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Eastside Adventures: Only in my dreams - Taqueria La Fogata

It first appeared to me like a dream. Out of nowhere, we were racing up Central Ave heading towards the 10, and then out of the corner of my eyes, I saw it... a HUGE El Pastor Tropa being wrapped by a Furious LIVE fire, words escaped me so I just shouted, “LOOK!!!” He did, but we were late to where we going, we had no choice but to wiz by and make a promise to return...

As I mentioned in my last ESA post, I did return, and the fire on Central was not to be found. I wondered if perhaps it was a dream...

No, it was déjà vu... shortly thereafter we found ourselves once again in a rush up Central... and there it appeared once more... A massive tropa. sandwiched between a huge onion and pineapple, with a pineapple as its crown and a man with a big knife carefully liberating only the most succulent charred pieces...

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This time we HAD to pull over, afterall, how long can it take to eat ONE taco...

And so we found ourselves on the corner of Central and Adams at Taqueria La Fogata...

As we walked into their patio and were just overcome by the scent of meats, grilling, roasting, braising. The Tropa was just the teaser of the true taco extravaganza that awaited us...

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And as you could see, they had two chefs working together to make your tacos... Yes, these were CHEFS because how he could handle the orders while keeping the eyes on the meats was a sight to be seen... And she on the side, she just wasn’t warming the tortillas... She was MAKING them... So the tortillas were super fresh...

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We were completely DAZZLED by the variety and quality of the meats. We once again shouted “We have to come back again”, and ordered at the cashier just two Al Pastor Tacos. After paying, the lady directed us to the salsa table, where even more treates awaited. For not only did they have an electric soup pot for beans, they had one for one of my favorite treats ever... The Braised Onion... Each one was carefully wrapped in foil so it was still hot and steamy and moist... I grabbed one and ate it like an apple before our Taco order came up...

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When we got our order, we skirted pasted the rest of the impressive salsa table and opted to have NOTHING. Just the Al Pastor Tacos (With their little slab of Pineapple) and bits of another braised onion...

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And we gobbled them up so fast that... I forgot to take a picture! ACK!!!! But needless to say, eating them hot and fresh was the only way to do it... They were just amazing. The Al Pastor, while not the most spicy or flavorful I’ve had, defiantly had the smokey edge. Also, the tortilla, while not as good as the hand made ones at Luz Del Dia, was still wonderfully soft and added a nice taste to the over all meal. Honestly, this was one of the best Al Pastor tacos I’ve had in L.A... This was TRULY a grand find...

But now the bad news... while Taqueria La Fogata is a stand and is pretty much always open, this Taco Set Up isn’t available every nights. From what I’ve been able to in my many passes by the stand since that first pass and the visit, it’s only up on Fridays and in the evening (This was around 7:30pm). Yes, we can’t believe we ONLY had a taco each, but we DO hope to return and try more of their offerings (Cemitas, Multias, Burritos) and definitely more of their meats... YUM!!!!!

--Dommy!

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    1. Dommy - Thanks for taking me along! Your way of posting, with the mouth-watering photos, is an inspiration to all of us who wish to share our Chowhound passions!

      1. Wonderful Dommy! Are they only open evenings, or is this someplace that one could visit for lunch?

        1 Reply
        1. re: David Kahn

          The stand itself is pretty much open all day, but the Taco Table Set-Up appears to be only on Friday Nights...

          --Dommy!

        2. i forget, is al pastor on a spit, pork or beef? or what? the spit looks so tempting.

          1 Reply
          1. Reposted from http://www.chowhound.com/topics/361360

            Just got back from Taqueria La Fogata. 3 of us ordered:

            3 al pastor
            1 pollo
            3 chorizo
            2 french fries

            Al pastor: Good... pineapple slice a nice touch. The stewed onion bin was sadly empty and despite calls by the grillmaster to the staff to refill, it never happened. Made the mistake of putting too much of the spicy dark red sauce on top and it dwarfed the flavor. Next one was garnished only with a little chopped onion, cilanto and a squidge of lime. Much better! However.... it did not have the ultra succulence of those gems at the taco table on Vermont between Pico and Venice.

            Chicken taco-- dry, chewy and bland.

            Chorizo taco-- FANTASTIC. Super flavor that busted our tastebuds wide open. Barely needed embellishment but I added a tiny bit of onion, cilantro and radish... just enough to emphasize the flavor and add texture, but not enough to dwarf the lovely succulent chorizoness of the thing. Clear winner!

            French fries-- huge plate, nice and crispy, salted well, great value at about $1.50 I think.

            Great find... but for the chorizo, not the al pastor I'm afraid!!

            Mr Taster

            2 Replies
            1. re: Mr Taster

              Oh wow!!! Thanks for stepping up to the plate and giving it a shot and trying lots more meats than I did... Chorizo done in that hub cap braiser thing is indeed just a juicy meat bomb... :) And now P. wants me to take him to the Vermont Taco table... LOL!! :)

              --Dommy!

              1. re: Dommy

                Great find, Dommy! Please report back on this place vs. the Vermont Taco Table!

            2. Stopped by this place tonight and loved it. Thanks Dommy!

              They take the al pastor spit out on Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons and evenings, but according to the cook, they otherwise have it up and running inside the stand. Great al pastor, excellent chorizo, lovely cooked onions, and very nice homemade (if not hand-shaped) tortillas. Also, the folks who work there are extremely friendly. Definitely worth the trip from downtown LA. They are open for lunch everyday; I'll give it a try soon and report back.

              Excellent discovery Dommy!

              1 Reply
              1. re: David Kahn

                Thanks so much for investigating that David!! They must have thought I was a CRAZY woman rushing in there snapping pictures, eating and running... LOL!! :) That is great they have Al Pastor all week, but part of the joy of the set up is seeing it live... Too cool! :)

                --Dommy!

              2. dommy

                great taco reporting!

                you have me drooling over here. Hechas a mano tortillas with a taco cart is always nice.

                is the sausage in the hubcap always chorizo? Sometimes I'll be at a taco table and see a link braising in the hubcap grill and it looks like a different kind of sausage.

                1. In my experience, yes, they are almost always chorizo, but I'm not talking about the grainy 'Adelitas' ones you use for your eggs, I'm talking about real artisan meaty ones. The key of course is the use of the red (or green) spice mixture. Here's picture of a Mulita I got from a neighborhood taco table with Hubcap. As you can see the meat definatly has that red twinge to it... :)

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