There has been discussion about El Taco Llama on this board in the past. It is ostensibly a chain, but there are different owners at some of the stores. My first visit to a El Taco Llama -- the one at Vanowen and Haskell -- was highly disappointing. So I had held off on traveling across the valley to try the other branches.
Last week, I finally decided to go ahead. I got tacos from the El Taco Llama at Magnolia near Cahuenga. Today, I tried some from the branch on Sherman Way near Lankersheim. Both were excellent and nearly identical, making me think they are under the same ownership.
I tend to judge taquerias by their asada and pastor, so that is all that I've tried. The meat in the tacos at both branches had a wonderful flavor from the marinadte, though I probably would give a slight edge on the asada to the Magnolia branch. The pastors were pretty consistent. But what really made the tacos was the salsa rojo. I reminds me of King Taco's, with a nice smokiness to it. It might be heresy, but I might put it on par with King Taco's salsa rojo.
The two branches are not alike. The Magnolia/Cahuenga branch is a stand next to a car wash with a couple of outside tables. The Sherman Way/Lankersheim branch is a small restaurant with some indoor seating. It also has a small salsa bar with pico de gallo, rojo, and verde, as well as some pickled vegetables. (I did not see pico de gallo at the Magnolia/Cahuenga branch.)
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