- Cha Hound
Found myself with 40 minutes to spill coming off the 405 and saw this taco stand at corner of venice and sawtelle - went in after passing by it so many times when a friend lived in the area. It looked like such a wretched dump from the outside:disused small strip mall w/ 7-11, no parking, neglected barely-attached slanted and rotting sign - that I had to try it. It's 10:30 am and a 50ish woman with man-ish facial features but a pleasant demeanor and genuine care stops wiping down tables (the place is empty) and asks what i need. unable to think fast enough to even look at the menu, I order a pork taco. $1.40. She asks me if cilantro and onions are OK. Of course they are, and they have fresh fruit for sale on the counter: bananas, apples and peaches. i'm excited cuz I need some fruit. Another guy comes out and starts getting the pan hot enough to cook the pork and when i get the taco it is a normal hand size tortilla on aplate that has absoultely no room to pick up and fold the taco: lots o pork. The pork is 92% meat/8%fat, charred crisp on the outside like perfect skins and hot lava still wet on the inside. I had to push aside half the meat in order to eat it with my hands rather than my cutlery, and asked for another tortilla to eat the rest: 2nd one was free of course (I certainly tipped), and heated to serve.
i don't remember the sauces too well, though i tried them all, because the pork was perfect. A cheap, friendly and welcoming place with an allegiance to serving cared-for food; a true surprise.
(by the way, i'm relatively new to these boards and have been in LA area for less than a year. Done time in Chicago, South Carolina and London. Hello!)
Welcome to Chowhound! Glad to have you here, although I disagree with you about Tacos Aguila. I tried it a couple weeks ago and was unimpressed. It was alright, but they had a poor selection of meats (they didn't even have al pastor), and I didn't think the quality of the food or the atmosphere was so hot. I much prefer a place like Taqueria Sanchez in Marina Del Rey, or Tacos Por Favor in Santa Monica, or my favorite Westside place, La Playita in Santa Monica. Even La Fiesta, next to Tito's, is better that Aguila, and it's nearby. Just 'cause I disagreed with you, though, don't get the wrong idea. Debate's what Chowhound's all about.
Sorry I got the city wrong. I've only been once, but I had a few different dishes. They have probably the widest selection of meats I've ever seen, if you're into the more obscure ones, and more importantly, the quality was pretty high. The costillas (ribs) were pretty decent, and the tacos were about a 7, with Aguila at maybe a 5 and La Playita at 8.5 or so. Sanchez has a pretty extensive menu, including sopes, gorditas, birria de chivo (a sort of goat stew), and I think also chilaquiles. The horchata was nothing special, just some ready-made stuff, and the tacos were kind of small, but they were pretty well-made.
re: David Boyk
That's too bad David didn't enjoy Aguila. I havent tried the other places you mentioned and will do so in time. I feel I must disagree about the quality of the meat I had: it was outstanding - perfect crispy and delicious chewy with no distractions. I don't regularly eat huge pork tacos before 11am, and my body loved it, especially my lips and teeth.
The atmosphere was just right for me: unrushed and negative 10 on the hectic scale, just right for enjoying the food and some reading.
I'll have to go back and investigate consistency. Cheers