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May 26, 2006 04:39 PM

How do the Cemitas taco trucks rate?

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Had my first $1 taco the other day from a truck off Pico around Overland (outside the Pep Boys and F$S Fabrics).

VERY hot! I love my hot food hot, and this almost burned my fingers.

Nice size. Small easy to handle tortilla with plenty of meat filling. Small enough to scarf down in a few bites with one hand, but big enough to be a substantial snack.

Good salsa verde. nothing extraordinary, but nice thick texture with plenty of both avocados and onions.

Not so good:
I ordered al pastor and basically got ground pork. Not too much flavor, and a bit tough.

Tortilla could have been more tender

How do the Cemitas trucks stand in the general scheme of things? I'm curious to see if my luck brought me to one of the better, mediocre, or lesser regarded taco trucks.

Or do they have certain things that are better than others?

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  1. I've had their chicken tacos and chicken cemitas several times recently. love it, esp the spiciness. My only complaint is about that green chile on the side. At first they didn't give it to me at all, then they finally put one in there but didn't bother to grill it first. All the Mexicans who eat their food right there always have a nicely roasted green chile on the side.

    1. I've been wondering that myself. There's one that parks on Third near Normandie. Can you explain what cemitas are exactly? Do they have other specialties that are not found on other taco trucks?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Chowpatty

        cemitas is a kind of bread, has a very slightly sweet taste. The cemitas sold on the truck are sandwiches made using this bread.

      2. i've been to three cemitas trucks.
        my favorite was la china poblana in east la. its now a restaurant on whittier near lorena near the big mercadito.

        the place that chowpatty mentioned on third and normandie isnt bad, but not as good, they use a oaxacan quesillo string cheese instead of the panela cheese at la china poblana.

        theres also a place near the echo off of sunset blvd i think its on logan. that place isnt bad but not great either. pretty good after getting your ears blown out to MONO and drinking a few whiskeys at 2am.

        theres a truck on venice kinda near sony studios on the north side thats open during the day time. the others are night time trucks. i will try it soon.

        i've gotten the standard "milanesa" (deep fried breaded pounded steak) at all three places.

        in response to chowpattys query, a cemita is a sandwhich. unlike the heavy torta bread, the cemita is a light roll type bread. the most popular meat is a milanesa but you can have everything from stewed pig skin to any type of roasted meats. it has slices of avocado (la china poblana is most generous in this dept) grilled peppers and some form of cheese. i think panela is the most common. you'll see lots of cemitas trucks in east la on whittier in the more western part of town.

        hope this helps

        2 Replies
          1. re: Joe B.

            that truck no longer exists in that location, but its a good description of the cemita and its local cultural heritage. i think now, there are lots more places to get cemitas.

        1. update:

          i just tried the cemita at the truck on venice and clarington by the smart and final.

          its pretty darn good. the bread was well crisped up, the milanesa was fresh. they used quesillo cheese and a generous portion of avocado...

          i'd definitely recommend it. better than the one on third street and normandie, not as good as la china poblana in east la on whittier.

          9 Replies
          1. re: modernist

            on the issue of cemita trucks vs cemita shops: do you find that generally the trucks turn out sammies with better bread than the shops do? my sample size hasn't been big enough to figure out if this is really a trend or not.

            also where do you buy good papalo leaves?

            1. re: modernist

              I just tried the truck on Venice by the Smart and Final and was blown away, esp. by the al pastor and carnitas. These are the best tacos I've had in LA thus far. I only wish I'd read about the sandwiches before going!

              1. re: a_and_w

                Yes - go back and get a sandwich (cemita) soon. It's fantastic.

                Same truck is at Pico and ? (Manning?) in Rancho Park, just 1 light east of Overland on weekend mornings.

                1. re: CulverJack

                  Thanks for the tip. Do they put mayo on their sandwiches?

                  1. re: CulverJack

                    I'm not sure if it's the same truck, but I just tried the Cemitas truck at Pico and Cotner (next to Smart & Final) It was called something like Barbacoa La Poblana (don't quote me). The Cemitas Roll was crisped on the grill --I just love that Roll (kind of briochey). They use a hearty amout of quesillo, thinly shredded (or you can opt for queso fresco), and avocado. We tried the Chicken Milanesa, they were out of the beef (neither of which were listed on the menu, btw), the asada, and the carnitas. The chicken Milanesa was better than I was expecting, it was thick and moist, with a nice crust to it, more than it seemed "breaded". The Cemita was really tasty -- & you have your choice of chipoltle or jalepeno. The carnitas was excellent, moist, I was thrilled to watch him chop up a big meaty, juicy chunk. The asada was completely forgettable --not sure if it was just an off afternoon for asada, or if that's just not their "thing".

                    Finally, the corn tortillas were hand made, presumablly not right then, on the truck, but they were moist and very flavorful themselves -- I was tempted to ask if I could buy a dozen, but I thought --I'm sure they aren't set up for that, so I refrained.

                    2 cemitas & 2 tacos $11.50 -- a great deal.


                    1. re: debra

                      Sounds like a different truck, but does sound great. I'll try it. When are these folks at Pico/Cotner??

                      1. re: CulverJack

                        I had in my notes from a while back that they were there at least weekdays, and until dusk. And it didn't occur to me to get the details when I was there, sorry. If you find them, please do report back.

                  2. re: a_and_w

                    I tried to find this last night (Monday 10-1030PM) and not luck finding any Cemitas Poblanas trucks, let along Taco Trucks on Venice Blvd. I looked from Robertson, all the way down to Lincoln on Venice and no luck at all.

                    1. re: robl

                      The cemitas truck on Venice and Clarington (the one in front of the Smart & Final) usually leaves before it gets dark. Sorry you missed it, Robl. try coming back in the daytime.

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