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Nov 8, 2006 08:59 PM

Gettings dressed up and going to El Tepayac...

I admit, I can be evil sometimes... That is perhaps why I love Halloween... Which leads me to the perfect example of some of my evil doing... SO was pondering what we should dress up as for Halloween... well my evil mind went a whirling and I innocently suggested, “I dunno... how about a cowboy?” His eyes lit up and he agreed!

Egg...cellent.... *strums fingers together*

Because everyone knows that the BEST place to get cowboy boots in L.A. is in EAST L.A. and in East L.A. there is El Tepayac!! SO had never been, so it was the PERFECT excuse to get my taquito on...

And proof that a picture is worth a thousand words, I present you the much heralded El Tepayac Taquito Plate:

Yes, the taquitos are that big (The guac does indeed cover about half). Yes, they REGULARY give you that much REAL guac (and actually ‘Veteranos’ like me know they used to give you more) and they are ABSOLUTEY stuffed with meat... Lookit...

That is the chicken, the beef looks pretty much the same. You might think that with that amount of guac, they wouldn’t bother with making a good taquito, but they don’t... the taquito is always cooked perfectly CRISP, never chewy, not even after sitting under the guac. The meat is top notch, SO actually preferred the Beef because the beef had more seasoning (The chicken is made with a touch of salt), but I love the chicken, it has a better texture than the beef I find. Eitherway, there is no real aganizing choice here, you can one of each...

As I’ve mentioned, a while back they used to serve you an even bigger mountain of Guac, way more than you could ever pile on two taquitos. Which is probably why they scaled back, so many people just ended up throwing it away!! But I am evil, and intend to eat every last drop of that guac... And so I always order a side of FRESH Chips...

These are the perfect example of TRUE tortilla chips. These are so thick, you can use them as a way to spoon up a juicy burrito (Which I do often! ;) Flavorful of toasted corn and just greasy enough to make them go down EASY....

And of course, we couldn’t make a pilgrimage to El Tepayac without presenting SO with a Hollenbeck!

When I brought it to the Table SO gasped... Then I sliced it open and showed him what a REAL burrito looks like... You will NEVER find one of these wrapped in tinfoil...

As usual, it was just PERFECT... The mountain of meat played with the scant other ingredients wonderfully. The chicken was stewed to just wonderfully, not stringy or chewy, but moist and full of flavor, chicken, salsa and spices. The only aspect one might find missing from this burrito is a lack of heat. It’s not bland by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s not inherently spicy. But that can be easily cured by a sprinkle of hot sauce, or even better, eating it like a real Mexican and taking bites of Serrano chile in between bites of burrito. YUM!! SO enjoyed it incredibly. But would love to try the version with pork. Although I warned him because of the nature of it being in chunks, it can be really uneven, he’s still would love to try since the pork, when done well, is indeed more flavorful.

Luckily for SO, I’m not quite so evil as to order a Manny’s Special (their true MONSTER Burrito), but he saw one being ‘presented’ to another table and just was agast... I told him we’d bring some friends down to tackle it with us... LOL!!

And devilishly, we totally cleaned our plates. and thankfully a full tummy doesn’t affect Boot shopping as we headed to El Mercardito. There we picked up everything for a Happy Halloween, the boots, lasso, rooster cowboy shirt with matching rooster bollo tie. SO looked ADOREABLE... All the stall ladies were chattering to me in Spanish on how cute (and tall!) he was! And once I told him he was a good Catholic, they all give us their blessing... LOL!!

But the temptations kept on coming... We hadn’t had dessert and the perfect treat for the season are the roasted pumpkin sold at the stalls near the exit...

As usually, it was just SO good... so well cooked it had the texture of pure pumpkin candy paste. The spices of clove and cinnamon just PENETRATED each bite. It was the perfect way to end the night and jump into fall. :


So I leave you with an apology for my evil ways... as probably like me, you’ll be thinking about taquitos and guac all day long... ;)


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  1. Manuels Burrito is usually an ample meal for three to four people.

    1. OMG the photos! What are the prices like?

      2 Replies
      1. re: Pei

        Cheap. Manuels Burrito which weighs about four pounds is only $14.95. Hollenbeck Burrito is like $5.95.

        1. re: Pei

          It's ELA... CHEEEEP!! I think the Taquito plate is like $7 and the burritos are $6ish.

          The BEST thing to do is go off hours and sit on the patio area. There is always a line into the main dining room (Which does move quick), but more often than not, I've always found an empty table in the patio and you get your food quick because you order at the take out counter... :)


        2. my mouth is watering......

          we used to go to El Tepeyac (manuel's) when I was growing up, every sunday night.... (as a kid, I had taquitos)

          then when I was a resident at County/USC I used to go pretty frequently (as an adult, I had a Machaca burrito)

          but I haven't been in about 4 years-

          I think I need to go back

          1 Reply
          1. re: msmd310

            Where else you going to eat when you're at County/USC. Nothings changed there.

            When is the off hour? We were there Sunday at 3:00, the patio and take out window were packed. We always eat on the patio-quick service and tip the cook a buck or two and he'll take care of you. If you get Manuels Special Burrito always ask for it to go...whether you're eating it there or not. When they put it on a plate its smaller so it will fit the plate. When they make it to go its larger and they pack it in a soda case carton.

            Ciro's across the street isn't bad either. They'll tell you that El Tepeyac is "LA Mexican" and they're authentic Mexican. Who care's they're both great.

            Ciro's Restaurant
            705 N Evergreen Ave
            Los Angeles, CA 90033
            (323) 269-5104

          2. Where exactly did you get this roasted pumpkin? It looks AMAZING!!!!

            1 Reply
            1. re: CarlieInLA

              El Mercadito of East L.A. on Lorena and 1st Street... several stalls offer them right now. :) It's called "Calabaza" :)


            2. Great post, as usual Dommy. Have never been to El Mercadito, but my (high school Spanish teacher) little sister is in town, and I thought she might dig it. Any pointers for a fellow hound planning a first visit?

              2 Replies
              1. re: David Kahn

                Here are a few....

                > The food at the 3rd Story restaurants with the Mariachis is consistently mediocre... the few exceptions are the Ceviches & Seafood Cocktails

                > All the dessert like stuff (Roasted Pumpkins, Plantains, Gelatines, Tejuino, Tepache, etc.,) are at the 2nd Story Entrance ramp... all are good.

                > Within the 2nd Story there is good variety of stalls serving from Antojitos to Seafood to Tortas... just look for the busiest places. I have never really had anything mediocre there.

                > The 1st Story are mostly leather shops & other durable goods.

                1. re: Eat_Nopal

                  I would agree in that get your meal elsewhere, take her to La Casita in Bell or Babita, they aren't too far from El Mercadito and offer some wonderful food.

                  Along with EN's recs, I also rec the spice/mole vendor on the second floor. She will give you samples and it honestly is the freshest and best mole in the city (I LOVE the poblano, but she has all types), she also sells FRESH Cajeta (Be sure to ask for the goat version). It's just a cute little stop, not an all day thing. :) SO enjoyed his visit there, but that probably had to do with the fact that he came out of there 2 inches taller and felling like a cowboy (After we bought them, he did not take his boots off... LOL!! :))