely chow worthy are the sauces and various homemade pickles. i fully subscribe to the joe beef big mac theory of equilibrium: (Joe Beef on The Big Mac Theory.AVI - YouTube)
you balance sweet, salty, fat, sour and bite in a such a way as the big mac does that your taste buds compel you to keep eating thinking that you’re eating something good for you. and the sauces and pickles allow you to do that though it does take some experimentation. they’ll give you hints if you ask.
use the pineapple kimchi (upper right) & pineapple salsas (i forgot to take pics) sparingly, but do try them.
with the gentrification of GCM, this place is now my only reason to go there. on my first visit, i paid no attention to all the brawny construction workers in front of me in line who only ordered 2 tacos and ordered either 3-4 and discovered that i’d gotten enough meat to make 8-12 tacos with the extra tortillas they give you.
Exemplary research and reporting!
@secretasianman BarryC glad you finally made it out to Revolutionario! Isn’t it good?
Great point about the condiments. @Dommy was always recommending that to add to their North African Tacos and they do indeed add this magic element to the offerings. But really all of Chef Zadi’s flavors I’ve tried were pretty outstanding even on their own.
I’ve never tried the Pineapple Kimchi so I’ll have to give that a shot next time (I always felt it might be too tropical or something). Thanks for the suggestion.
What were your favorite tacos at Revolutionario?
Re: Villa Morelianas at GCM - Yes, definitely my fav joint there. Love it.
if nothing else, the pickles are ideal for cleansing the palate in between different tacos. the pineapple kimchi was more a hint than overpowering in terms of sweetness, but the sweet/sour combo would make a great foil to something really fatty/salty…
my favorites were probably the chicken and the lamb.
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
Great report @Chowseeker1999!!! Many thanks for checking out La Guera, glad it was not a disappointment.