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Jul 19, 2006 09:03 PM

Titos vs. Cinco de Mayo: Tale of 2 Tacos

Since we had the discussion recently about the charms of Tito’s versus Cinco de Mayo next door, we decided to donate our palates to science and endure the challenge of taste-testing a taco from each of the adjoining stands. Titos’ is a 39 year old landmark compared to Cinco de Mayo which was formerly Lucy’s about 2 years ago. I occasionally eat at both places since they are in the neighborhood. We ordered 1 beef taco with cheese from each. Prices were equal., quantity and quality of filling were indiscernible. The salsas were equally spicy but Tito’s had more texture. Cinco de Mayo’s was soupier with little flakes of fresh cilantro in it. The major difference lies in the tacos shells. Cinco de Mayo’s was fried with the hint of oil on the exterior of the shell. It was curled around the edges and had a blistery texture from the deep fryer. Health food? This ain’t it! They wrap the taco in foil and plastic if you buy it to go, so beware, it gets soggy from the retained heat. Try to eat it hot from the kitchen.
Tito’s gives true meaning to the term hard-shell taco. With no sign of oil and very little flavor it leads one to ponder whether it may have been fried at all. They’re like Taco Bell pre-fab shells, but about 50% thicker. It had a cardboard like appearance, looking like it came out of a vending machine.
Cinco wins for thin crispy chips. Tito’s chips looked to be hand cut, but were stiffer, thicker and took some extra effort to chew. Their tortillas tasted like they sat out on the counter overnight before frying. My preference will be Cinco de Mayo for resembling more of a taco like abuelita used to make.

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  1. CDM deserves to be a lot busier than it is.

    In addition to the tacos, I've enjoyed their egg and onion burrito, their red chile burrito (or whatever they call it) and some of their amercan food like hamburgers.

    It's also very easy to park and they take plastic.

    1. 2 down, 7,432 taco stand/truck/restaurants to go.

      1. The original comment has been removed
        1. Unless they've changed it dramatically since it used to be Lucy's, CDM is an order-at-the-counter place just like Tito's. They are very comparable.

          For what it's worth, I just ate at Tito's on Monday. I'd been craving a hard shell beef taco, and had been disappointed in my quest. Tito's satisfied my craving.

          Based upon the original poster's comments, however, next time I will try CDM.

          1. re: DanaB

            CDM is order at the counter, exactly like Tito's. They even have inside and outside windows.

            Unlike TT, CDM has someone in the back preparing the food. It isn't prepared by the servers.

            I agree, they are similar. It might be fuji to red delicious, but it's still apples to apples.

          2. Back in the 70's Tito's used to be where CDM (and the former Lucy's) used to be. I don't recall it ever being a sit-down type of place since that time to now, no more than you can call Tito's a sit-down kind of place. Anyway, I hated Lucy's and never tried CDM. I've been a Tito's fan all this time.

            1. Apples to oranges? No way, I was comparing one taco joint to another, both have counter service only and NO AIR CONDITIONING! (LOL) both are working hard to compete with each other in almost every way.
              You know, sometimes you have to do a side by side comparison to figure out what you really like. Tacos are part of a typical L.A. native's diet. We had a ball dissecting the tacos. You should try it.

            2. I can't believe no one's mentioned the biggest difference: variety! CDM has FAR more items available. FWIW, I've tried Tito's a few times just to see what all the fuss (and line) was about and was always disappointed. I loves me some CDM tacos and enchiladas though. Also, they have a few freshly squeezed juices that are reasonably priced.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ronche

                Also, note that CDM has terrific handmade guacamole. What my family now does is order the guac at CDM, and while it is being made, we walk over to TT and order the rest of the meal. In addition, this allows you to park in the CDM lot, which is a big plus because the TT lot is a disaster.

              2. CDM vs. TT is definitely apples to apples! Heck, it's comparing McDonald's to Burger King. Or Mastro's to Morton's!

                But I think which one is better is definitely all about personal preference.

                CDM is more of a traditional hard shell taco. TT's is more fried, puffy, flakey deliciousness. Chips are better at CDM. Personally, I prefer CDM due to variety and usually no wait time!

                Both have walk up ordering windows, very little seating and tacos! VERY COMPARABLE!