This is a long overdue post. Each year my company's staff gathers in a strech limo stocked with top-shelf tequilas and spends the better part of eight hours touring the LA area for the best in taco trucks. Last year's post, which featured many trucks west of Downtown led (in part) to the 9 On The Town show on Taco Trucks.
This year, we headed east. We started with our limo pick-up in the Santa Monica area. Since we were all famished and had a long drive ahead, we decided to stop for a teaser at La Oaxaquena (on Lincoln Blvd, South of Rose). This is a truck we frequent on non-Limo nights. Once again, they did not disappoint. Their carne asada tacos are flavorful and tender. Solid carnitas and pollo (my three-year-olds favorite), as well. The avacado sauce topping always looks like it may deter from the meat, but adds to it instead. The only weakness of this truck is the pastor. It just doesn't have that smoky, spicy sensation.
So, we started our journey and headed east. An hour drive was buffered by tequila and laughter. We arrived at La Golondrina (Huntington Drive, East of Eastern Ave. in El Sereno, look for the Food for Less) and a crowd of ten or so were definitely eyeing us as eight of us climbed out of the limo. They all had the look of "Are you sure you are in the right place?" As we ordered and mixed in with the crowd, the tension shifted to laughter. The pastor was sweeter than others, but flavorful. The asada was solid. The carnitas had good flavor but was a little dry. All-in-all a good start to our expedition.
Next up was Estila Guadalajara (Figueroa and Ave. 55 in Highland Park), or so we thought....closed. Word on the street was Health Dept. shutdown, but there is no confirmation of that. Please alert the hounders if this one is still around, because we heard good things about it. Anyway, we cruised the area, which was rich in trucks and settled in at Tacos Sabrosa (Figueroa and Ave. 50). Taco trucks going "Starbucks"? There was a second Tacos Sabrosa directly across the street! The asada here was dry, but passable. The buche was absolutely outstanding...the best yet to pass through this author's lips. Everything else was not memorable.
On to El Taquito Mexicano (On Fair Oaks, North of California Ave. in Pasadena, in Parking Lot of Nishikawa Auto Service). Why is it that auto repair parking lots have great taco trucks? Is it some sort of ancient tradition I have yet to hear about? The pastor was smoky and excellent and the asada was tender with hints of fish and parmesan that worked. The place was busy and for good reason.
Next up was Cheo's Tacos (Corner of Alhambra Ave and Bullard St in Alhambra). This place was just a pastor factory. It was what everyone was ordering and what they seemed to specialize in. WOW! We are pastor lovers. Cheo's rivaled the Angelica Cemitas Poblana (Venice Blvd west of Clarington) pastor, which we love and eat often. The slow-cooked care was evident in each morsel. Very tender. Just enough heat.
The night was getting late and the tequila had set in. One more truck to go. Los Vaqueros was the perfect ending to our jaunt. Most of us were full beyond being able to enjoy the food anymore, the tequila had us a little silly. So this truck right off the 60 in East Los Angeles fit our mood. The chef/owner's duds are right out of a bad western complete with studs and everything. But we were all in hysterics because this taco trailer was pulled by a Hummer. For real. The tacos were unusually spicy, but not memorable. The dudes oufit and tow-package definitely were.
That should do it for this year, but look for Round Three in early 2007. Thanks for the tips hounders. Enjoy the tacos!