Tacos are easy to come by in Los Angeles, something that I’m reminded of driving around the city on any given night. Everyone has their favorites, but for me, the real fun happens when I discover the places that operate just under the radar, the neighborhood joints that haven’t been overtaken by gringos or discussed and debated on Yelp. These are the places that are truly at the heart of the city’s taco scene, supplying communities that are typically hard-working and low-earning with good food that’s cheap and easy.
Food junkie that I am, I gravitate towards these kind of locations because I feel if the food is good enough for the locals, it’s good enough for me. One place in particular that had caught my eye recently is situated at the entrance gate of an auto repair shop that has certainly seen better days. The set up is basic – griddle, cutting board, plastic table with salsas and toppings – with a two-man team running the show.
On the night that I visited they were serving four types of meat: carne asada, pollo, al pastor, and chorizo. I was immediately intrigued by the chorizo when I saw that it was still in sausage form idling on the grill to be picked up and chopped to order. Though the other meats weren’t as visible underneath a sheet of foil keeping them warm just next to the grill, I went ahead and ordered one of each for the complete experience. As expected, the chorizo was a winner as it was spiced but not spicy and maintaining a smooth, rather than coarse ground texture that wasn’t oily at all. The asada and al pastor were also solid selections, with the former displaying a tender bite and smoky char, while the latter was a bit chewy and unusually sweet but still all around satisfying. The surprise here was the chicken, one that I generally always pass up. It was moist and flavorful here, reminding me a bit of shawarma in terms of the texture. Without a doubt one of the best pollo tacos I’ve had.
This place is just one example of the countless great, undiscovered taco purveyors occupying sidewalks all around town. I’m hesitant to even give up the location of this particular taquero, not for any selfish reasons, but more so to encourage people to find their own “hidden gems” where the tacos will always be a dollar and the line short. However, the chorizo and pollo are just too good to leave discovering them up to chance.
Tacos el Pueblita
Beverly Blvd and Alvarado
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Dine date: Mon 10.28.13, 9:00p