The Taco Crawl
Sunday, February 16, 2014
We had good intentions. We were going to meet at the Guerilla Taco Truck at 11, then go on to four or five more taco places. The problem was that the Guerilla Tacos were so damn good we had to try them all.
Guerilla Tacos are not your ordinary tacos. They’re high end, chef-driven tacos. Chef Wes Avila trained with Alain Ducasse and he’s worked at fancy kitchens across L.A. There are no plebian ingredients at this particular truck: it’s all local, sustainable, organic.
First up - and my hand’s down favorite - the pork taco. The pork, from Cook Pigs Ranch was crisp, rich, filled with fat and flavor. Snuggled inside the taco with homemade salsa, some sliced radish and a few fronds of cilantro it was.... perfect.
But the others were impressive too.
This kampachi-blood orange version looks more like the amuse bouche at Daniel than something you just purchased on a grubby sidewalk east of Downtown L.A. You need to eat it correctly though; get too much of the crisp corn tortilla and it overwhelms the delicate fish.
Broccoli, a lovely tangle of various flowering vegetables may look vegetarian, but the chef sneaked some crumbled sausage in as well. A delightful little shock when you suddenly get a pungent bite.
The Elegant Italian taco (my name, not theirs) is built on a brioche base. On top: proscuitto, egg, scallions, pea shoots.
There were more: a sunchoke version, with lots of caramelized onions. Grilled sardines, fat, vinegary, a solid meal. Various burittos with sausages and eggs. We ate them all.
And then stopped, looking at each other with a certain horror. We were supposed to hit four more places. We couldn't.
But, just for science, we went on to Boyle Heights and a taste of Mariscos Jalisco. And that was where we encountered what will forever be the tostada of my dreams.
Tostada de cameron. Crisp taco shell. Tender shrimp. Perfect balance. Irresistible. They're $1.75 each. This is two. Full disclosure: I ate every morsel.
And then, because the tostadas were so good, I had to order this taco de aguachile. Hot. Hot. Hot. The yang to the yin of the hamachi taco at Guerilla. The flavor was singing in my mouth the whole drive home.