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New Taco Truck at corner of La Brea and Venice

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Last week, I noticed on Thursday a taco truck in the Unocal gas station lot on the Northwest corner of La Brea and Venice. I pass by this intersection every night. On this first night, I noticed a beautiful piece of pork on a spit outside of the truck. This was odd but I was so excited to know that they have real al pastor.
On Friday, I stopped in for two al pastor tacos on my way home--I didn't want to spoil dinner.
The taco guy sliced off some pork from the spit and crisped it up on the flat top before putting it on two tortillas. They do not come with any condiments. You have to put the onions, cilantro, and salsa on yourself. The tacos were $1.
I thought they were very good. I'll definitely go back. I compare them to the taco truck that arrives later at the corner of La Brea and Olympic. Good tasty fare for a good price.
The salsa verde was very good with a nice spice and the avocado salsa was also very good.

The guy said they get there around 4:30 in the afternoon.

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  1. Thanks for the tip. Did you get the name of the taco truck? El Chato i(one of my favooorites) s the name of the La Brea and Olympic truck.

    1. This place was very good. We were going to drive somewhere else, when we saw this little gem at the corner of la brea and venice. I had the buche, asada, lengua, cabeza, and pastor tacos. All very good. Pastor was some of the best i have ever had. Everything was so good , I went for a tripas taco, not normally on my list . It was one of the best tripas tacos i had in my 5 year quest to eat off every taco truck and stand. There salsa's were excellent, and they gave me a grilled onion and jalapeno. If i was not trying to lose weight , i would be here every other night.

      1. Is this truck called Don Betos? or something along those lines? I went to a truck with this name about 4-6 months ago when El Chato was still not open yet (they seemed to push their opening from 8pm to 9pm+), and it was at the approximate location you name. I was a little underwhelmed with the tacos - not that they were bad, or even average (they were above average), they just weren't El Chato.

        PS - I initially thought it was Beto's taco truck (relocated), which is parked on Jefferson near La Brea, who has great al pastor, but it wasn't - I later went to Beto's.

        3 Replies
        1. re: mdpilam

          Wait, Don Beto was always parked at the Unocal on La Brea & Venice, did they move to Jefferson? I last saw them on Venice & La Brea in early January.
          I'm a bit confused.

          1. re: bad nono

            There's a different "Beto's" truck parked on Jefferson (better IMO). It's just Beto's, not Don Beto's.

          2. re: mdpilam

            Nope, it's not Betos... I saw it on the ride home today and noticed the spit immediately... They seem to be doing good business... Will have to try VERY soon as I've been looking for a closer version of the Vermont El Pastor Taco Table for a long time... The closest has been Don Jorge, but it still not the same...

            --Dommy!

          3. tried this truck the other night. They cut the pork right on to the tortilla and then top if with pineapple. Most places cut it from the spit and then grill it.

            i think this is the best al pastor I've had in LA.

            http://www.greattacohunt.com/2010/07/...

            9 Replies
            1. re: Bandini

              Man, I would drive by this place every time on my way to El Chato; now I know I have to stop. Al pastor is my favorite.

              1. re: mdpilam

                Okay, a new #1 in my book. This truck is great! The al pastor is excellent. You can actually taste the smoky, porkiness to it, and the thin pineapple slice adds just a slight crunch of sweetness in the middle bite(s) that just puts it over the top. Not to mention their asada was very good too; tender with a beefy flavor and slightly charred on the outside. All three of the salsas I tried (roja, verde and avocado) were very good as well. I could have used a bit more heat on the salsa roja - but then I'm a spice addict. It reminds me of a more mellow King Taco roja.

                This is going to be my new regular "go-to" truck, though I will have to hit up El Chato still because I love the grilled onions and jalepenos (and they are still great).

                Thanks for the heads up, because otherwise, I would have just thought it was the same truck that I went to last yr that was parked there (Don Beto's), and stuck with El Chato.

              2. re: Bandini

                Thank you...thank you!! It is the best pastor I have had in Los Angeles...even though I feel guilty passing up El Chato...But two of the very best taco trucks in SoCal within a couple of blocks of each other and within 5-7 minutes of my home! I am in heaven!!

                1. re: TravelPath

                  anyone know hours on this one? Late night only?

                  1. re: Discokill

                    I was unsure of this as well - so hopefully, others will chime in with more definite hours, but I got there about 7:30-ish on Saturday and there were there (with a decent number of people eating there).

                    1. re: mdpilam

                      I ate there Sunday around 6pm. The guy who takes your order and the guy cutting the al pastor didn't seem to understand my question about their hours of operation. A guy in the truck said Tues-Sunday from 6pm to 2pm. Not sure that's correct because I've never noticed the truck really late at night. Then again I've never really looked that hard for them before. The El Chato people told me their (the El Chato truck) hours are Mon-Thurs 8:30pm-1pm and Fri-Sat 8:30pm-3pm. Those seem to be their real hours although if business is hot and heavy I've seen them at 2pm midweek. Back to Leo's (the Venice/La Brea) truck. I only ordered 2 lengua and 2 al pastor tacos, plus a horchata. The pastor is the draw and the tacos are a bit bigger than the El Chato ones. Both places charge $1 a taco, but the El Chato truck gives you cooked onions and a grilled jalapeno. I thought the lengua was a tiny bit tastier at El Chato and the tortillas are a little moister (probably the dipping the tortillas in lard, I guess). The drinks at the Leo's truck are a bit bigger $1.25 versus $1 at El Chato. I've only drank the horchata at both trucks once so I don't want to say one is better than the other. I usually get a jamaica at the El Chato truck which Leo's doesn't have. A little more variety of bottled/canned drinks at the Leo's truck. Both are good deals I think and if you're into al pastor you might be slightly better off at Leo's.
                      My dish of choice normally is a chorizo quesadilla and the El Chato truck uses pretty good chorizo. I'll try it a Leo's in the near future.

                      1. re: Feed_me

                        Hours of Leo's Taco Truck "Tues-Sunday 6pm to 2pm?"

                        I think you meant to say 6pm to 2am,.

                        Hours of El Chato Taco Truck "Mon-Thurs 8:30pm-1pm and Fri-Sat 8:30pm-3pm?"

                        I think you meant to say Mon-Thurs 8:30pm-1am and Fri-Sat 8:30pm-3am.

                        -----
                        Leo's Taco Truck
                        Venice Blvd S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90019

                        1. re: Norm Man

                          Thanks "Norm Man" you are correct. I posted that when I was pretty tired. Interestingly enough I was at the El Chato truck tonight. Their pastor had a hunk of pineapple on top with strands of onions between some layers of the meat. The pastor meat was colored reddish-orange like the meat at Leo's.
                          Maybe they read Chowhound. I tried the pastor and although they didn't put any pineapple in my tacos I could detect a hint of the pineapple flavor. This is getting interesting.

                          1. re: Feed_me

                            funny, I was at El Chato last night too and got al pastor too (and chorizo). I have yet to try the truck on Venice & la Brea. Maybe I should do a comparative study between the two al pastor one of these days.

              3. I'm intrigued by this taco truck. Does anyone know how it compares to the cart set up on Pico/Arlington in the evenings? I really liked their al pastor. Looks similar to the photos linked in this thread.
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/658192

                1. I think this is what you folks want: Leo's tacos.com and,
                  http://www.myspace.com/leostacos
                  Leo's tacos is the new one at Venice and La Brea.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Kitchen Queen

                    The web site http:www.leostacos.com and myspace account for Leo's Tacos indicate that they are located in Eagle Rock. Have they relocated from Eagle Rock to Venice Blvd/La Brea? Or are we talking about a different truck at VeniceBlvd/La Brea?

                    Bandini's Review Of Eage Rock Leo's Tacos (June 2007):

                    http://www.greattacohunt.com/2007/06/...

                    Bandid's Review of Venice Blvd/La Brea Leo's Tacos (July 2010):

                    http://www.greattacohunt.com/2010/07/...

                    1. re: Kitchen Queen

                      Are you sure? They seem like different trucks to me... The taco in the pic looks nothing like a taco from the truck at Venice/La Brea, and there is no mention of the Venice/La Brea location (only Eagle Rock) on that website(s).

                    2. Meant to post this a few days ago, but...

                      I went back to Leo's and tried the cabeza and chorizo (along with some al pastor and asada of course) tacos. The cabeza was good, but not great; I think El Chato's is better IIRC. The chorizo was kind of disappointing - it was pretty dry. El Chato's chorizo is definitely better.

                      All in all (so far), Leo's seems to be a very good truck, especially with their al pastor. El Chato is also a very good taco truck - I love their grilled onions and jalepenos. If only these were on the Westside...

                      1. Thanks for this find, Wolfgang. I didn't think much of this post when it first came up, because, well, just having a trompo doesn't really mean much. It's like getting excited over a pizza parlor because it has a pizza oven, but I also do know the trompo isn't very common here in LA.

                        Anyways,I went here and it's a far as I've encountered, the only true al pastor specialist here in LA .

                        Yes, he cooks on a trompo, yes he does the pineapple, which is just a condiment,ultimately.

                        But, more important, he's a trained specialist that has ten years doing al pastor, in Guanajuato, where there are also known for their Bajio style of al pastor. He prepares the al pastor for this truck and that's all he does, and that's what is supposed to happen.

                        Flavor, texture, and knife work is expert. The marinade is together, he takes care of the meat during cooking, and the condiments are solid. Al pastor taqueros are specialists, it's a trade. Can't think of another place that has this distinction. The al pastor is the reason to go to this truck, the other taquero is doing too many things, not that interested, but get this al pastor, it's legit.

                        Anyways, I was reminded of this place the other night, and remembered this post.

                        Writing about this today, and crediting you. Thanks, Wolfgang.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: streetgourmetla

                          thanks for the tweet SGLA, visiting it soon.

                          1. re: ns1

                            Very surprised to know about this place, and it turned out to be a real winner. Legit al pastor, delicious!
                            http://www.streetgourmetla.com/2010/0...

                        2. Have not seen this mentioned here, but the pastor on a spit that made this truck so special is no mas. The trompo was confiscated by the city the day after the Weekly ran its feature on the truck. Difficult to write this off as coincidence, and truly a terrible shame. I went back this week and the pastor was completely different; not bad but nowhere close to what was.

                          you can follow the whole story here.
                          http://blogs.laweekly.com/squidink/fo...

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: ronsilverado

                            *cries*

                            1. re: ns1

                              *passes the hanky*

                              --Dommy!

                          2. This was a routine sweep by the fuzz. Nothing to do with Squid Ink. But, last night I saw that the trompo was back up, but hear that the guy that was preparing the al pastor, the specialist, has moved to another truck, or restaurant.

                            Find that guy, and you'll have your al pastor back, without him, won't be the same. His name is Norbeto, as of now, I'm putting out an APB.