Whittier’s taco game is strong. I tried a new stand tonight because they set up a pop-up within walking distance of my house.
Carlos’s Tijuana Tacos has been featured in both the L.A. Times and L.A. Taco. They’ve been on my radar for a bit. I’ve actually seen their regular location on my way to Tacos Los Carnales for al pastor on fresh tortillas, but their line was way long that night and I wanted al pastor more.
Carlos and his crew grill their proteins (asada, adobada, pollo, and chorizo) over mesquite charcoal. They have tortilla ninjas who quickly pump out tortillas to match the demand. They have tacos, quesadillas, mulitas, and vampiros on the menu for $2, $7, $5, and $5 respectively. They were not offering vampiros tonight much to my dismay because I really wanted to try one…I’ve never had one before.
The line was about 25 minutes long when we arrived. I think the delays are contributed to the tortilla ninjas trying to keep up with demand and quesadilla orders. While in line, I noticed that the masa for the tortillas was from Northgate Market, and one person manning the grill and consistently cooking massive amounts of meat. He was also probably grilling tiny little onions because we found these in the salsa bar area…
in addition to beans, pickled onions with habanero, radishes, limes, salsa verde, and a spicy-looking salsa rojo.
While in line, you’ll want to order your quesadilla first because that takes more time to make. Then you get to the taco person who takes and assembles your taco order. Tacos are generously filled with meat and then topped with onions, cilantro, a mild tomato salsa, and a healthy amount of guacamole. I tried their asada quesadilla which was fully loaded with cheese, lots of asada, onions, cilantro, and guacamole on a fresh tortilla. It was easily the second best quesadilla I’ve ever had…super crispy on the outside with smoky and seasoned asada, freshness from the onion and cilantro…I really didn’t taste the guacamole, but I added a squeeze of lime that I think helped make it taste even better.
I tried the asada and adobada tacos. My sister got the chicken. The asada was as great as in the quesadilla. I adobada was less successful…it tasted well-seasoned, but was dried out even with the salsa, guacamole, and lime that I added. My sister said the chicken was good…moist and seasoned well.
I was pretty impressed. That asada quesadilla was so, so good! I hope they visit my neighborhood often for pop-ups. Cash only.
P.S. @TheCookie I think you should let the family know this is available in their ‘hood. Carlos’s Tijuana Tacos can be found via Instagram.