I'm going to California in September on a quest to find the best taco joints in California. Does anyone have suggestions? I'll be there on the 19th of September, would appreciate any and all comments, good or bad (so I don't waste time trying bad food) appreciate everyone's input.
If you embark on a serious persuit of good tacos in LA, you'll be richly rewarded in many neighborhoods.
I have been mining the Highland Park area with great results in the past few years. I am not sure many LA neighborhoods have as much regional Mexican variation as Highland Park.
-On Ave 54 (or maybe 53) and 1 block West of the Gold line is a truck called Tacos Sinaloa that specilaizes in certain Sinaloa specialites like Vampiros and Charreadas - kind of lightly cheese filled tacos grilled open faced. Sort of a cross between a quesadilla and a taco.
-Takitaco truck, next to the Food4Less on Ave 52 and Figeroa: excellent al pastor (from the spit) and asada tacos
-El Metate: Ave 53ish and Figueroa, a taco counter with specilaites from Michoacan. Great carnitas and salsas. They make fresh tortillas as well.
-Huarache Azteca: on York and AVe 53, huaraches (sandal shaped grilled masa with various toppings. They are from Morelos state. The adobado is my favorite.
-El Pique taco truck on Ave 57 and York, in the same lot as a car wash. D.F. style tacos with great al pastor and asada.
I am leaving out many others but those are the highlights.
It seems whenever I feel I need to leave a comment it is about the Corner Cottage in Burbank. While they are mostly known for the amazing Breakfast Burrito, I must say I have never had a better chicken taco in my life. It is a little twist on the traditional style. 2 corn tortillas with 1 slice of cheese in the middle and grilled. Then Comes chicken, onion, tomato, cilantro, and the best salsa around all on top. Only downside people might see is you have two choices Chicken or Beef. At the east corner of Victory and Verdugo in Burbank.
If you're ever in Pasadena after 6pm. Go about 1/2 block north of the intersection of Fair Oaks and California.
If you run into a King Taco, you're on the wrong side of the street! If you come across the Nishikawa Auto Service, you're there. Destination: Taco Truck (El Taquito Mexicano #2's taco truck to be exact.)
They have a restaurant, too, if daylight hours are more your thing (just continue up Fair Oaks into North Pasadena @ 467 n. Fair Oaks). The convenience of a taco truck that is open late night, every night is hard to ignore, however.
They make the second best tacos I have ever had in my life. (I won't say which taco spot in the Farmer's market has the best, because like the previous post, it might lead to a digression.)
What sort of tacos are you looking for? LA tacos tend to be the Mexican street food kind, warm, soft corn tortillas with a smattering of seasoned meat, salsa, and not much else filling wise. (including, in general, no cheese.) They're simple and delicious. I think all of the places recommended are good, and if you happen to see a taco truck with a bunch of people lined up, hop in line! You probably won't go too wrong, and often the trucks have tongue etc. that some places don't have. They may look a little dodgy, but they're on the up and up.
If you're looking for fast-food style hard tacos there's a place in Culver City that I won't even mention because it will take this thread in a completely different direction! Just search Culver City and tacos on this board.
i'm unabashedly partisan.
go to taqueria sanchez on centinela.
get their shrimp taco, their shrimp tostada, and/their mojarra frito (sp?).
probably everything else is good too, but i like those dishes so much i've never gotten beyond them.
4541 S Centinela Ave, (310) 822-8880
they close at 7 on the weekdays, and earlier on sunday, so check the hour.
Here are some suggestions for your research....
From NY Times travel....first link has photos, second link is to print version...
You may have to register if you are not a subscriber, and don't know if it costs. You can also buy single articles. "Chasing the Perfect Taco up the California Coast" by Cindy Price, July 21, 20006.
September 2004 Los Angeles Magazine surveys "The 25 Best Mexican Restaurants" including Tacos, Marvelous Mole, The Whole Enchilada by Patric Kuh.