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Mar 13, 2012 02:49 PM

Planning a Sunday Casual Mexican Crawl

We'll be driving from Anaheim to Pasadena and would like to eat Mexican food along the way. We'd like to include some fish/seafood stops as what we have in Chicago generally isn't very good. I understand that a lot of the taco trucks are only open at night, so I've tried to include a few that look like they are open for lunch.

What's below is what I was able to come up with from this site and elsewhere on the web. Obviously, with just two of us, we won't be making all the stops. I'm guessing four stops would be doable if we're only order a few items at each spot. I'd appreciate advice about what we shouldn't miss, whether I'm missing anything, and whether anything I have below is incorrect. I'm hoping to not go to far off of our route.

East LA:
Sergio's (fast food) - carne asada & al pastor
Taco's Baja Encenada (fast food) - fish tacos
Mariscos Jalisco (truck) - shrimp avocado tacos
Cinco Puntos (fast food) - amazing carnitas tacos (add nopales)
Guisados Tacos (fast food) - more upscale tacos

Approaching Pasadena:
El Mar Azul (truck) - cocktails, tostadas (both seafood)
La Estrella (fast food) - carnitas
My Taco (sit down?) - barbacoa
Rambo's (truck) - asada & carnitas

Thanks again for all your help.

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  1. Approaching Pasadena you need to add Cacao Mexicatessen: and you can see their menu here:

    9 Replies
    1. re: Servorg

      What should we order at Cacao? What are the one or two things not to be missed?


      1. re: RChicago

        I still recall loving the (very unusual) Flor de Jamaica taco - with hibiscus flower, melted cotija cheese (substituted for the normal jack cheese which is a bit too strong for the delicate taste of the hibiscus flower) plus guacamole and some pico de gallo. I also like the mole fries with jack cheese, but those may be a little too much for some.

        1. re: RChicago

          The enchiladas with mole sauce are great.

          They have weekly specials that are often excellent. They announce these on their mailing list. I'm still lamenting that I missed last week's taco of the week:

          Suckling Pig Carnitas. Topped with Crispy Porks
          Rinds, Avocado, Onion, Micro-Cilantro & Salsa Verde.
          On a Handmade Corn Tortilla

          1. re: Peripatetic

            omfg that sounds AMAZING, signing up for mailing list now

          2. re: RChicago

            re: cacao... you'll probably want the meat items but i LOVE the panko fried avacado- in taco, burrito, or torta. so good. but i also think they have the most fantastic corn on the cob. it's cheesy and spicy and sweet. also love their red salsa, you can grab a container to go if you like for chips and salsa at home! enjoy cacao... it's truly one of my favorite food spots.

          3. re: Servorg

            That is a great menu. Duck confit?? Crispy duck skin. Amazing Have you ever tried either of these items? They seem out of place but interesting.
            For RChicago, scratch Sergio's Not worth going out of your way for IMO

              1. re: SoozyQ

                Not totally out place in Mexican food. Afterall, Carnitas are are sort of Pork Confit... Plus, the richness of the duck goes so well when cut with the pickled onions they use..


            1. Just north of downtown and Chinatown on North Broadway at 19th is Carnitas Michaocan, a stand with picnic table covered seating. Reason to go -- best hot sauce (salsa roja) in SoCal. They have good carne asada and better al pastor cut from a rotisserie spit, but the reason to be there is the hot sauce -- dark, brick-red, smoky, spicy delicious. The tacos are very small, the burritos perhaps too big for a crawl, so you might want to try their special nachos with meat. But you have to try that hot sauce. Be sure to report back.

              1. Hit up mexicali for some LA flavor. On the way to Pasadena.


                10 Replies
                1. re: ns1

                  Amen my brother! Grab a Chorizo Vampiro with an egg or a cahetada de asada ok, okay I will have the...........

                  1. re: Burger Boy

                    I'm all about the grilled chicken nachos. Seriously, best nachos ever.

                    1. re: ns1

                      Are they still using those terrible round smart and final tortilla chips in their nachos? I hate those things and was SOOO disapointed when I saw them dishing them out the first week...


                      1. re: Dommy

                        nope, feels like their imported tortillas cut up into chips then fried.

                        they're huge, and thick, and unlike any nacho chip I've seen.

                        1. re: ns1

                          You can clearly see the chips are not the terrible gold tortilla rounds (I am also appalled that they would use these at launch)

                          1. re: ns1

                            Love the chorizo vampiro at Mexicali, as well as the cebada (barley) agua fresca.

                            I thought the nachos would just be a concession to gringos, but this photo has totally changed my mind!

                            1. re: Peripatetic

                              they were so good we came back a week later.

                              double meat + extra cheese sauce on the side (do not get double cheese because it messes with the texture too much)

                              1. re: ns1

                                Mexicali is closed on Sundays, boo! Oh well. Fortunately, plenty of other options.

                                We only have Sunday and Monday for food grazing this trip, and I figured Monday would be best spent in SGV, as a Chinese food crawl on a Sunday would be difficult, to say the least.

                            2. re: ns1

                              Oh Thank GAWD. I had subtlety mentioned something, but hadn't been back since opening week... SO glad they stepped it up. When I saw them there, I almost did a full on Mexican Mom meltdown. Que desgracia!


                      2. re: Burger Boy

                        Actually a Chorizo Cacheta with egg is my poison... SO GOOD! For Vampiro, I go veggie... the garlic sauce and the veggies just mix in perfect...


                    2. In East LA I highlight suggest Antojitos Carmen for DF style snacks. Their Flor de Calabaza Quesadillas are amazing.


                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Dommy

                        Ooh, keep em coming. I've never ordered something called a Vampiro, and haven't had flor de calabaza quesadillas. Great tips, thanks.

                        Anything I should scratch off my initial list? I'm going to have a hard time picking just a few.

                        1. re: RChicago

                          I don't think La Estrella is worth a drive

                      2. If you decide to drive back to Anaheim south on the 110 to the 105 east, then by all means stop at Plaza Mexico, where you can go from La Huasteca to Guelaguetza to Birreria Jalisco to El Gallo Giro without having to re-park the car. (You might want to include a bit of walking though, just to work some of that food coma off... ;-)