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What makes Tito's so good

magic man Jan 29, 2009 10:39 AM

Tito's are the best tacos on Los Angeles. I live 30 miles away but it dosn't stop me from waiting in line for there great food. I wish there was one closer to my house.

  1. f
    FKA Andrew Feb 12, 2009 03:37 PM

    In response to the original post:

    Liking Tito's Tacos is simple recipe...

    One part nostalgia
    Zero parts taste buds
    One part cheap
    Ten parts cheddar cheese
    One part boiled and unseasoned brisket
    One part unmemorable salsa
    One part smoke

    I like smoked meats because the smoking process can usually make any meat taste good but the smoke actually refers to the herb that is smoked and causes the smoker to eat a lot of just about anything...

    1 Reply
    1. re: FKA Andrew
      kevin Feb 12, 2009 04:52 PM

      so i guess it's all about the cheddar cheese at Tito's.

      now i kind of want to try one for the sake of the experiment.


    2. c
      ceviche Feb 4, 2009 02:28 PM

      i went there once b/c some classmates (all of them mexican america) recommended tito's for their tacos. i won't be going back. not because i don't like americanized mexican food, just b/c tito's isn't a very good rendition of it. i used to eat crunchy tacos growing up. shredded beef, lettuce, yellow cheese, hot sauce. i still really like them...just not the ones at tito's.

      so, to try and steer this conversation toward something helpful: to everyone who doesn't like the crunchy tacos at titos, what places (in LA) do a good crunchy taco? my favorite places are 60 miles east (riverside) and 360 miles east (phoenix) so something a little closer would be awesome.

      9 Replies
      1. re: ceviche
        kevin Feb 4, 2009 03:45 PM

        arturo's home of the puffy paco in whittier is pretty awesome, great salsa, picadillo, or shredded beef, orange shredded cheese, in a fried taco shell or puffy style, similar to indian fry bread. like tito's only much better. and also it's Tex-mex cuisine if i ain't mistaken.

        1. re: ceviche
          Vaya Con Carne Feb 4, 2009 07:02 PM

          The crispy tacos (tacos dorados) at My Taco in Highland Park are my favorite. On the westside, the crispy tacos at Tacos Por Favor have been highly recommended - haven't tried them myself, because at TPF I opt for chorizo and cheese soft tacos instead.

          1. re: ceviche
            Frommtron Feb 4, 2009 07:12 PM

            Sabor a Mexico *used* to have an excellent version on the westside. I don't know if they're still on the menu since they've moved.

            1. re: Frommtron
              waxfondler Feb 6, 2009 09:12 PM

              I finally went to Titos to see what was up. Tried the tacos and it was not good. I will not be back.

              1. re: waxfondler
                swimfin Feb 6, 2009 09:37 PM

                DON"T do the tacos. They are OK, but instead get a bean and cheese burrito, and be sure to buy enough both red and green salsa (well, the green is basically diced jalapenos). Comfort food. The beef that's not ground beef is mystery, stay away. Been going 35 years. Oh, and the trick is to go to the inside window to order -faster almost always.

                1. re: waxfondler
                  westsidegal Feb 6, 2009 09:42 PM

                  nothing there is any better than the tacos.
                  there is no need to go back

                  1. re: waxfondler
                    Frommtron Feb 7, 2009 08:46 AM

                    No. Never. Don't ever go back. Like I said, I'll never fault anyone for loving an LA institution. However, in my opinion the food is execrable.

                    1. re: Frommtron
                      The Chowhound Team Feb 13, 2009 07:18 AM

                      We've removed a large number of posts from this sub-thread -- including, unfortunately, some relatively friendly comments that didn't make sense without the context they were in.

                      If you want to comment on Tito's food -- whether it's good or bad, or what it aspires to be or doesn't -- that's fine. But the personal comments about other posters tastes, level of knowledge, etc, are unfriendly and unnecessary.

                      More general discussion about personal tastes vs. dining habits and nostalgia foods that is not specific to Tito's might be better suited to the General Topics board.

                      1. re: The Chowhound Team
                        Servorg Feb 13, 2009 08:05 AM

                        Okay. New discussion (including some of the deleted posts) here:


              2. fgrade Feb 3, 2009 02:47 PM

                i guess this is proof that everyone has different tastes in food

                i've only been to tito's once, and i am glad to say that i'm keeping it that way, even my friend who doesn't discriminate much when it comes to food was not happy with what was given to us i exchange for our money

                it just wasn't impressive, my old high school served better tasting hard shell tacos

                2 Replies
                1. re: fgrade
                  Adsvino Feb 3, 2009 07:31 PM

                  HOT DAMN, that Tito's be good!

                  1. re: Adsvino
                    fgrade Feb 6, 2009 11:05 AM


                2. w
                  WSB Feb 2, 2009 02:44 PM

                  Jack in the Box has better tacos.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: WSB
                    fkingford Feb 5, 2009 02:24 PM

                    couldn't agree more and I live blocks away from Tito's. The worst tacos in all of L.A.

                  2. b
                    bophisto Feb 1, 2009 04:21 PM

                    Apple pan is the same, but I think there is more nostalgia there. It would be amazing to find out how much Tito's and Apple Pan gross and net in a year. They are definitely cash cows.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: bophisto
                      kevin Feb 1, 2009 07:06 PM

                      Gargantuation cash cows. they are the 800 pound gorillas of cash cows.

                    2. b
                      bophisto Feb 1, 2009 04:17 PM

                      I would have to say the consistency ,plus it is relatively cheap as well . There is something to be said for consistency and speed , look at the success of McDonald's . They deliver a product cheap and quick , that's what keeps people coming back.

                      1. c
                        Chez Coop Feb 1, 2009 03:45 PM

                        I don't care.. I agree and I just love F^$#ing TITOS. Whenever I get that craving for a fried taco w/ yellow cheese, I find myself in line. I starve myself all day and order 4 tacos w/ cheese, 1 beef, bean and cheese burrito w/ a side of guacawater(yum) red and green salsa. I bring home the chips to make migas for either breakfast, lunch or dinner depending on my schedule that next day.

                        1. p
                          pharmnerd Feb 1, 2009 07:21 AM

                          For me, the draws are the communal feel of the place, the chili con carne used in the burritos and consistency (food's been the same since the 30+ years I can remember). Everyone knows it's Mexican-ISH food, so don't expect anything more. If you want something closer to a real taco, go nearby to Don Felix, Taqueria Sanchez, etc

                          Tip: To add some kick to the mild salsa, ask for a side of chopped jalapenos.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: pharmnerd
                            pharmnerd Feb 1, 2009 07:29 AM

                            To add, saw a Tito's commercial on TV recently in the wee hours (may 2-3am). Cracked-up as it was expectedly cheesy & low-budget.

                            1. re: pharmnerd
                              monkuboy Feb 1, 2009 05:10 PM

                              What is even cheesier and low budget is going to the Tito's website. As soon as the page loads, that horrible song comes blaring through the speakers at max volume!! Makes it kind of embarrassing if you're visiting the site while at work. : )

                              1. re: monkuboy
                                aliris Feb 2, 2009 11:24 PM

                                Internal consistency is definitely their long suit -- in more ways than one! I kinda like that I can enjoy the cheesiness in some way that won't kill me. I sure can't stomach their "food"!

                          2. Normal Garciaparra Jan 31, 2009 08:57 PM

                            I think the reason for Tito's appeal is that it's on the Westside. You know, because Westsiders don't ever venture east of the 405/LaCienega/La Brea/etc, so for them this is the best Mexican food ever.

                            16 Replies
                            1. re: Normal Garciaparra
                              monkuboy Jan 31, 2009 09:44 PM

                              Yeah, over on the east side we have Pepe's. ; ) lol..

                              1. re: monkuboy
                                E Eto Jan 31, 2009 09:59 PM

                                And on the mid-side, we have El Cholo.

                                1. re: E Eto
                                  kevin Feb 1, 2009 01:11 PM

                                  that gave me a nice belly laugh.

                              2. re: Normal Garciaparra
                                dfoldes Feb 1, 2009 01:54 PM

                                i see this attitude and short sighted inaccuracy pop up on here a bit too often and having lived both on the east side and west side it's pretty frustrating to see. i actually find it works the other way and that on average it's the people living on the east side that don't venture west - and it's not because there's a lack of good food... let's be honest there's no chichen itza, langer's, pie n' burger, yuca's, phillips bbq or for that matter providence, sona or whatever but there are a ton of very good restaurants - tacos por favor and lare's, tamra's tamales for example have considerably better food than tito's. in general i see this kid of thinking on here quite a bit and it usually surfaces in the generic recommendations people make when suggesting west side restaurants, but when someone lays it out like you did i feel it deserves to called. i also would like to see people digging a bit deeper, there is good food on the west side and it's a shame it's kind of being overlooked.

                                1. re: dfoldes
                                  The Old Man Feb 1, 2009 04:31 PM

                                  Thanks for your response. His was such a condescending and misinformed post.

                                  1. re: The Old Man
                                    Briggs Feb 6, 2009 09:38 PM

                                    Exhibit A for the defense:
                                    From ElJeffe's current "Best Pizza (NY Style) in LA." thread:
                                    "As I head East of the 405 about twice a year at best, I'm enforcing the strict "LA" qualification..."

                                    As a former Westsider - I would say this qualifies as offensive WS chauvinism. That someone could consider that L.A. only exists west of the 405 is just plain stupid. The point is that we Eastsiders realize there IS good and excellent food on the Westside - but we're more than happy (and yes, perhaps smug sometimes) with our choices here. It seems many of our Westside counterparts tend to think there's nothing beyond La Cienega...

                                  2. re: dfoldes
                                    fgrade Feb 6, 2009 11:15 AM

                                    yes, but no

                                    there are a ton of places from the west side being talked about on chow, and the attitude you are referring to comes up with places on the east side as well

                                    it's a matter of opinion, some of us are very passionate about certain foods, and when we have something that is not up to par or even close, we are going to say it, as an opinion, not necessarily fact, obviously

                                    1. re: fgrade
                                      Servorg Feb 6, 2009 03:13 PM

                                      I think the objection (and I share the same feeling) is that the moment you smear an entire quadrant of LA as being "taste deficient" in one ethnic food area or another you have failed the "taste" and "smell" test as surely as if you had said that "100%" of master sake brewers in Japan are Japanese.

                                      1. re: Servorg
                                        fgrade Feb 9, 2009 12:51 PM

                                        that's not what i said at all

                                        if you're going to refer to tito's as a quadrant, then not only have you misinterpreted what i said, you have grossly twisted it, there are good places and bad places to eat on the east side just like the west side, for me, tito's is a bad one on the west side

                                        it doesn't matter who it is that is producing the plates in the kitchen, what matters here is the end result

                                        1. re: fgrade
                                          Servorg Feb 9, 2009 01:11 PM

                                          After you replied to dfoldes post (which rightly took exception to Normal Garciappara's remarks about westsiders having questionable taste in Mexican food being the reason for the positive posts about Tito's) I then replied.

                                          In that reply I was offering my opinion as to the fallacy of the argument in Normal Garciappara's post above: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5919...

                                          I didn't say you in the "you" fgrade sense, but rather in the "you" in the "those who believe what Normal Garciappara said" sense.

                                    2. re: dfoldes
                                      Mr Taster Feb 6, 2009 03:35 PM

                                      My biggest issue with eating on the westside is that, on the whole, things tend to be a lot more expensive. There are exceptions, but if your criteria is (like mine) finding sheer density of inexpensive deliciousness you get a much better bang for your buck by going east rather than west.

                                      For me (and I suspect for many others) it's an issue of economics. By and large, there is a great deal more wealth concentrated on the westside, and a great deal more restaurants that cater to people who can afford a higher dinner bill. It's not so easy for people with less income to afford those expensive westside meals, but the opposite is not necessarily true. Yet for some reason you don't find Boyle Heights taquerias flooded with Priuses and Beemers with "Santa Monica Toyota" license plate frames. Why is that?

                                      Servorg, I await your response and condemnation!

                                      Mr Taster

                                      1. re: Mr Taster
                                        kevin Feb 6, 2009 03:43 PM

                                        You're right you obviously don't, but does Mar Vista in your eyes and Palms count as the Westside in your opinion. If so there are lots of cheaper eats there, but also good food too, as in the much aforementioned Mariscos Chente, et al.

                                        1. re: Mr Taster
                                          Servorg Feb 6, 2009 03:43 PM

                                          Mariscos Chente

                                          1. re: Mr Taster
                                            bulavinaka Feb 6, 2009 04:41 PM

                                            If you mine further into your observations, you'll find the answer.

                                            >>By and large, there is a great deal more wealth concentrated on the westside...<<

                                            This concentration of wealth is due to the Real Estate's Rules #1, 2, and 3. Location, location, and location. Like so many things in economics, demand usually plays the key role in price. I've lived here most of my life from when Marina del Rey was a swamp and people laughed at the thought of buying homes in dumps like Venice, Santa Monica, as well as out in the sticks of Palisades and Malibu. But the fresh air, the cool breezes and the lower population density (but getting worse by the day) cannot be replicated. These areas became very popular starting in the late 70s-80s as so many people from the Midwest, back East, and around the world started to migrate to LA. Places from Midtown (I was born and raised there) and so many areas that are demarcated east of the corridors like the 405, La Brea, La Cienega, etc., have sub-par to horrid air quality, worse traffic and population density issues, and other "incurable defects" and population-related issues. These are the main reasons why land is so expensive in the Westside - and this translates into relatively higher overhead costs than say places like Boyle Heights.

                                            >>Yet for some reason you don't find Boyle Heights taquerias flooded with Priuses and Beemers with "Santa Monica Toyota" license plate frames...<<

                                            And while your observation here is true, this can be said about any area-specific population relative to any area. Have you seen the number of non-Westside residents flooding the Westside on weekends, particularly in the summer and particularly to the parks and beaches? I can guarantee that for every Prius or Beemer with a "Santa Monica Toyota" license plate frame that you count in Boyle Heights, you will count hundreds if not thousands of cars with old "Downtown Felix Chevrolet" license plate frames or from any other area parked in the streets and parking structures throughout the Westside, because sitting in a tiny cramped sweltering apartment in a part of town where the viscous air pollutes your lungs. It's all a matter of what resources are important to each individual and where one must go to seek out those resources.

                                            Why people are so eager to variously deride the Westside on this board is a puzzle to me. It seems that to many, if it ain't Langers, Phillipes' (which I personally detest but that a whole other story), or some other "institution," than the area is labeled a wasteland. We have no York Blvd, but we have our share of very respectable Mexican eateries - yes, on the Westside. Tacos Por Favor, Taqueria Sanchez, Tacomiendo, Gallgegos Mexican Deli, Monte Alban, Mariscos Chente, La Oaxaquena and Cemitas Poblanas trucks are good enough for my local rotation. If I happen to be within striking distance of some ethnic-dense eateries, than I'll go for it - I feel if I don't, it's a lost opportunity. Maybe I'm a Chowhound-lite in this sense, but I that's me.

                                            If I'm making a trip specifically for food, it's SGV - the king of ethnic-dense eateries. I can literally make a day of it and as far as it is from the Westside, as thick as traffic can be, and as bad as the air can hit my lungs on a hot inversion-layered day, it is only a day - half a day usually - and I feel fulfilled in my total but brief immersion. I love and respect this and other food-rich areas. While I still choose to live in the Westside, I don't feel a need to slam areas outside of here - just a native Angeleno stating the facts...

                                        2. re: Normal Garciaparra
                                          fgrade Feb 3, 2009 02:49 PM

                                          yeah, as authentic mexican as burritos and nachos get

                                          1. re: Normal Garciaparra
                                            ohdaylay Feb 4, 2009 03:26 PM

                                            Agreed, Normal. If they want "real tacos" they should head to My Taco on York Blvd. in Highland Park. Also in Highland park is El Arco Iris, also on york. Shoot, there are even a bunch of really quality taco trucks that call HP home. On the Westside, I agree that Tacos Por Favor is the spot. Really solid food with fresh ingredients. Who could ask for more?

                                          2. c
                                            CCDiner Jan 31, 2009 08:16 PM

                                            Mmmm, yes I remember MAGO's, a cha siu buritto w/ avocado was very tasty, as well as the cha siu tacos.

                                            Very sweet and sumptious.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: CCDiner
                                              kevin Feb 1, 2009 01:11 PM

                                              what's cha siu?

                                              also, is there anywhere that serves up the kind of food doled out by Mago's, if i'm correct it was located on centinela near washington, right????

                                              1. re: kevin
                                                Das Ubergeek Feb 1, 2009 08:16 PM

                                                Chinese barbecued pork.

                                            2. monku Jan 30, 2009 09:20 PM

                                              30+ years ago when I moved to LA from NY my east coast friend took me to TT's one day and had the beef burrito. It had big chunks of meaty and what I thought was the Mexican flavor. For a while that was the standard I compared all others to. One day he took me to Mago's where I discovered their fried chicken burrito...who knew Japanese American's could make great Mexican food.
                                              Later I discovered there was better than TT's and Mago's, but still I get a craving for TT's and unfortunately Mago's is no longer.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: monku
                                                monkuboy Jan 30, 2009 09:43 PM

                                                Mmm - Magos! And they used to be open all night, too! The big plus was that Magos, Titos and Johnny's Pastrami were all so close to each other (I'd add Bruno's to that list as well, what used to be at Venice and Centinela).

                                                1. re: monkuboy
                                                  monku Jan 30, 2009 09:50 PM

                                                  Yeah, you could make a pretty good rotation in those days.

                                              2. E Eto Jan 30, 2009 01:15 PM

                                                What makes Tito's so appealing is that it is so entrenched in Americana. As an old established LA eatery, it developed its recipes a long time ago for a population of Americans seeing out a new flavor as well as local Mexican Americans seeking out something familiar with a twist. That's historically how cuisines fuse and become something new. Tito's is just that. It isn't Mexican food. It's American food. And it appeals to many segments of LA's population. Even with me. There are many versions of Tito's-like inventions throughout the country as immigrants bring parts of their native cuisines to the mainstream. A Tito's taco is akin to an east coast Chinese eggroll that seems to get some attention on these boards. As insipid as these are, they inspire nostalgia, just as a Tito's ground beef taco does for someone who enjoyed these at a young age.

                                                Tito's doesn't pretend to be anything other than what it is: LA style Mexican American food. From the looks of it, Tito's style food is what inspired chains like Taco Bell, Del Taco and the rest of those Mexican-like chains. It belongs on the same shelf with the likes of the Mission burrito, Chicago pizza, Philly cheesesteaks, Cincinnati chili, NY Chinese food, just to name others.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: E Eto
                                                  Mr Taster Jan 30, 2009 01:42 PM

                                                  There are plenty of bland eggrolls in the New York City metro area, but when you find a place that does it right, they are anything but insipid.

                                                  This is not nostalgia speaking. This is from a very recent visit to NYC, where 70% of my eggroll experiences were generic to awful, but one simply knocked my socks off (If you're curious, it came from an anonymous Chinese/soul food shop with bulletproof glass windows in the Carribbean district of Flatbush Ave, right next to a video shop specializing in blaxploitation flicks... on the corner on the west side of Flatbush)... and throught the miracle of google maps street view, I think this is the place:


                                                  (I don't see the chinese restaurant, but the "Kung Fu Video" awning is a dead giveaway...!


                                                  My limited experience with them (twice, I believe) seems to jive with virtually every other non native Angeleno. Granted, there's only one Tito's Tacos, and they're the very epitome of insipid. Bland, bland, bland.

                                                  However, I am willing to give them another shot per my response to theonceler's above post, which definitely piqued my curiosity.....

                                                  Mr Taster

                                                2. e
                                                  Ernie Jan 30, 2009 12:33 PM

                                                  I guess if you grew up in West LA and do not venture east of the 405 very much you might consider it "the best tacos on Los Angeles," fortunately I do not have that problem

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: Ernie
                                                    D Hound Jan 30, 2009 01:14 PM

                                                    Tito's is not best of anything, and surely not best of Mexican food. For starter's, it's not Mexican. And, if what you are looking for is Americanized takes on "Mexican" food (read: gloppy food with melted cheese on top and rather generic salsa), there are much much better options. I have no problem with Americanized "Mexican" food; some of it can be tasty. I do find it a bit disturbing that it leads people to believe that they are eating actual Mexican food, but oh well.

                                                    1. re: Ernie
                                                      wilafur Feb 2, 2009 10:59 AM

                                                      tito's is technically east of the 405....maybe 50-100yards east....

                                                      1. re: wilafur
                                                        monkuboy Feb 2, 2009 05:08 PM

                                                        Not even that much.. more like 50 feet.

                                                    2. c
                                                      Chow Bella Jan 30, 2009 12:09 PM

                                                      This Valley Girl doesn't get over the hill as often as I used to........yay for jobs close to home...... so it is with much sadness that I read all the critical posts about Tito's. Many moons ago this was definitely THE place for good, unpretentious mexican. My goodness was there anything better than that little styrofoam container filled with that delicate, tender, saucy beef................

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Chow Bella
                                                        Mr Taster Jan 30, 2009 01:32 PM

                                                        See my post above re: nostalgia.

                                                        Mr Taster

                                                      2. t
                                                        torimo Jan 29, 2009 10:32 PM

                                                        I actually met the daughter of the family; she runs Tito's Tacos. Nice young businesswoman. I didn't have the nerve to tell her what I really thought of the food... but we chatted for a while about how her family created an institution. She was interested in expanding it, I think, but worried about replicating the quality. In truth, the place is so systematic and the ingredients lacking in complexity. It is entirely built around its own mystique. The food is soupy and cheap, the lines long, and the wait unbearable. And their food costs are rock bottom. But people can't stop eating there...

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: torimo
                                                          monku Jan 29, 2009 10:40 PM

                                                          When you say good businesswoman she must be, don't laugh but the business model is better than most. Talked to someone who worked there and they were looking to hire people. They were offering like $10/hour a 40 hour work week with overtime and even health benefits.

                                                          1. re: monku
                                                            torimo Jan 29, 2009 10:46 PM

                                                            Interesting! I guess that doesn't surprise me. She told me the place generated a tremendous amount of cash. Her biggest issue has been what to do to reinvest the profits. She gets hit up continuously by people who want to "invest" in the concept -- to own a piece of the success, but raising capital is the last problem they have -- and keeping the money/control in the family is the smartest decision. If I'm not impressed by the food, I'm still definitely impressed (envious perhaps?) by the soundness of the business model.

                                                            1. re: torimo
                                                              kevin Jan 30, 2009 07:54 AM

                                                              this joint and the apple pan are two of the greatest business models in la.

                                                              i think the apple pan is an even better model. there's an inherent inelastic demand, they keep on increasing the prices, about every 1.5 mos, and bingo presto, people still visit en masse. you gotta luv em.

                                                              1. re: kevin
                                                                CucumberBoy Jan 30, 2009 09:49 AM

                                                                Kevin wrote:

                                                                >>but it's OPEN FACED<<

                                                                I’m not disputing you, Kevin, I just thought it was funny to consider the concept of an open-faced burrito. If it were, indeed, open-faced, wouldn’t it be more like a quesadilla? Or a tostada (on an un-fried tortilla)? I think if a burrito is served open-faced, well, it’s not a burrito anymore.

                                                                Semantics, I guess; as long as there’s rice, beans, and cheese, I’ll eat anything, open-faced or not. That includes Paris Hilton.

                                                                theonceler wrote:

                                                                >>don't consider Don Adrian's a long distance chow destination place but you should try that sandwich<<

                                                                I eat there all the time; the fish and jabon sandwiches are, indeed, awesome, especially with extra peppers. Perhaps I’ll try the pigs feet at some point. But I’m wary of their menu item entitled “leg of cattle.” “Leg” being singular, “cattle” being plural, I’ve got to wonder: what exactly is “leg of cattle”?


                                                                1. re: CucumberBoy
                                                                  Das Ubergeek Jan 30, 2009 12:09 PM

                                                                  "fish and jabon sandwiches" -- I'm sorry, I know you meant "jamón", and that sounds tasty, but this made me laugh so hard -- "jabón" is Spanish for "soap".

                                                        2. d
                                                          dfoldes Jan 29, 2009 04:06 PM

                                                          in regards to what makes tito's so good it's the same thing as pink's... NOTHING. biggest riddle in LA for me.

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: dfoldes
                                                            broncosaurus Jan 29, 2009 07:14 PM

                                                            The best taco in Los Angeles? "It was just my imagination....running away from me..."

                                                            I mean really...it's straight from Hyperion.

                                                            1. re: dfoldes
                                                              The Old Man Jan 30, 2009 08:51 AM

                                                              While I agree with both sentiments I do love one thing about Tito's--its mix of clientele. It shows the best of LA to see white, black, brown, well off and not, young, old, all standing together talking, laughing and enjoying themselves.

                                                              1. re: The Old Man
                                                                Servorg Jan 30, 2009 08:57 AM

                                                                Good description of what I enjoy about Pann's and Dino's Burgers too.

                                                                1. re: The Old Man
                                                                  broncosaurus Jan 30, 2009 08:51 PM

                                                                  Yeah, sorta like the tv vids of the LA riots back in the early 90s ;)
                                                                  Actually I agree with the sentiment, one of many reasons why I love my hometown.

                                                              2. orythedog Jan 29, 2009 03:16 PM

                                                                A better question might be, " What COULD make Tito's so good?"

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: orythedog
                                                                  monkuboy Jan 29, 2009 03:22 PM

                                                                  What COULD make Tito's so good? Absolutely NOTHING! If they changed their tacos, it wouldn't be Tito's anymore that so many of us (regardless of how questionable our tastes may be) have come to know and love over the years. I don't get out that way too much and the last time I ate there was last summer but Tito's was still Tito's.. for what that's worth. To me that is meant in a positive way. The only bad thing I can say about them is they have such stupid music on their website. At least the old Quizno commercials have crazy music but they're funny. Tito's is annoying.

                                                                2. c
                                                                  CucumberBoy Jan 29, 2009 02:31 PM

                                                                  I'm still cracking up over Kevin's mention of an "open-face burrito."

                                                                  There's a Mexican sandwich place near me (Don Adrian's Cemitas Poblanas) with a menu listing of "leg of cattle."

                                                                  Maybe I'm just not cut out for this whole CH thing -- I don't get it.


                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: CucumberBoy
                                                                    kevin Jan 29, 2009 05:53 PM

                                                                    doesn't state on the menu as such

                                                                    but's it's OPEN FACED.

                                                                    closed faced, open faced, it would still be all delicious.

                                                                    1. re: CucumberBoy
                                                                      theonceler Jan 29, 2009 08:31 PM

                                                                      I don't consider Don Adrian's a long distance chow destination place but you should try that sandwich since its near... pickled feet are actually not that scary and its one of the better things that they have there. At worst you would be out a few bucks.

                                                                    2. s
                                                                      silence9 Jan 29, 2009 01:40 PM

                                                                      *edited/deleted by moi. mea culpa.

                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                      1. re: silence9
                                                                        magic man Jan 29, 2009 01:48 PM

                                                                        I'm new on Chowhound. I don't work for Tito's, just a fan.
                                                                        I love the salsa and have never had a bad meal there.

                                                                        1. re: magic man
                                                                          silence9 Jan 29, 2009 01:56 PM

                                                                          Fair enough. Sorry. I will edit/delete my snarky first response. Enjoy Chowhound, and keep posting...

                                                                          1. re: magic man
                                                                            Das Ubergeek Jan 29, 2009 01:58 PM

                                                                            All snarkiness aside, I really do urge you to look for tacos on the board -- there are some really great trucks as well as shops -- Tacos Por Favor in Santa Monica is a board favourite.

                                                                            1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                                                              Mr Taster Jan 29, 2009 02:00 PM

                                                                              Yes, exactly. Let this trouncing of Tito's be magic man's first step into the larger taco world of Los Angeles. Before you know it he'll be eating buches in Boyle Heights.

                                                                              Mr Taster

                                                                            2. re: magic man
                                                                              westsidegal Jan 29, 2009 03:45 PM

                                                                              welcome, grasshopper.
                                                                              we will guide you. . . . .

                                                                          2. gadflier Jan 29, 2009 01:16 PM


                                                                            1. Frommtron Jan 29, 2009 01:13 PM

                                                                              I'm embarassed to say that I recently recommended Tito's to someone looking for Tacos Dorados on a recent thread.

                                                                              In my defense, I hadn't been in years and I could swear I remembered liking them. Well, after driving by Tito's on my way over to Mariscos Chente for the 4th time in as many days I was struck by a strong nostalgic impulse to change plans and go to Tito's instead.

                                                                              I'm not one to knock an LA institution. I'm an unabashed fan of the Apple Pan, Phillipe's, Langer's, Clifton's, etc. I get the criticisms and I just don't care. Tito's I can't personally support.

                                                                              I'll just sum up my honest assessment of each component of the famed tacos:

                                                                              1. The beef was dry and dried out. I found it to taste of salt and . . . well, that's it actually. No beef flavor at all that I could discern.
                                                                              2. The lettuce was fresh, crisp, iceberg. Well known to offer absolutely no flavor. But it performed it's intended job.
                                                                              3. The cheese is mild, food-industry grade orange. The label might be stamped cheddar but really, I think we all know what we have here. Nothing special and nothing flavorful.
                                                                              4. The shell. Alternately hard and dry or oily and soggy. Depended if meat was behind the shell or not. It was a fairly thick shell.
                                                                              5. The salsa. Clearly made fresh from out of season tomatoes. Perhaps at another time of year the salsa uses higher quality tomato (similar seasonal variations can be found at El Parian). It had very little heat and no noticable chunks of chilli. It was salted seasoned properly and had a welcome acidity from vinegar (clearly white and not cider).

                                                                              For me, it was brutally disgusting and I insantly regretted the detour and the recent post.

                                                                              Now, if you are nostalgic for that brand of re-interpreted Mexican, I heartily recommend Sky's Tacos on Olympic, near Hauser.

                                                                              It's a sould food restaurant with a Mexican menu if that makes sense. Ground beef, lettuce, orange cheese tacos that are actually good. The "carnitas" aren't carnitas at all but WOW, whetever it is it was delicious. Not really Mexican food, but then again neither is Tito's.

                                                                              8 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Frommtron
                                                                                kevin Jan 29, 2009 02:04 PM

                                                                                oh, sky's is really good a soul food-run version of mexican food. even their veggie tacos with pseudo-meat is delicious.

                                                                                and don't even get me started on the OPEN FACED SHRIMP BURRITOS, these are excellent and the tangy sauce is beyond compare.

                                                                                1. re: kevin
                                                                                  Frommtron Jan 29, 2009 03:23 PM

                                                                                  Glad to hear from another fan. The place is just great. On paper it's all wrong but somehow they hit a home run for me every time.

                                                                                  I have not tried the open faced shrimp burrito, (Again, doesn't sound at all right when you write it out) but I'll give them a go next. Thanks for the rec.

                                                                                2. re: Frommtron
                                                                                  rupertmonkey Jan 29, 2009 03:42 PM

                                                                                  Just so no one gets lost, Sky's is on Pico, not Olympic.

                                                                                  1. re: rupertmonkey
                                                                                    Frommtron Jan 29, 2009 03:57 PM


                                                                                    1. re: Frommtron
                                                                                      kevin Jan 29, 2009 05:51 PM

                                                                                      yes, it's on pico, nice joint. be sure to set aside plenty of time too, it's not exactly "fast food."

                                                                                      also, in the area is la pain for chocoate croissants.

                                                                                      1. re: kevin
                                                                                        Frommtron Jan 29, 2009 06:06 PM

                                                                                        Yeah, I noticed that, too. Worth the wait and they are very friendly.

                                                                                        1. re: kevin
                                                                                          Mr Taster Jan 30, 2009 08:45 AM

                                                                                          It's "La Maison du Pain".... their cinnamon buns are wonderous.


                                                                                          Mr Taster

                                                                                    2. re: Frommtron
                                                                                      Lee Vining Feb 4, 2009 08:15 AM

                                                                                      It's not the same great quality and taste that made them famous.
                                                                                      They have cheapened their product and not the fussy preperation of decades ago.
                                                                                      It changed in the late 1970's, but as long as their is a line ,, it'll stay changed.

                                                                                    3. westsidegal Jan 29, 2009 12:59 PM

                                                                                      they are disgusting bland greaseballs with some kind of weird artificial ingredients mixed in for good measure.

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: westsidegal
                                                                                        cagey Jan 29, 2009 01:05 PM

                                                                                        Insulting the people waiting in line will get you nowhere. I for one am proud to be made from artificial ingredients :)

                                                                                        1. re: cagey
                                                                                          westsidegal Jan 29, 2009 01:47 PM


                                                                                      2. monkuboy Jan 29, 2009 12:40 PM

                                                                                        I love Tito's. I know they are by no means gourmet but there is that combination of textures (the shell that has a gradient of crunch levels from the crisp outside to the tug-and-chew inside where it has mixed with the meat juices), the chew of the beef and the added dimension of the cheese and salsa that I have found nowhere else. They are still my favorite tacos! The last time I ate there, though, I was horrified to see how much weight I put on after that.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: WORX4FUDE
                                                                                          Mr Taster Jan 29, 2009 02:24 PM

                                                                                          It has nothing to do with snobbery. It has everything to do with what tastes good!


                                                                                          Mr Taster

                                                                                        2. wilafur Jan 29, 2009 11:57 AM

                                                                                          simple answer: NOTHING

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: wilafur
                                                                                            Foodandwine Jan 29, 2009 12:03 PM

                                                                                            I think that the naysayers are being a bit harsh.. The chips are good, the salsa very fresh, the beef and bean burrito pretty good, the tacos okay. But heck I have an 11 year old that likes it and perhaps when he is older and his palate expands will like other places. I am just turning him on to the Taco Truck idea and he likes it. Slowly but surely he will come around.. I prefer this over Del taco or Taco Bell for my 11 year old.. So all in all pick your battles..

                                                                                          2. t
                                                                                            The Old Man Jan 29, 2009 11:42 AM

                                                                                            For ten years we had been going to Johnnie's Pastrami and noticed the lines at Tito's Tacos. One day we walked over and asked people why they were standing in these long lines. They said they were the best. A couple of years later we finally went--eh. Five years later and we haven't gone back.

                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: The Old Man
                                                                                              streetgourmetla Jan 29, 2009 11:53 AM

                                                                                              I went years ago and only lasted a few bites. I'd rather stand in a line at the DMV.

                                                                                              1. re: streetgourmetla
                                                                                                The Old Man Jan 29, 2009 12:04 PM

                                                                                                "I went years ago and only lasted a few bites. I'd rather stand in a line at the DMV"

                                                                                                You always know the best food. What are they serving?

                                                                                                1. re: The Old Man
                                                                                                  Das Ubergeek Jan 29, 2009 12:21 PM

                                                                                                  A heaping helping of bored inefficiency.

                                                                                                  1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                                                                                    Lee Vining Feb 4, 2009 08:11 AM

                                                                                                    That's a good take.
                                                                                                    Perhaps people go for the bored attitude the employees have.
                                                                                                    Been like that since day one.
                                                                                                    The food is OK.
                                                                                                    Salty shredded beef with an OK sauce.
                                                                                                    Not bad, not as good as it once was,but never understood the huge following.

                                                                                                  2. re: The Old Man
                                                                                                    streetgourmetla Jan 29, 2009 12:50 PM

                                                                                                    "Nacos" Supreme and "you got a beef?" burrito

                                                                                                    1. re: streetgourmetla
                                                                                                      Das Ubergeek Jan 29, 2009 01:52 PM


                                                                                              2. e
                                                                                                ExtraCheesePlease Jan 29, 2009 11:35 AM

                                                                                                Best salsa in town. And braised beef is awesome. So greasy and salty but I love it. I just can't do it more than one a month.

                                                                                                1. mrshankly Jan 29, 2009 11:27 AM

                                                                                                  tender beef wrapped in a tortilla and deep fried topped with cheese... mmmmm... what was the original question?

                                                                                                  1. streetgourmetla Jan 29, 2009 11:20 AM

                                                                                                    An altered state.

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: streetgourmetla
                                                                                                      cagey Jan 29, 2009 12:46 PM

                                                                                                      Bingo above to both Mr. Taster, and streetgourmetla.

                                                                                                      I think you have solved the Tito's debate once and for all. If you didn't grow up with it, leave it be I guess.

                                                                                                      (Still sporting that capped tooth that I cracked years ago at Tito's).

                                                                                                    2. Mr Taster Jan 29, 2009 11:16 AM


                                                                                                      Mr Taster

                                                                                                      1. Das Ubergeek Jan 29, 2009 10:56 AM

                                                                                                        It's the line... by the time you get to the front and actually get your food, you're so hungry you don't care what it tastes like.

                                                                                                        (I don't like Tito's tacos. They're greasy and salty instead of being flavourful.)

                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                                                                                          theonceler Jan 29, 2009 08:15 PM

                                                                                                          Almost every time this comes up it seems that hardly anyone acknowledges that the tacos are actually the worst thing on the menu (except maybe the guacamole water... but the dry meat thing in the tacos is really that bad). To pile on titos about the tacos is just beating a straw man... even if the OP seems to like them.

                                                                                                          Despite the name, titos tacos is for chips and salsa, beef and cheese burritos, and especially the enchilada... which must be near the top of LA's greatest creations. None of these things has to resemble anything actually existing in mexico to be good. Yellow cheese has its place.

                                                                                                          1. re: theonceler
                                                                                                            Mr Taster Jan 30, 2009 08:44 AM


                                                                                                            Your post actually makes me want to go back to try Tito's again. The tacos and guac water were exactly the two things that turned me off about the place, and that's all I ordered (of course, you'd expect with a name like "Tito's TACOS" that their namesake would be up to par......

                                                                                                            Mr Taster

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