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NY Times Piece on Los Angeles "Taco Truck Battle"

Mel Gee May 2, 2008 11:24 PM



Or just go to www.nytimes.com and search for "Mild Angelenos."

After recently wasting a small fortune on Cut (Vegas branch) and the Water Grill, I especially like the guy who says, “We are poor people feeding other poor people." He could have added: "And feeding them very well."

  1. enbell May 5, 2008 07:45 PM

    Also heard this morning on NPR


    2 Replies
    1. re: enbell
      Mel Gee May 5, 2008 10:11 PM

      Good story -- I like the Jackie Chiles-style comments from the taco-truckers' lawyer -- and the referenced LA Times editorial is also worth reading.

      I used to live in Miami, where a lot of fine Cuban restaurants had walk-up windows that sold great Cuban coffee. If taco trucks are hurting Los Angeles restaurants, then why don't the restaurants fight back with a creative free-market solution like windows selling low-cost tacos y frescas (thus attracting customers to their sit-down service, also), instead of trying to use bureaucrats and the legal system to defeat superior entrepreneurs? That could lead to some very interesting truck vs. restaurant competition.

      BTW, I wonder how many restaurants also own a truck or two?

      1. re: Mel Gee
        Ruth Lafler May 6, 2008 09:42 AM

        I don't know about LA, but in the Bay Area, many of the taco trucks are owned by restaurants. Sometimes successful taco truck operators start their own taquerias; sometimes the taco truck is actually parked in the parking lot for the restaurant. As this demonstrates and as you pointed out, taco trucks and restaurants are really not direct competitors: they are selling different experiences. For me, the taco truck is more a replacement for a drive-thru window or a deli than a sit-down place.

    2. d
      dolly54 May 3, 2008 11:53 AM

      I don't think the truck idea is so new, before the taco truck, people had ROACH COACH'S would go to a place of work during lunch time and sell food. So what is the difference?

      2 Replies
      1. re: dolly54
        trolley May 4, 2008 05:59 PM

        well, the infamous "roach coach" sells a variety of foods and drinks where as the taco truck specializes in tacos and perhaps fruit drinks but doesn't go further than a burrito. i'm not sure people are attacking the taco truck b/c it's a new concept b/c it isn't. it's closer to what aventius mentioned above.

        the NYT article is another one of those NY's view on LA. i had a similar one before i moved out west.

        1. re: trolley
          jlafler May 4, 2008 11:33 PM

          Typically, roach coaches don't make their own food. They sell prepackaged stuff and maybe heat up your hot dog for you. Taco trucks actually have very good, freshly prepared food -- at least some of them do.

      2. trolley May 3, 2008 11:37 AM

        having lived in LA now 6 yrs i feel the taco truck is part of the LA culture. when i have out of town visitors they always want to try a taco truck. when i lived in NY and SF i heard about how good the LA taco trucks were. it's an institution. how can anyone be so dumb to want to get rid of part their local culture?

        1. a
          aventinus May 3, 2008 11:23 AM

          Very lame, government corruption. Complaints from wealthier businesses drive out poorer businesses for no good reason at all. Has anybody not a self-interested businessman called taco trucks an eyesore? I'm sure the establishments of the complainers in East LA aren't exactly fine dining--someone needs to start a movement to uproot them.

          1. w
            Waverly SGV May 3, 2008 10:05 AM

            "Carne asada is not a crime!" Ticketing taco truck vendors, who provide products and services at our convenience, is a crime.

            1. p
              Paliman May 3, 2008 07:49 AM

              And I thought their comments about the city of Los Angeles were classic New York. I am convinced that there is a course in some journalism schools about how to perpetuate a 1948 myth about Los Angeles.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Paliman
                Mel Gee May 4, 2008 03:55 AM

                I agree, Paliman, which is why I changed the title of my post from "NY Times Piece on Los Angeles ..." to "NY Times Piece on Los Angalus ...," but the spelling change didn't take for some reason. I moved to Los Angeles from Washington state at the age of 3 months and can remember throughout my childhood hearing outsiders talk about some place called "Los Angalus."

                1. re: Mel Gee
                  Paliman May 26, 2008 06:10 PM

                  But the funny thing is when I was much younger I knew Angelenos who pronounced the name of the city like that. Of course, they would be about 110

                  1. re: Paliman
                    condiment May 27, 2008 12:20 AM

                    It's really more like Los An-gha-leez. The midwestern-derived pronunciation practically used to be the hallmark of an L.A. native - like you say, a really long time ago.

                    1. re: condiment
                      DanaB May 27, 2008 01:08 PM

                      Yes, my grandfather, who passed away in 1987 and who came to Los Angeles as a baby in the 1910s, called it Los Angales (with a hard "G") until the day he died. In the past 20 years or so, my grandmother (who is hanging in there at age 95 and came to Los Angeles in 1921 at the age of 12), adopted the soft "G" pronunciation :-)

                      1. re: DanaB
                        condiment May 29, 2008 12:31 PM

                        And it's only a matter of time before we all go over to the Lohs Ahn-hay-less pronunciation...

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