A friend from Texas says we have terrible Mexican food. I was offended but then couldn’t think of a place that is truly delicious. But, I also eat at the low brow places, el abajeno, ciro’s, el chato, and la serenata, which is not low brow, but I couldn’t think of a super delicious place. Btw, she hated el chato, the night we went it was BAD, worst I’ve had.
What the hell are they comparing anything to?.. We have regional Austin food in LA (HomeState). And extraordinary Tex-Mex (Bar AMA).
But is Texas as awash in Yucatan, Tiajuana, Oaxaca, Nayarit, Puebla, Sinoloa, Zacateca etc, etcc, etccc… regional Mexican like LA???
The depth and breadth of LA’s Mexican makes picking a “best” one is incredibly relative.
You could always take them to Taco Maria, or Broken Spanish (or even Corazon y Miel or Babita) if you want to just show them the blossoming alta cocina scene which I assume Texas is lacking in? Would that be a de facto win?..
But what the hell do they want out of Mexican food?
How about you go drive out to Colonia Publica in Whittier, get a bowl of fucking incredible fideo, hop over to Burritos la Palma for birria tacos, get some zombies at El Coraloense, get an alambres ilegale and a cecina picadita from Tacos Cuernavaca, a fucking legit red sauce bean and cheese from Lupe’s #2, a pound of lamb barbacoa and brain quesadillas from Aqui es Texcoco, some Taco Dorados de Camaron at Mariscos Jalisco, some Tacos Arabes from Los Originales Tacos Arabes de Puebla, some mole fries from Las Molenderas, a torta cubana from Super Tortas D.F., Tiajuana carne asada tacos from Tire Shop Taqueria, cochinita pibil, chicharron tacos, and panuchos at Chichen Itza, and maybe finish off with some fish taco’s from Ricky’s if he’s downtown, or some whole-pig carnitas from El Momo, maybe even really rub it in by taking them to Guerilla Tacos if you go on the right day lmao
if they aren’t apologetically weeping because of how stupid they were, and simultaneously stuffed to the gills with an obscenely hedonistic amount of pleasure from the banquet of insanely amazing Mexican food along a single strip of freeway by that point I would cease being friends with them.
Or whatever, just take them to
I recently had a meal at Bizarra Captial and it was pretty darn good. The pulpo en mojo verde, chimichangas, and the chorizo cheese quesadillas were standouts. And Colonia taco is also great and is a couple miles down the road.
If they don’t like the pulpo or the chimichngas, you may want to find new friends.
I’m going to try some of these places, maybe I’ve been missing out.
My friend has lived in Houston and Austin.
Colonia Taco flipped into Clonia Tacos Guisados btw. Not sure how much that slight name change and location shift matters.
Speaking of Bizarra Capital though…they ever end up sticking to being open until midnight?
They moved and changed again? I was just at the Whittier Blvd location 3 weeks ago and had the lamb barbacoa, still tasty.
Question: are you equating “best” and “super delicious” w/ “high end?” Just wondering, b/c your post gives that impression?
I’ve never been to either, but Babita got a fair amount of love here. Some version of Coni Seafood and/or Mariscos Chente are also highly regarded (sorry, I can’t keep track of Sergio’s movements or the various permutations, but I’m sure others can chime in). Perhaps your friend might like Tacos Punta Cabras?
I do agree w/ Aesthete that it’ll be hard to define “best” b/c of the breadth of the various regions represented in LA and that perhaps having a sampling of multiple places might be a good idea. Just like it’s be impossible to comment on what’s the best Chinese or Korean place.
I had a meal at Guisados the other night that I would characterize as “truly delicious.”
I love Bizarra Capital…ceviche, tacos, flan…and that rice…I normally don’t eat rice, but I love theirs. The cocktails are well done, too.
She’s not expecting Tex-Mex, is she?
Maybe she is expecting Tex-mex. how is Tex mex different? I’ll ask her.
Also, I guess I am/was equating delicious with high end or higher end than $1 taco. To me higher end means organic and fresh, I’m not expecting that at el abajeno. But, of course high end doesn’t always mean delicious, ex. Rick Bayless’ place, forget the name.
Where in Texas is your friend from? Cuz Texas last time I checked was kind of, um, big.
I bring that up only because Austin and San Antonio have some fantastic Mexican food (not Tex-Mex). As does El Paso, but it’s a rather different Mexican than you’ll find in SoCal (LA/OC/SD).
As others have said, from high-end to casual to mobile taquerias, LA and OC really has it all.
Best? Dunno. But the places here are pretty darn good. And many of them inarguably iconoclastically unique in only a way that an LA institution can be.
Houston and Austin. See above…
it was my understanding anything along the US border is still going to be northern mexican cuisine. towards el paso you’re closer to places like chihuahua who have their take on cheese, but that’s all i remember. of course, if they’re from somewhere near beaumont close to the gulf coast, i’d expect that to make some difference.
Which places in particular? What makes a place iconoclastic LA Mexican? Or is it ineffable?
Trois Familia, Broken Spanish, Taco Maria, Mexicano, Corazon y Miel, Guerrilla Tacos, and perhaps places like Tire Shop, Ricky’s, and BFTE (more in cultural terms than culinary verve).
How do you mean about tire shop and Ricky’s being LA cultural things? Like regional Mexican in LA modes of presentation they would never be in Mexico?
Tire Shop was doing what Locol is doing now, but 3 years earlier (bringing real quality food to the 'hood).
And BFTE and Ricky’s epitomizes how the popularity of food trucks allowed Ricky really to overtake the old-guard rival. And while food trucks are ubiquitous, one can argue that they really symbolize the car culture of LA, as well as perhaps having their roots in this city (going back as far as the '30s.)
photo LA Weekly