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Carne Asada Burrito or Taco in Los Angeles

m
mexcellentfood Apr 28, 2012 11:19 PM

Why can't I find a good carne asada burrito or taco in LA? It seems like the only place that remotely compares to anything I've had in San Diego is Tijuana's Tacos in Pomona, CA. Beside that, it seems like every restaurant and taco truck in LA get their meat from the same place and looks like it's already been chewed a few times....Rambo's, King Taco, and on and on...LA is deprived. I've had Mexican food from all regions in Mexico and I think most of LA's restaurants are from Mexican people closer to Mexico City...FYI, the best Mexican food is Sonora style...at least for carne asada, frijoles, and aroz. So if anyone out there knows of a good Sonora style burrito or taco de carne asada, please let me know...anything else is a waste, or extra waist.

  1. m
    malibumike Jun 21, 2012 09:25 AM

    Not carne asada but the best burrito I've ever had was a chili con carne with cheese burrito from Tito's tacos in culver city, CA. too far away from me, but I have been trying to find the equivalent in ventura county or the san fernando valley.

    1. c
      CulverJack Jun 19, 2012 09:28 PM

      I finally made it to Tacos El Gordo on the rec from the OP. The CHOW team moved it to the SD board, you can find it here -
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/854852

      Short version - asada was good, but flaky and very salty. I think many places in our fair city compare very well (Tacomiendo, Pinche's, El Parian - all of my faves here in LA), particularly if what you care about is beefy flavor and the whole package (tortilla, salsas, other extras).

      The post is prob worth a read, and was definitely aimed at the LA taco fans and not those from SD.

      I'm interested in hearing from the OP as he expands beyond Mexicali Co. which is definitely good but just one of many.

      20 Replies
      1. re: CulverJack
        b
        BrewNChow Jun 20, 2012 03:38 PM

        So you went down to San Diego and ordered the same thing you'd get in LA at the places you're used to going?

        That's a recipe for disaster, going somewhere else and getting what you get back home to see how it compares. Even if it is as good, there's an undeniable phenomenon that it's always "better" at the places you're used to. You're probably used to those place because they make what you order well.

        Next time you go to San Diego, get what San Diego does best, get a surf'n'turf or Cali burrito. We're a burrito town.

        You want tacos? Go to TJ or LA. SD is burrito land. I'm not saying we don't have good tacos down there but it's not the star of the show.

        1. re: BrewNChow
          n
          ns1 Jun 20, 2012 03:46 PM

          The OP specifically compares LA tacos to SD tacos and claims SD tacos are superior, so I'm not sure why you're bashing CulverJack for testing the OP's hypothesis.

          I mean look at this post by the OP:

          "Check out Tacos El Gordo. This is pretty much the standard. You can see the reviews on Yelp. Once you've had these tacos, you will know what I'm talking about. There are others in the SD area, like Lolitas and Taco Salsa that are much better than LA standards, but those places are not "taco specialists". When/If you go to Tacos El Gordo, you have 3 guys who are chopping up meat, each guy is a specialist in his own right for asada, adobada, and tripas. I suggest you have all three, they are all fantastic. There are a few locations in SD, but I go to the one close to my house in National City, which is on 1940 Highland Avenue, National City, CA. There is another one off H Street and the I-5 in Chula Vista. I think most people who review Tacos El Gordo go to the one in Chula Vista. And believe me, I venture out for tacos quite often, so take it from a Mexican who knows his taco :)"

          All he talks about is tacos, not a single mention of burrito.

          1. re: ns1
            c
            CulverJack Jun 20, 2012 08:00 PM

            Yep, ns1 is spot on, the point here was tacos per the rec by the op. I don't recall if El Gordo even had burritos. I saw the recs and references to Cali burritos (brace yourselves, purists!), which have FRENCH FRIES in them. I'll probably get to it someday just to see, but I prefer tacos. I get the concept of fries & meat & grease - if you haven't had Dino's Chicken just near downtown LA, you should. It's quite a dish, just plan on a siesta after.

            I don't think I was too biased by place, I've had killer tacos in Santa Barbara, Sonoma, and at countless spots and trucks in LA. I'm interested in how others find El Gordo, and how the OP finds all the recs he's had on this thread. We love tacos here in LA, for good reason.

            1. re: CulverJack
              n
              ns1 Jun 20, 2012 10:02 PM

              french fries in a burrito?

              okay, I guess us LA and SD heads will have to agree to disagree.

              1. re: ns1
                b
                BrewNChow Jun 20, 2012 11:37 PM

                Someone needs a good dose of this
                http://www.seriouseats.com/images/22100331-california-burrito.jpg
                Or maybe this, if you're watching your figure http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_l0q...

                1. re: BrewNChow
                  n
                  ns1 Jun 21, 2012 09:42 AM

                  I actually hate carne asada fries, but I've only had them in LA and OC so I'll give it a shot once in SD.

                  Carne asada fries offer NOTHING over carne asada nachos

                2. re: ns1
                  Peripatetic Jun 21, 2012 12:51 AM

                  > french fries in a burrito?

                  We've gone one further with the "Spuderito" at Bobby's Place (formerly Rick's Drive-In). French fries and _no_ meat. I tried it once and never felt compelled to try it again.

                  http://laist.com/2009/05/27/the_amazi...

                  I do like their gringo tacos, though. Ground beef, of course. No carne asada in sight.

                  1. re: Peripatetic
                    Servorg Jun 21, 2012 02:49 AM

                    And let us now overlook (although my post about it sank like a rock in the deepest part of the ocean) the "Baprito" http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/853305

                    1. re: Servorg
                      b
                      BrewNChow Jun 21, 2012 12:20 PM

                      Yes, let us now overlook that. And never, ever look back ;)

                      1. re: BrewNChow
                        Servorg Jun 21, 2012 12:29 PM

                        If I'd actually typed the t on the end of no to get the intended "not" instead of making it into "now" things would have been less entertaining for you (or if you'd be so kind and just swap "overlook" for "look over" all will be right with the world of getting the meaning of my post in order).

                        And the more important issue (by a mile) at hand is the actual "baprito" itself. Looks damn good in the photo and if I ever see the actual truck I'm slamming on the brakes and getting one of the damn things and seeing if it lives up to its looks...

                        1. re: Servorg
                          b
                          BrewNChow Jun 21, 2012 06:54 PM

                          I'm just teasing you (and the baprito)

                          I'm sure it tastes good, but the native San Diegan in me finds that monstrous bastardization of our national food ghastlier than a thousand ghouls.

                          1. re: BrewNChow
                            Servorg Jun 21, 2012 07:33 PM

                            I am so unstuck on "authentic" that I fear I've come unglued. Without the wild and wooly "food adventurers" such as the one's seen on such shows as Diners Drive In's and Dives this would be a much less interesting world...

                      2. re: Servorg
                        n
                        ns1 Jun 21, 2012 12:44 PM

                        is that...a california burrito spring roll?

                        1. re: ns1
                          Servorg Jun 21, 2012 02:00 PM

                          That sounds close but somehow its Korean pedigree probably needs to be worked in there...

                        2. re: Servorg
                          Peripatetic Jun 21, 2012 01:36 PM

                          > my post about it sank like a rock

                          I find starting threads on weekends can be a losing proposition.

                          In any case, thanks for the report! I'm not sure about the baprito, but there's room for a really good purveyor of kimbap in this town. School Food Blooming Roll isn't it. (http://www.yelp.com/biz/school-food-b...)

                      3. re: ns1
                        j
                        Jwsel Jun 21, 2012 02:45 PM

                        I tried the California burrito at Alberto's in Van Nuys. It's basically meat and french fries in a tortilla. I get the idea and it was tasty -- and let's be honest, french fries aren't much worse healthwise than refried beans and rice --but it's not really my thing. The owner also does a California quesadilla, which layers fries in between the tortillas, and their biggest selling item are the asada fries.

                    2. re: ns1
                      b
                      BrewNChow Jun 20, 2012 11:33 PM

                      I'm definitely not bashing anyone, maybe the tone was misinterpreted since I'm typing and not speaking.

                      I kind of forgot what the OP said since the thread has tangents talking about SD vs LA mexican food and it was made a long time ago, so sorry if I was off topic, I definitely remember talking about burritos upthread somewhere. The title of the thread says burrito.

                      Also, to the naysayers, fries in burritos are HEAVENLY.

                      1. re: BrewNChow
                        A5 KOBE Jun 20, 2012 11:50 PM

                        A bit off topic but I especially love french fries in my breakfast burrito instead of hashbrowns or homefries.

                        1. re: A5 KOBE
                          b
                          BrewNChow Jun 21, 2012 12:19 PM

                          Me too. I go for bacon, beans, fries, egg and cheese in mine.

                        2. re: BrewNChow
                          EarlyBird Jun 21, 2012 03:31 PM

                          Tater tots!

                  2. blackbookali Jun 3, 2012 12:43 AM

                    Mexicali by a mile

                    1. Moose May 7, 2012 02:54 PM

                      I'm surprised no one's mentioned Taco Miendo in West LA and CC. They have excellent carne asada made from skirt steak, and will put whatever you want in your burrito.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: Moose
                        c
                        CulverJack May 7, 2012 05:35 PM

                        I mentioned Tacomiendo in my post - not sure its skirt, I think flank. It's my go to spot all in all, for many reasons. But I wouldn't say its the highest quality meat. Pinche's is a bit thicker/chunkier and moister, for example. But that's just two in my circle of spots within a couple of miles of home. I love 'em both.

                        1. re: CulverJack
                          m
                          mikeinla10 May 7, 2012 07:29 PM

                          I'm with Culver Jack.

                          I love TacoMiendo... great Carnitas taco. But nobody in this town is really doing carne asada justice as far as skirt steak. Got to get back to Chi-Town.

                          TacoMiendo has a GREAT albondigas. Highly recommended. One of the best broths I've had of any soup in all of LA. Well balanced, flavorful, outstanding.

                          1. re: mikeinla10
                            A5 KOBE May 7, 2012 09:11 PM

                            Most places use plate or flap or even top sirloin because of cost. Also, making carne asada from skirt is essentially a waste of money as flap has the same nutty flavor but is less tender thus cutting it up for tacos.

                            I mean, if you really want skirt just go to Border Grill and get the skirt steak and pay about $25. There is a reason why places are not using skirt steak because it is just too good of a piece of meat for a taco.

                            1. re: A5 KOBE
                              c
                              CulverJack May 8, 2012 03:23 PM

                              I just had Pinche's for lunch today and it was really pretty great. Thick chunks of meat and great juicy, beefy flavor. Great tortillas, pillowy and a good contrast to the meat. I don't know that they are using skirt, but it is definitely tender and thick, and it could well be. Or a thicker form of flank, at least, that would approach skirt. It really doesn't matter what it's called - it's good. Agree, BTW, on using expensive cuts for tacos - doesn't make a ton of sense overall given how well the other cuts work with the accompaniments. It's a package, dadburnit.

                              I go to the one in CC (naturally, yo!) - I recommend the folks that care enough to keep reading this thread give it a try.

                              1. re: CulverJack
                                o
                                ocgrubster May 10, 2012 08:19 PM

                                What about El Gallo Giro? They have several locations. There's Isaac's in Wilmington and way out in Fontana there is Viva Villa.

                      2. EarlyBird May 7, 2012 02:42 PM

                        So, Mexcellent, what's the closest to SD carne asada or Mexican food in general that you've gotten, in Los Angeles?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: EarlyBird
                          m
                          mexcellentfood May 11, 2012 02:42 PM

                          I think Tijuana's Tacos in Pomona is the best I've had in LA (and a second might be Mexicali Taco Company). I have not ventured on the west side...I'm not willing to make that commute from Pasadena for some tacos...if I find myself out there, I will try Taco Miendo. Some people mentioned big burritos...but who wants to pay for something they cant finish and doesnt taste good to begin with? I'm going to SD this weekend...so hopefully squeeze in some good asada.

                        2. b
                          Barbara Ladden May 7, 2012 10:44 AM

                          If Alegria on Sunset does with beef what they do with pork, the carne asada must be great and the burritos are BIG.\

                          There is a place in East L. A. that has the biggest burrito's I've ever heard of but I can't think of the name. I'm sure someone out there can give you details.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Barbara Ladden
                            Servorg May 7, 2012 11:12 AM

                            "There is a place in East L. A. that has the biggest burrito's I've ever heard of..."

                            El Tepeyac

                            1. re: Servorg
                              JAB May 7, 2012 12:41 PM

                              I don't believe that you'll find Carne Asada there.

                              1. re: JAB
                                Servorg May 7, 2012 12:44 PM

                                I think the "carne asada" portion of the OP had sailed when I addressed her question on the name of the gigantic burrito place in ELA...

                          2. b
                            Barbara Ladden May 4, 2012 12:41 AM

                            Alegria, 3510 Sunset Blvd. Great food. Give it a try.

                            1. mrshankly May 1, 2012 05:58 PM

                              Drive to Colorado Blvd in Eagle Rock, just west of Eagle Rock Blvd in front of the Comfort Inn after 8:30pm any weeknight (weekends too but the guy who runs the truck on weekends doesn't prepare the food the same way) and you'll see a rundown-looking truck parked there. That's Fred's truck. He's been serving up carne asada for over 30 years in the same truck and location and ONLY carne asada. It is the best carne asada I've ever had, and I've been eating there for almost 20 of those 30 years. Treat yourself to a carne asada quesadilla, and an all-meat burrito with (only) salsa and cheese. EVERYONE I've taken there has become addicted. On my 39th b-day, my friend and I had the quesadilla and burrito, and then drove to Providence for the dessert tasting menu afterwards... THAT is how good the carne asada is. Now stop reading this post and GO!!! Enjoy!!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: mrshankly
                                m
                                mexcellentfood May 5, 2012 10:26 AM

                                I will have to try that. Thanks!

                              2. E Eto May 1, 2012 09:27 AM

                                Check out the nighttime vendor in front of Tacos El Compita.
                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6581...

                                1. Tripeler May 1, 2012 04:41 AM

                                  "get their meat from the same place and looks like it's already been chewed a few times...."

                                  That phrase was totally (M)excellent! THank you! Made me laugh out loud for a long while.

                                  Really enjoyed that, and I look forward to more of your posts.

                                  1. b
                                    Burger Boy May 1, 2012 12:39 AM

                                    La Azteca Totillaria on Caesar Chavez does some good asada tacos and burros, cooked on a flat top but the way they season is good plus they hand make the flour and corn tortillas.

                                    1. e
                                      Ernie Apr 30, 2012 12:14 PM

                                      Taco Village in Montebello. They use good quality ranchera meat for their carne asada. Most carne asada available in Los Angeles is made with extremely poor quality beef

                                      1. c
                                        CulverJack Apr 30, 2012 09:20 AM

                                        Interesting post. I went to school in SD and ate at/from most of the more pedestrian spots like Robertos, Albertos, Rojelios, etc. etc. and smaller taquerias like Don Juan in La Jolla usually more than once a week. My take was that the meat had little/no char, lots of pepper, was often "wet" or steamy (maybe from being chopped or sitting for a while). The burritos were good and maintained a beefy flavor since they would have only guac plus a bit of onion/cilantro inside. Granted, that was all intended as college drinking food and we certainly put those morsels to good use toward the end we envisioned. While it was good for what it was for, I don't miss Albertos.

                                        In LA, we must have a thousand taquerias/other food spots serving asada. That may be a very low estimate. It's hard from where I sit to think you couldn't find something to fill the space nearly as well to what you've left behind. Some of my faves today are driven a lot by convenience and being on my route or close to home or work. Tacomiendo (though the asada can be a little dry sometimes this is such a winning spot it never fails for us overall), El Taurino (killer simple salsas here), Pinches (quality of the meat + the tangy roasted tomatillo salsa), La Taquiza (mostly for pastor but asada is great too and tortillas always amazing) and when it is right which is most of the time El Parian (I have had 1-2 more "off" times for the asada out of maybe every 15 visits, but this is a place where 80% of folks are eating birria, so what do you expect). I think you need to branch out some. I think its safe to say LA lacks very, very little when it comes to Mexican food - regional, street, whatever. Blogs (Bandini's is amazing, also Street Gourmet LA) and J Gold make finding this stuff even easier. You just have to get out and look. And eat.

                                        So - I'm in SD once a month or so now for work - where are your go to spots and why? What is setting the asada apart for you?

                                        26 Replies
                                        1. re: CulverJack
                                          l
                                          linus Apr 30, 2012 09:24 AM

                                          i'm also curious as to what this "san diego taste" is. what distinguishes the asada there?

                                          1. re: CulverJack
                                            m
                                            mexcellentfood Apr 30, 2012 01:54 PM

                                            Check out Tacos El Gordo. This is pretty much the standard. You can see the reviews on Yelp. Once you've had these tacos, you will know what I'm talking about. There are others in the SD area, like Lolitas and Taco Salsa that are much better than LA standards, but those places are not "taco specialists". When/If you go to Tacos El Gordo, you have 3 guys who are chopping up meat, each guy is a specialist in his own right for asada, adobada, and tripas. I suggest you have all three, they are all fantastic. There are a few locations in SD, but I go to the one close to my house in National City, which is on 1940 Highland Avenue, National City, CA. There is another one off H Street and the I-5 in Chula Vista. I think most people who review Tacos El Gordo go to the one in Chula Vista. And believe me, I venture out for tacos quite often, so take it from a Mexican who knows his taco :)

                                            1. re: mexcellentfood
                                              c
                                              CulverJack Apr 30, 2012 02:16 PM

                                              Hmmm, Yelp. I'll leave that one be. It's the tacos I'm more interested it.

                                              But thanks for passing on the spot. I'll go next time I'm in SD, probably in the next 3-4 weeks, and I'll report back. In the meantime, try a few of the other spots when you have the time. El Parian is worth it on many levels.

                                              1. re: CulverJack
                                                n
                                                Norm Man May 2, 2012 12:50 AM

                                                CulverJack, when in the San Diego area, also consider the carne asada at Rudy's Taco in Solana Beach (original location) or La Costa/Carlsbad:

                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/581623

                                                I'm going to have to try Tacos El Gordo as suggested by "mexcellentfood" and JV's, Nico's. and Don Brasas as suggested by "BrewNChow."

                                              2. re: mexcellentfood
                                                l
                                                linus Apr 30, 2012 03:10 PM

                                                when i read posts like this, it makes me think if you took a burrito from a decent place in los angeles, and served it at one of these places in san diego, no one would know the difference.

                                                1. re: linus
                                                  m
                                                  mexcellentfood Apr 30, 2012 10:41 PM

                                                  I think plenty of people would know the difference, especially when they see cheese, lettuce, cream, rice, or anything else beside carne asada, guacamole, and maybe salsa. Maybe that's why the SD style is better to me, simpler. But also the tortillas are fresh. The places I go to, you can see the tortillas being hand made. Most of the good taco places in SD tend to be closer to the border, such as National City or Chula Vista...also San Ysidro. Casa de Oro is good, but it's more like La Parilla in LA. It's more mexican restaurant that serves authentic Mexican meals, not taco specialists. I've said it a few times already...but I will mention it again...TACOS EL GORDO! Best Tripa, Adobada, and Asada I've ever had...Anyone I've ever told about this place has agreed...and thank me for suggestion, not that I care, but it just backs-up my claim.

                                                  1. re: mexcellentfood
                                                    l
                                                    linus May 1, 2012 08:11 AM

                                                    plenty of places in l.a. county serve burritos without that stuff in them. you still haven't described what you're looking for in carne asada.

                                                    1. re: linus
                                                      Servorg May 1, 2012 08:22 AM

                                                      I don't find it difficult to say "no rice, no beans" (or whatever) when I order my burrito. Lately I've been hitting up Tacos Por Favor for their al pastor burrito. With that smokey red salsa it really hits all my spot(s).

                                                      1. re: Servorg
                                                        n
                                                        nosh May 1, 2012 08:32 AM

                                                        Servorg -- Have you found any difference between the original Tacos Por Favor (Olympic at 14th) and the new one (Olympic just west of Bundy)?

                                                        1. re: nosh
                                                          Servorg May 1, 2012 08:37 AM

                                                          I keep going to the original. Got to get over to the latest incarnation one of these days to see. Have you been to the new one yet? What did you think (if so)?

                                                          1. re: Servorg
                                                            Servorg May 1, 2012 08:43 AM

                                                            And I think it's just east of Bundy (not west) afaik...(in that little one story mini mall with Good Stuff Burgers, etc. - I'm not sure which place it took over for)

                                                            1. re: Servorg
                                                              Peripatetic May 1, 2012 08:53 AM

                                                              While we're on the subject . . . does anyone know whether the Tacos Por Favor just east of DTLA is related to the other two locations?

                                                              http://www.yelp.com/biz/tacos-por-fav...

                                                              1. re: Peripatetic
                                                                Servorg May 1, 2012 10:01 AM

                                                                Probably not since they don't list it on their website: http://www.tacosporfavor.net/ (although it's a bit confusing because the menu link on the Yelp review does go to the original TPF online site). Now I've got a headache!

                                                              2. re: Servorg
                                                                n
                                                                nosh May 2, 2012 06:26 PM

                                                                I stand corrected -- just east of Bundy. I get my directions mixed up ever since as a child I played with a US map puzzle that I had oriented south instead of north.

                                                                I've been to the new branch a couple of times and liked it just as much. Couldn't taste any difference in the tacos or hot sauce. Plusses are that parking is easier and they have an accessible soda dispenser, if I'm not confusing them with Good Stuff next door.

                                                          2. re: Servorg
                                                            m
                                                            mexcellentfood May 1, 2012 09:55 AM

                                                            I can say no this or that, but ultimately it's the meat that makes the difference.

                                                          3. re: linus
                                                            m
                                                            mexcellentfood May 1, 2012 10:02 AM

                                                            I wish I could tell you the style of meat in a good carne asada taco, but I don't know. I describe the places because that's the type of taco that I'm referring to. But, I'm not dismayed...I will try and get to all of these locations that people are mentioning. I've been to a few already, but when I find one that is worth recommending, I will post it. If you venture out to Pomona, try Tijuana's Tacos...someone mentioned the sauce was too tangy, but they don't come with sauce unless you add it on yourself from their little sauce bar. For me, that has been the best taco I've had in LA...probably squeezes into top 5 on my all time list. My top 3 are in Mexico, so I can't really recommend those for you all to try.

                                                            1. re: mexcellentfood
                                                              A5 KOBE May 1, 2012 10:31 AM

                                                              I have to Tijuana's and they actually grill it on a char broiler. It is a good carne asada flavored with basically salt and a touch of lime. Like I said before, hit up Tacos San Pedro in Anaheim or Hawaiian Gardens, it is the best I have found in SoCal. The flautas especially since it is the same carne asada they use. It is grilled a la plancha, and is a very good quality flap meat they is only seasoned with salt. I highly advise going there if you like Tijuana in Pomona.

                                                              I also suggest getting the menudo (weekends) and you will see that almost every table has an order or two.

                                                              1. re: A5 KOBE
                                                                m
                                                                mexcellentfood May 1, 2012 02:19 PM

                                                                Thanks! I will try and get down to Hawaiian Gardens. If I'm in the Anaheim area, I will try San Pedro. My first prospect will be Mexicali Taco Co. I'll try and get to that one by this weekend.

                                                              2. re: mexcellentfood
                                                                l
                                                                linus May 1, 2012 03:26 PM

                                                                so you're asking for help finding something you can't describe? that makes it tougher than bad carne asada.

                                                                1. re: linus
                                                                  m
                                                                  mexcellentfood May 5, 2012 10:37 AM

                                                                  I found a spot....Mexicali Taco Company on Figueroa is the spot. The meat was a tad bit dry, but I think they de-greased it, which makes it healthier...I like the way they serve it...just the tortilla and meat, and a little cup of beans...perfect! I wasnt expecting beans, but it's a nice touch. All the extras are on a side bar that you get yourself. I much prefer adding on myself than the cook doing it. This place is more to what I'm used to. As for describing how the meat should be...I think this following link describes it pretty wel (read streetgourmetla's postl: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/581082

                                                                  1. re: mexcellentfood
                                                                    b
                                                                    burntwater May 5, 2012 07:35 PM

                                                                    Glad you found something worthy but from your posts you made it sound like SD is swirling with places likes this.

                                                                    I lived there for 20 years and I can tell you that SD has just as much mediocre carne asada as we do up here.

                                                                    The one place you mentioned Gordos as you said is a taco specialist and it looks great (can't wait to try it on my next SD visit) but for sure that is not the standard for SD.

                                                                    The Berto chains ( Al, Rob 1,2,3,4,5,, Aldi, Humb and so on) are the standard for SD and they are mediocre at best.

                                                                    1. re: burntwater
                                                                      m
                                                                      mexcellentfood May 7, 2012 12:26 AM

                                                                      Yes," I found"...I had seen it before I posted and therefore before anyone replied. But not to get caught up in who found what...the good thing is that it exists. As for the -Ertos chains...those are not common in the South Bay. There are a few, yes...but most establishments are independently owned. I guess Tacos El Gordo does stand out, but I've seen other threads on here about LA asada...most people agree that SD taco shops have better quality meat. I'm not trying to favor one city over another...I just want good quality asada. Well, at least there are two places in LA I can go to now.

                                                                      1. re: mexcellentfood
                                                                        m
                                                                        mikeinla10 May 7, 2012 07:12 AM

                                                                        Who doesn't have better quality meat than LA? (I'm being serious.)

                                                      2. re: CulverJack
                                                        b
                                                        BrewNChow Apr 30, 2012 02:19 PM

                                                        It's not the asada that does it, it's the whole package. There are just.... problems here in LA.

                                                        Rice in burritos. !?!?
                                                        Tortillas that don't have that rubbery chew to them.
                                                        California burritos are a rarity, and are mostly very weak

                                                        You can definitely get bad burritos in SD too but it's much easier to find a good burrito, one with the right ingredients mixed together the right way wrapped in the right way for the right price.

                                                        Each individual burrito I've had in LA has had SOME flaw. I'd have to have the exact burrito in front of me to tell you what's wrong with it, but there's pretty much always something wrong.

                                                        I mean carne asada IS almost the same everywhere. So what makes San Diego's burritos better? It's the whole package, not just the meat. Burritos are like San Diego's culinary masterpiece, it's the burrito capital of the world

                                                        1. re: BrewNChow
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                                                          CulverJack Apr 30, 2012 02:46 PM

                                                          Thanks. I guess I've experienced a ton of burritos, in different styles based on the shop, and I can see virtues in most. I know if you ask someone from no cal, they wouldn't call it a burrito w/o rice, beans and sour cream. Thus the elusive (elusive here in LA, anyway) mission burrito. I've never liked the argument that often ensues based on that combo ("there are no mission burritos outside of SF") - sure there is, just not exactly the same, which you could say about each mission place versus the other. For getting something closer to an SD burrito, I like your point that the difference shouldn't be the meat. There are just 2 more freaking ingredients to nail then, and one is just a flour/water wrapper. Off the top of my head, try Tacomiendo with just asada and guac - maybe you already have. It may do it for you.

                                                          How about some of your faves in SD? I have El Gordo on my list now, thanks to mexcellentfood. Next time I'm in SD I'm going to hit a few places in the same day. I have a friend down there and we talked about doing this together soon - I now have the perfect excuse. I'm happy to replace any drunken standby's of his or mine with better spots. This will be a great day, I can feel it already.

                                                          When I get burritos, I don't prefer rice or beans in. All meat with guacamole is good for me, and any spot I've gone to here in LA will do it that way if you ask. Or if it is a soupier meat, like barbacoa or a stewy shredded beef, just all meat can be just the ticket for me.

                                                          I don't actually order burritos all that often (I'm an asada taco en tortilla de maiz man, I guess), but when I do, I prefer dos equis. Maybe it will be "the most interesting burrito in the world". South of Santa Barbara, anyway.

                                                          1. re: CulverJack
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                                                            BrewNChow Apr 30, 2012 10:40 PM

                                                            I basically just get a breakfast burrito at dos brasas, and I have them put fries, beans, bacon cheese and egg in it, or I go to JVs and get either a cali burrito made into a quesadilla instead of a burrito, or a surf'n'turf.

                                                      3. j
                                                        Jwsel Apr 29, 2012 06:48 PM

                                                        I like the carne asada taco at the Talpa in West LA. The meat is very flavorful and doesn't look pre-chewed.

                                                        Also, my regular taco haunt is Alberto's in Van Nuys. It's a San Diego chain with a few branches up here. The asada is pretty good and they are known for carne asada fries and the California burrito.

                                                        10 Replies
                                                        1. re: Jwsel
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                                                          ZoeZ Apr 29, 2012 07:20 PM

                                                          Carne asada burrito at Mi India Bonita on East Olympic Blvd (4000 block) is a great lunch - well half a lunch shared with Mme Zoe, its that big. Great albondigas soup too on Tuesdays.

                                                          1. re: Jwsel
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                                                            BrewNChow Apr 29, 2012 09:53 PM

                                                            Yeah, Albertos are all over and by San Diego standards, it's average, which means by LA standards it's miraculous. I'd go there. If you're trying to get that San Diego taco shop taste, you'll go through too much disappointment wading through alllll the places that won't pass muster. At least Alberto's can hang, even if it's not the world's best and it doesn't take a lot of searching and headache.

                                                            Believe me when I first moved up here I looked long and hard for that San Diego taste and decided it just wasn't worth the trouble.

                                                            1. re: BrewNChow
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                                                              mexcellentfood Apr 29, 2012 11:26 PM

                                                              The one post I trust...I think you are right BrewNChow. I don't know how many places I've been to that people have recommded that only turn out to be just as bad, or at least not up to SD standards. I live in Pasadena now, and they just opened an Alberto's by PCC. Suffice to say, I go there once in a while, but like you said...it's average for San Diego and top notch for LA. I happen to drive by the place in downtown that someone mentioned, Mexicali Taco. I'm curious, so I may try it. But I've been to Mexicali and had their tacos...not exactly the same. My bro lives out in that area and he says the same thing, no comparison to SD style. I guess I will just have to settle for once a month good taste when I visit the folks...sucks!

                                                              1. re: mexcellentfood
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                                                                BrewNChow Apr 30, 2012 02:13 PM

                                                                It does, but like you, I'm down there visiting my folks ever month or so and I definitely stop by my favorite shops (JVs, Nico's, Dos Brasas for breakfast) and get my fix.

                                                                When I moved to LA from SD I was all mad about the burritos being terrible, but once I gave up on burritos, I started to realize how much great food LA has. Trying all these different cuisines has changed the way I look at food completely. In San Diego, I basically ate burritos every day. Now, I eat great food from all over the globe every day, and still get my old burrito fix every month or so when I go back. It's not so bad.

                                                                1. re: mexcellentfood
                                                                  A5 KOBE Apr 30, 2012 03:25 PM

                                                                  What are you talking about? Alberto's carne asada is disastrous at best. It is like the Farmer Boys of Mexican cuisine.

                                                                  1. re: A5 KOBE
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                                                                    burntwater Apr 30, 2012 07:31 PM

                                                                    I agree A5, these guys lost all credibility mentioning Alberto's.

                                                                    1. re: A5 KOBE
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                                                                      Jwsel Apr 30, 2012 09:45 PM

                                                                      I didn't say Alberto's was the best carne asada, but since the OP wants San Diego style asada (whatever that is) and didn't seem to like carne asada that consists of small pieces, Alberto's seemed like it fit the bill of what he wants. Not only is it a San Diego franchise, but the asada pieces are decent-sized and definitely do not look pre-chewed. (I will say that the meat in Talpa's carne asada taco definitely fits the bill.)

                                                                      Having said that, I probably should have said the asada at the Alberto's in Van Nuys is decent. I can't speak for other branches, and I generally prefer the rolled tacos (a true guilty pleasure) and chorizo tacos at Alberto's. In the valley, I personally prefer the North Hollywood El Taco Llama's and Tacos La Fonda's carne asada, but they don't seem to fit the OP's description of what he wants since the meat is minced pretty small at both places.

                                                                      I also should have added that my biggest problem with Alberto's is that the salsa roja absolutely sucks. The spicy salsa verde is decent, but I sometimes run by Rigo's at Woodman/Oxnard for salsa roja.

                                                                      1. re: Jwsel
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                                                                        mikeinla10 May 2, 2012 09:16 PM

                                                                        I love La Fonda. Their tacos are bomb. And they always have fresh agua frescas.

                                                                        (And I don't need any comments about "fresh agua frescas" as many places have those awful preserved versions in the plastic containers.)

                                                                        1. re: Jwsel
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                                                                          ns1 May 7, 2012 02:59 PM

                                                                          "North Hollywood El Taco Llama's"

                                                                          closed, now a Falafel Hut

                                                                          1. re: ns1
                                                                            j
                                                                            Jwsel May 7, 2012 10:36 PM

                                                                            I know the one on Magnolia closed. But I thought the one on Sherman Way is still open. I also think there is one on Whitsett.

                                                                2. ipsedixit Apr 29, 2012 11:34 AM

                                                                  Taqueria Jalisco in Huntington Park.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                    Peripatetic Apr 29, 2012 01:03 PM

                                                                    There's a Taqueria Jalisco in Bell, but I couldn't find any info about one in Huntington Park.

                                                                    1. re: Peripatetic
                                                                      ipsedixit Apr 29, 2012 08:33 PM

                                                                      You're absolutely right. Jalisco is in Bell, and it is very good.

                                                                      The Huntington Park tacqueria I was think about was Zavala, which I guess is technically in either Southgate or Lynwood.

                                                                  2. A5 KOBE Apr 29, 2012 09:32 AM

                                                                    If you are up for a drive to Hawaiian Gardens, Tacos San Pedro has wonderful carne asada. There is alos a location in Anaheim on Lincoln. The carne asada is the meat to get here. I especially like the flautas because they put the same carne asada meat in those as well. I have been to Tijuanas Tacos in Pomona and the carne asada is good but the salsa there is a bit too tangy for me.

                                                                    1. l
                                                                      LuluTheMagnificent Apr 29, 2012 08:57 AM

                                                                      I agree with the OP. Not a good Carne Asada Burrito in sight out here. Inevitably people will come in and say El Parian (I couldn't chew it! so tough) or Yuca's(too chi chi poo poo, decent if you live close) or Carnitas Michaocan (not bad, but not much better than king taco, very greasy too).

                                                                      12 Replies
                                                                      1. re: LuluTheMagnificent
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                                                                        burntwater Apr 29, 2012 05:13 PM

                                                                        I think you are being overly dramatic.

                                                                        1. re: burntwater
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                                                                          LuluTheMagnificent May 2, 2012 04:38 PM

                                                                          I'm not.

                                                                          1. re: LuluTheMagnificent
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                                                                            bulavinaka May 2, 2012 06:18 PM

                                                                            With a name like LuluTheMagnificent, drama should be your forte. ;)

                                                                            1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                              A5 KOBE May 2, 2012 09:25 PM

                                                                              It is not rocket science. Carne asada is grilled steak. Most places use cheap chuck steak to keep the cost down which is why it is dry, a bit too acidic, and tough. Find a place that serves skirt, plate, or flap and your chances of getting better carne asada greatly increases.

                                                                              And I thought Mexican food in general is supposed to be greasy.

                                                                              1. re: A5 KOBE
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                                                                                mikeinla10 May 2, 2012 09:42 PM

                                                                                God, carne asada is SO much better in Chicago.

                                                                                I believe it's because it's generally skirt steak there which I believe is abdomen, right? It makes such a difference. It should be thinly sliced and pounded. It's so hard to find here in LA.

                                                                                I commend Sprouts for having it on their shelves. I just wish more taquerias would follow suit.

                                                                                1. re: A5 KOBE
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                                                                                  Ernie May 3, 2012 08:08 AM

                                                                                  No, it shouldn't be greasy if prepared correctly with quality ingredients. Trouble is, most Mexican restaurants in the US operate on a very low-cost model so the beef is usually terrible quality and gristly.

                                                                                2. re: bulavinaka
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                                                                                  LuluTheMagnificent May 3, 2012 01:53 PM

                                                                                  @bulavinaka - Touche!

                                                                                  1. re: LuluTheMagnificent
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                                                                                    bulavinaka May 3, 2012 06:48 PM

                                                                                    To the Big Top! :)

                                                                                    Has anyone tried Taqueria Sanchez's carne asada? I normally don't get the asada there, but I remember the carne asada at their carneceria was some sort of flap meat.

                                                                                    1. re: bulavinaka
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                                                                                      nosh May 4, 2012 10:09 AM

                                                                                      I always get the shrimp, the al pastor, and the carnitas tacos there. Three is enough to fill me up, especially with the chips included and the salsas.

                                                                                      1. re: bulavinaka
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                                                                                        CulverJack May 5, 2012 09:29 AM

                                                                                        I find it good but not great. Their orange (habanero?) salsa, tho, makes anything good. I never find myself thinking of Sanchez as a destination. More like a quick, easy stop if we're by there.

                                                                                        1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                                          Moose May 6, 2012 03:46 PM

                                                                                          The carne asada at Sanchez is not the greatest, however, the Lomo (beef loin) is out of this world.

                                                                                3. re: LuluTheMagnificent
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                                                                                  Burger Boy May 2, 2012 10:19 PM

                                                                                  Try La Azteca Tortillaria on Caesar Chavez. Great handmade flour tortillas and corn tortillas that marry well with the foods they prepare.

                                                                                4. Servorg Apr 29, 2012 04:59 AM

                                                                                  If you are downtown and just want good food then drop by http://mexicalitaco.com/ and give it a taste test. No burritos but their food is wonderful.

                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Servorg
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                                                                                    Burger Boy Apr 29, 2012 07:12 AM

                                                                                    How can I recommend Mexical Taco & Co if you are up so early and beat me to the punch?

                                                                                    1. re: Burger Boy
                                                                                      Servorg Apr 29, 2012 07:44 AM

                                                                                      This morning would have been a tough one to beat me to the proverbial punch. I've been up since 1:45 AM for my bike ride and just got back from pancakes with eggs and bacon at John O'Groats on Pico. ;-D>

                                                                                      1. re: Servorg
                                                                                        Servorg Apr 29, 2012 09:30 AM

                                                                                        One more idea. Are you familiar with Bandini's blog "The Great Taco Hunt?" If not you ought to peruse it. I note that he just wrote up a truck called "El Gallito" that parks in the Westwood area (at the corner of Santa Monica Blvd. and Westwood Blvd.) and he praises their carne asada tacos: http://www.greattacohunt.com/ and he also reminds me to mention Guisados in East L.A. as well: http://www.guisados.co/

                                                                                        1. re: Servorg
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                                                                                          nosh Apr 29, 2012 05:35 PM

                                                                                          Bandini is posting again!! The Great Taco Hunt is back! Great news.

                                                                                          1. re: Servorg
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                                                                                            mexcellentfood Apr 29, 2012 11:31 PM

                                                                                            I've had Guisados...they dont even have carne asada!! It's a different style of meat and I thnk it's "al vapor" style...anyway, it was ok for what it was, but it wasn't carne asada.

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