Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Leo's Taco Truck $1 Al Pastor - Cheap$kate Dining Video

The best tacos in Los Angeles? Hmmm, I could easily make a case that Leo's Taco Truck makes the best Al Pastor Taco in Los Angeles. And they certainly give you the best tasty value by charging just $1 per taco. Well, when you put it all together, for this Nocturnal Noshing Frugal Forager, I gotta give it up for Leo's -- they make my favorite taco in town.


You can keep your grass-fed and hormone free, artisanal, hipster fusion tacos -- sometimes I just want one that tastes good. And Leo's Taco Truck (also known as Tacos Leo,) located in a gas station parking lot at La Brea Avenue and Venice Boulevard, does tacos right -- and I'm lucky to live just a couple of miles away.


I've stopped there many times on the way home around midnight, after a double feature movie from the Cinefamily on Fairfax Avenue or the American Cinematheque on Hollywood Boulevard.

If there is a line it moves quickly. At a table in front of the taco truck you order and pay just a dollar for the most tender and flavorful grilled marinated pork, that's cooked in front of a gas grill called a trompo.


At the top of the inverted pyramid of orange chile stained pork is a haunch of fresh pineapple, that the cook, with a flick of the knife blade, skillfully hacks off a sliver and snags it in the tiny corn tortilla mitt loaded with thinly sliced pork.


Once your name is called and handed the tacos, you can go to the salsa stall for green, red or avocado sauces. There is also chopped cilantro, sliced lime, radishes, and a spicy chile\onion slaw. But Leo's al pastor is so good you may not want to put anything on it and just savor the perfectly cooked and seasoned pork..

I've had Al Pastor all over town and this is the best. Most taquerias, that have a trompo of al pastor, cheat and slice off the marinated pork before it's cooked through -- so they end up grilling it on a flat top, which just dries out the meat. Plus you lose the open flame char taste. And often other taco trucks don't even bother with a hunk of pineapple to give the al pastor tacos a kick of sweet and sour citrus.

There are plastic tables were you eat standing up. If you park around the corner on the parallel  street off Venice Boulevard, then just chow down in your car. I order 2 or 3 tacos, topped with a minimum of salsa, chopped onion and cilantro -- I usually leave one taco unadorned, the better to enjoy the marinated grilled pork.

Leo's Taco Truck also dishes out the usual Mexican fast food fare: burritos, tortas, quesadillas, etc. And various cuts of meat and offal, like: carnitas, carne asada, buche, tripas, chorizo and lengua.


 You can probably guess how Leo's Taco Truck rates on The 99 Cent Chef's Cheap$kate Dining scale of 1 to 9, 9 being best. Just watch the video below to see the delicious footage and rating.

 Leo's Taco Truck - VIDEO
Play it here, video runs 2 minutes, 24 seconds.

99 thanks to Bob McGuinness & neighbor Pete for their camerawork.
To view or embed from YouTube, click here.

Leo's Taco Truck (also known as Tacos Leo)
1515 South La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, CA. 90019 (corner of La Brea Ave. and Venice Blvd. in the 76 Gas Station parking lot)
 Phone: 323) 231-5116
 Hours: about 5pm to 3 or 4 am (by 7pm the al pastor is about ready -- go too early and the al pastor is not freshly sliced.)
(Okay to park at gas station, but I find it easier to park off Venice Blvd. on parallel street behind Leo's Taco Truck -- map link here.) 

Taco Madness curated by L.A. Taco is on! Vote for you favorite Los Angeles Taco by clicking here

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Chiccarones or Fried Pork Skin Tacos

If you've lived in or visited the South you were exposed to bags of  fried Pork Cracklins found in the liquor store potato chips rack. Over-salted and dried out, those deep fried pork rinds are okay, but nothing like the recipe I have for you.


Mexicans have their own version called Chiccarones. And if you don't have a neighborhood street taco stand or taqueria with a vat of lard slow frying slabs of pork skin, then you should try out The 99 Cent Chef version. Fresh or homemade fried pork skin is so much tastier than packaged. First there are several textures: from egg shell shattering skin to a creamy rendered fat layer. The Italians also know how to handle pork skin by wrapping pork loin with it and oven roasting, for a Porchetta. This is something you may not eat often, but it's a real treat to try instead of throwing the extra skin away. And I always find packaged pork rinds way too salty, so now I can control that with homemade Chiccarones.


If you read my recipe earlier this month for Carnitas (Mexican slow cooked pork) you will have noticed the hunk of skin I removed from the large pork shoulder. I stewed the meat with a small piece of it and deep fried the rest to make Chiccoron Tacos. Pig skin is also sold at some ethnic markets like my local Superior Groceries for $1.19 per pound.


If you have never tasted deep fried pig skin tacos, then you are in for a treat. I know it sounds gross, but trust me -- crispy Chiccarones with chopped onion, tomato, cilantro and a wedge of avocado, all wrapped in a warm corn tortilla, is taco nirvana. The rich crunch of fatty fried pig skin pairs perfectly with cool chopped cilantro, tomato and creamy avocado.

Ingredients
  • Skin from pork shoulder - Cooks better when using 2 to 4 inch sized pieces. Latin markets sometimes carry uncooked pig skin. I used skin from a pork shoulder from last week's Carnitas Taco Recipe (here.)
  • Oil for frying - enough to cover bottom of the pan by at least an inch.
  • Seasoning when done - salt and pepper, Cajun spices, or your favorite spice blend. It's even good on it's own.

Directions
You need a sharp knife to slice along the meat and fat line under the pork skin. Some recipes call for removing the white fat just under the rubbery skin, but when cooked this fat turns creamy and soft (a delicious contrast to the crunchy skin,) so I like to leave it on.


Most of the fat under the skin is not very thick, however there were a couple of areas were the fat was more than an inch thick. You want to cut those chunks into smaller pieces so the fat cooks through and softens. (Even when you are all done there may be a few pieces that seem rubbery and undercooked in the middle, just cut them open and grill the fat side down for 5 minutes, or so, when you make Chiccaron Tacos later - the extra rendered oil will nicely coat the warming corn tortillas.)


It takes a long time to fry the pork skin over a low/medium heat (you don't want an oil splattered all over the stove top by using a high heat.) There will still be a few splatters, but not too bad. If you have a deep fryer then you can go hotter (and quicker,) or if you have a splatter screen, then use it. A deep pot will make less of a mess. This is what happens when you deep fry fat and skin.


Add oil at least an inch deep in a frying pan. I used a low/medium heat to cook the pork skins. Carefully add pork skins to heating oil.


Over a low heat it takes about an hour to cook both sides of the pork skin. You can walk away and check on low-heat frying Chiccarones every 10 minutes or so. (But hang around for the first 10 minutes to make sure the splattering oil is not out of control.)


The Chiccarones are ready when the skin side is golden brown and crunchy like an egg shell. (Don't let the skin blacken though.) The outer fatty side will still be soft, but browned, while the middle is white, but creamy soft like warm butter.


For Chiccaron Tacos just heat up a couple of corn or flour tortillas to soften them (okay to microwave 30 second or so.) Break up Chiccarones into bite size pieces. I like to add chopped onion, tomato, lime juice and cilantro (it's called a Pico de Gallo.) A couple thin slices of avocado are a delicious contrast to crunchy fried skin. If you have a favorite salsa then use that -- hot sauce optional.


If you are heating up Chiccarones later, then saute in a pan or zap in a microwave until hot. Any rendered fat can be used to grease and flavor a pan for warming corn or flour tortillas.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Jack in the Box 99 Cent Tacos - Cheap$kate Dining Video Review

The Provocateur d'Epicure is back with another video that's part of my Taco Month series. This is a cautionary taco tale. Yeah, knocking Jack in the Box's 2 Tacos for 99 Cents is too easy, especially living in Los Angeles, the capital of the taco. But I can't allow this fast food joint to soil the reputation of our most humble and quintessential Mexican street food classic. (The Cheap$kate Dining review video is at the bottom of this blogpost, which offers my most outre denouement yet.)


Now, I like gringo-style Mexican tacos. I've had my share of crunchy shelled Taco Bell and Del Taco ones. Their serviceable versions go down fine for drive-thru dining. Mitla Café, in San Bernadino, is believed to have first developed the hard-shell Americanized version: spiced ground beef topped with lettuce, tomato and shredded American cheese. Glen Bell operated a hamburger stand nearby and copied this recipe when he launched Taco Bell in 1962 in Downey, California.

For my own fast food version, using low-fat and cheaper ground poultry, (of course, you can use ground beef,) just click here to see the recipe.


I've been working right around the corner from a Jack in the Box in Santa Monica, and have dined on their 99 cent Chicken Sandwich and Jr Jack (for just over a dollar) every month or so, but I have to draw the line on the 2 Tacos for 99 Cents from their Value Menu. It's been years since I had one and now I remember why.


I guess you could say I really decided to get Jack in the Box's tacos to test the limits of my new video series, Cheap$kate Dining. The rating system is 1 to 9, 9 being best -- with any entree that's rated 5 or higher worth a try. There is an upcoming Cheap$kate Dining episode that will rate a perfect 9, so keep checking back. And now I have one that rates near the bottom.


After paying 99 cents (plus tax) I bellied up to the counter and noticed the cook with a fry basket tray holding a row of folded meat-filled tortillas that she dunked into a vat of hot oil -- not a good start..


I made sure to load up the to-go bag with taco sauce, just in case. Back in the office dining room I unwrapped one taco and dug in. The first thing you hit is the crunchy shell, then soothing American cheese and shredded lettuce -- not a bad start. With the second bite I got to the meat of the problem.


The middle of the taco was soggy from the mushy protein mixture. Unlike other American-style tacos with real gound meat, this version had no textrure - it was just a beef-flavored paste slathered with a bland taco sauce. (I found out later that the 99 Cent Tacos are a mixture of beef and soy - which is fine, expect that the tast is off.)


Well, the best thing I can say is you do get 2 Tacos for 99 Cents, but that is also the problem. Now I had to finish the second one -- good thing I packed extra taco sauce!


Things did not get better. Compared to Taco Bell or Del Taco, Jack in the Box's are scraping the bottom of the fast food barrel. But perusing some of the comments on my YouTube channel (click here to read them) they are liked. (No problem with that, we all have our guilty pleasures - one of mine is McDonalds Filet-O-Fish sandwiches; especially when they go on sale during File-O-Fish Fridays.)

You can probably guess the number grade I give Jack in the Box's 2 Tacos for 99 Cents. So, on a scale of 1 to 9, 9 being best, the tacos rate a... well, you will have to watch my video below for the rating during the wacky ending -- I think you will get a kick out of it!
 Jack in the Box 99 Cent Taco - VIDEO 

Play it here, video runs 2 minutes, 22 seconds.

99 thanks to Chad Reder for his camerawork.
To view or embed from YouTube, click here

Thursday, March 7, 2013

20 Tacos - Carnitas Recipe Video, Mexican-Style Pork

My favorite taco truck or Taquería order are a couple of Carnitas Tacos. There is nothing better than luscious slow-cooked pork presented simply on a corn tortilla, sprinkled with chopped onion and cilantro. Even when the pork is spooned from a heated metal container that has been driven around all day, it keeps moist. I'll order Carne Asada, or chopped steak, when they grill it fresh, but usually it's been sitting there and drying out.


Sometimes when I'm out shooting my Restaurant Noctunes, I'll spy a temporary Taqueria, which is usually just a few plastic chairs and a folding table with a selection of salsas and a jug of pickled carrots, onion and jalapenos. Often there is a gas stove top bearing a bubbling cauldron of stewing meats that include: sausage (chorizo,) intestine (tripas,) fried skin (chiccarones,) intestine (buche,) and pork shoulder (carnitas.) You place your order and they fish out a hunk of meat and chop away -- this is when you get the best tasting tacos.


Well, now you can enjoy your own Carnitas Tacos (or burritos) in the comfort of your abode. Just check out the video halfway down below to see my recipe directions presented in an easy-to-follow and fun stop motion animated style.

Carnitas are easy to prepare with minimum ingredients. I'm sure every Taqueria has it's own recipe, so feel free to change mine to suit the ingredients you can find. Mainly you need a hunk of pork, onion, garlic, bay leaves, dried or fresh oregano and water. I also added orange juice and a bottle of Mexican coke.


You can use any cola really, but I would stay away from diet - what you are looking for is the cola flavor with real sugar sweetness. And fresh squeezed, pasteurized or frozen orange juice is fine. (To strip the Carnitas recipe down even more, it's okay to leave out these flavorful liquids.)


My local Latin markets sell their own cooked Carnitas in heated deli cases for more than $7 per pound. But I have a new Latin market (Superior Grocers) within walking distance that has been selling freshly butchered pork shoulder for less than 99 cent per pound. It comes partially wrapped in skin, that you cut away -- although I use a big piece of it for extra flavor in my simmering one-pot recipe. And pork shoulder comes in large 5-8 pound hunk, so you can make enough for a party - I got about 20 tacos out of this recipe.


The trickiest part is prepping a shoulder of pork. It takes a bit of work and you need a sharp knife. An easy substitution is a large package of sliced meaty pork Country-Style ribs. (Don't use spareribs as they are skimpy with the meat.) You could even use pork that already cut and sliced for stews or stir frying, although this is the most expensive way to go. And at the end of this post under Hindsight, I also have directions for cooking a whole pork shoulder - the easy way.


 If you don't want to toss out and waste the skin, you can fry it up for chicharrones (my recipe for Chicharron Tacos is up next) -- or what they call it in the South: Fried Pork Cracklins. I also cut the meat off the bone and added the bone to the pot as well. (To get a crispy exterior on the meat, you do need to have enough fat so the meat slow fries during the last hour of simmering.) Of course, you can drain the pork and skim off the fat when you are done cooking.


I included a couple of techniques to make extra crispy Carnitas. All it takes is baking some of the larger cooked pieces for 15 minutes. A tasty way to crisp up cooked Carnitas is by deep frying some of it - but you don't need fry it all up, just a few big pieces. Of course, you can serve it right from the pot, chop it up, and make your tacos and/or burritos.


For the typical street Carnitas Taco all you add is a sprinkling of chopped onion, cilantro and some salsa. I also have a tasty Pico de Gallo salsa (click here) you can easily make. For an Americano version just top with shredded lettuce, chopped tomato, American cheese, and your favorite cheapie jar of gringo salsa.


If you are burrito bound, then go all out and cook up my Mom's Mexican Rice (recipe here,) and simply heat up a can of pinto beans to stuff into the burrito. (My Breakfast Burrito recipe breaks it all down for you, just click here.) Now most markets carry flour tortillas as well as whole wheat.

My Carnitas recipe uses humble and cheap ingredients slow-cooked together. You do have to have patience though, it takes about 3 hours of simmering, but it's worth the wait. And you'll have enough Carnitas for a Taco Party!

20 Tacos, Carnitas Recipe  - Video

Play it here, video runs 3 minutes, 29 seconds.

And check back for plenty of taco blogging and recipes during my March Taco Month, including: part 2 of my Carnitas recipe, Chicharron Tacos, and a cautionary taco tale video with the most outrageous ending I've come up with yet !

To view video or embed from YouTube, click here.

Ingredients (depending on weight of meat, about 20 tacos or more)
  • 1 pork shoulder (or butt) - about 4 to 7 pounds. Remove meat from around bone. Cut into large chunks - anywhere from 3 to 6 inch pieces. Thick and meaty pork country style ribs (not the thinner short ribs) are a "no chopping needed" substitution, along with pork stew meat. And go to Hindsight at the end of this post for a "whole hog" easiest version.
  • 1 onion - roughly chopped
  • 1 head of garlic - about 8 whole peeled cloves.
  • 1/2 cup of orange juice - optional. Fresh squeezed or frozen.
  • Juice of one lemon - about a 1/4 cup, fresh or from plastic bottle. (Not included in the video, but I've been adding it lately.)
  • 1 12 ounce bottle of Mexican cola - optional. Okay to use a regular cola (but not diet.) If you don't use a coke then add a tablespoon of sugar, or a favorite sweetener like honey.
  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Sharpen your knife and cut off meat from bone of the pork butt. Cut into approximately six inch (or smaller) pieces - this will help pork tenderize quicker and gives more surface area for browning. Don't worry about trimming off the fat at this stage -- you can remove any offending fat chunks just before serving. (Personally, I like me some small pieces of pork fat.)

If you don't want to deal with butchery, then substitute pork shoulder with a large package of country style sliced pork ribs. They have plenty of meat, bone and a bit of fat (but don't trim it all off ). So they are ready to cook right out of the package! Or go Hindsight at the end of this post for an easy "whole hog" cooking method.


In a large pot add meat and bone. You can add or discard skin. I added a 6 inch piece of skin to the pot for the flavor of it. (For the final cooking stage you will remove the pork and bake it or fry it -- so the fat rendered from the skin is not used.) You could also use a crock pot and let it slow cook all day, like you would a pot roast.


Roughly chop one whole onion. Peel one whole head of garlic - you want at least 8 whole cloves of garlic.


Add veggies to pot. Pour in 3 cups of water, one cup of orange juice, and a bottle or can of coke. Sprinkle on a tablespoon of dried oregano, plus 2 whole bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


On your stovetop, bring the cooking pot to a boil. Once it's boiling, reduce heat to a low simmer (low/medium heat) and cook covered for 2 hours, then uncovered for about another hour until meat seperates easily with a fork.

(Pork stew meat that's already cubed will cook quickest, about an hour or so, just take out a larger piece to check for tenderness.)


You are cooking the Carnitas uncovered for the last hour so the broth reduces and intensifies and the meat becomes more flavorful.


The meat will contract and shrink as the broth cooks down by half, so you shouldn't have to add more liquid. Just make sure to rotate the meat and bone a few times during simmering so all sides evenly cook through.


After 3 hours take out a large-sized piece of boiled pork, let it cool for a minute, then see if it shreds apart easily with a fork and knife. If not then keep cooking in half hour increments until fall-apart tender. When Carnitas are tender turn off the heat and allow the meat to just sit in the broth for 5-10 minutes, so the meat softens even more while soaking up all the delicious pot-liquor deliciousness.

Traditionally Carnitas are fine chopped and piled into flour or corn tortillas. Just take pork pieces and chop them into small 1/4 inch pieces. You could also do the "pulled pork" method of using 2 forks to pull the tender chunks apart into strands.


You can drizzle on some of the "pot liquor" or broth if you are storing the Carnitas to serve later. Or if you are keeping it warm in the oven, make sure to drizzle on plenty and cover, so Carnitas don't dry out. (Save the chopping until the last minute.) And save a couple cups of pot liquor. It's great drizzled over Mexican Rice.


The above method is the easiest way to make Carnitas. This is the way I've seen it done by outdoor sidewalk vendors -- just a vat of pork, intestines, stomach, chorizo and other parts, slow cooking for hours in the rendered fat and broth. Under Hindsight below, I write about how to closer follow the way they do it on the street.

You can top Carnitas Tacos with my Pico de Gallo (recipe here); or simply with chopped onion and cilantro. For a Carnitas Burrito, my Mom's Mexican Rice (here) and a heated can of pinto beans, along with the above mentioned chopped veggies, is the classic taco stand method. If you have a favorite salsa then use that...and don't forget the hot sauce!


I've also had Carnitas with a crispy crust. You can deep-fry or roast the largest chunks of braised pork. And here's how I do it.

Roasting
This is a lean way. Just add the larger chunks of tender braised pork to a roasting pan and bake about 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees. To keep the pork extra moist add some of the pork broth to the roasting pan, just enough to barely cover the bottom. You just want to lightly brown some of the pork pieces for crunch. Don't worry about all the small boiled bits, just add them to the larger roasted pieces and chop them up all together, just before serving.


Frying
A quick finish is to fry in oil some of the large cooked pieces of Carnitas. You want a wide pan to add oil an inch deep. Heat oil until hot over a medium/high heat. Carefully add the larger pieces of boiled (braised) pork to the hot oil (you can add the pork then heat the oil, to reduce splattering.) Watch carefully as the pieces brown along the bottom edges. Turn pieces as they brown on a couple of sides. It takes about 3-5 minutes for each side to brown.

For safer deep frying it's okay to slow fry pork over a low/medium heat, it just takes longer, about 10 minutes each side.


You don't have to fry it all, just some of the larger pieces. I like the mix of tender and crunchy fried pieces -- all chopped together. And don't forget to drizzle-on some of the pungent broth for extra flavor.

Hindsight
In my recipe above I cut the meat from the bone, but if you have a large enough pot you can boil the pork butt (or shoulder) whole, with the skin on. Just add another hour or two of extra cooking time. It takes longer to tenderize the meat all the way to the bone. If the outer pieces of meat break off, or are tender, it's okay to remove pieces and set them aside, until all the meat is tender.

When you hangout at a Taqueria or a makeshift taco stand, Carnitas are usually mixed with other meats in a large caldero (extra-wide metal skillet) and slow-cooked in liquid for hours. The liquid is lard or pork fat, and seasoned marinade.

For my version above, I break the recipe into two steps. First cooking the meat in a marinade, then crisping on the stove top in oil, or baking the meat in the oven.

I've made this recipe a few times so here's a refined version. Go ahead and follow the boiling directions above. And make sure to add the pork skin so there is rendered fat.

But when it comes to crisping the meat, I like to oven roast the cooked meat with some of the marinade. Just get a oven pan and load it up with chunks of tender boiled Carnitas. Add cooked marinade until it half covers the pork pieces. Finally add it all to an oven at about 350 degrees. Allow the Carnitas to lightly brown and crisp-up for about 15-20 minutes. The marinade will keep the pork moist, while the meat browns and you get those crunchy bits.

If you are cooking for a taco party this is a good method because you can have the meat braising slowly until ready to serve. (Add more cooked marinade as it evaporates.) Carnitas also micorwaves nicely, just drizzle on some of the marinade for moisture.)

For storing any leftover Carnitas, make sure to add a cup or two of cooked marinade to container, so the meat stays moist and you have some liquid to heat it up with. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Cheap$kate Dining Video - $1 Tacos Guadalajara in LA

 The Street Gourmet christens March as Taco Month. I have an extra large taco shell full of videos and recipes for you including: my second Cheap$kate Dining video (of a local sidewalk taco vendor,) taco recipes for Carnitas (slow cooked pork done in my unique stop motion animated style) and the most crispy, crunchy Chicarrones (a Latin version of Cracklins from the South,) plus a culinary cautionary taco tale. So let the taco festivities begin!

When out cruising LA, shooting my  Restaurant Nocturnes, I'm always on the lookout for small shrines harboring sidewalk tacos, that are tucked in alleyways lit by cheap clip-on lamps, or around the corner from auto repair shops with barking guard dogs under streetlights, and even in working class neighborhoods in front of chain link fences beneath swaying palm trees -- well, at least everywhere but gated communities and Beverly Hills. I've sampled my share of taco stand fare offered by these master salsa slingers and I'm seldom disappointed.


At the end of a long days journey into night I like to cap it off with a couple of tacos. Lately I've been shooting mobile taquerias to include in my Cheap$kate Dining video series. This is not the first time I've shot eateries on wheels, but now I'm going a little deeper.


To see some of my videos of taco trucks past, just click on Highland Park's El Pique, the Rambo taco truck, Santa Monica's Border Grill truck from the Too Hot Tamales Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, Kogi Truck (Korean/Mexican tacos by Chef Roy Choi, who started the new wave of taco trucks nationwide,) and LAX adjacent El Sabroso for deliciously cheap tostadas de pescado (lime cooked fish on a hard shell corn tortilla.)

First up is my Cheap$kate Dining review, Latino street style, of Tacos Guadalajara in LA. It's a pop-up street cart, so you have to drive by to see if it's there or not.


Usually there is a silver trailer with the "Tacos Guadalajara in LA" type animated in LED light along the top. The silver trailer has a tasty selection of tacos and burritos, especially carne asada (steak,) but I prefer the unadorned flat top grill that is in the same spot on off-nights. (The following descriptions can be applied to almost any Mexican sidewalk vendors in LA that you come upon -- just the meat and seafood recipes will vary to each cooks taste.)


Since it's in my neighborhood I can just cruise by on the way home. (I they are not set up, then just look across the street in the empty lot, off Redondo Boulevard, for another recommended taco cart, Tacos El Primo, that I'll be reviewing soon enough.)


What I like from the taqueria are Carnitas and Lengua tacos. Carnitas are hunks of pork shoulder slow cooked for hours until fall-apart tender. Carnitas can be cooked in broth or oil. I prefer the crunchy crust that you get when hunks of pork leisurely saute in hot oil.  


Carnitas is the Mexican version of Kentucky or North Carolina Pulled Pork. (The main difference is the lack of smoke and barbeque sauce.)  


Carnitas just look delicious and are the gateway taco that most gabachos go for. The other favorite taco I get here is a Lengua one -- this taco is not for the faint of palate.


Lengua is whole slow cooked beef tongue, usually cooked in a seasoned broth with herbs, onion and garlic. A couple of things you have to get past are mouth-feel and a pungent flavor.


After cooking for hours, the Lengua texture can go from slightly spongy to mushy, with a mild liver flavor. It's like some people are chicken dark meat eaters and others are for white meat, I like to dine on the dark side.


Tacos Guadalajara in LA prepare these proteins flawlessly. Served on store-bought corn tortillas, the tacos would be perfect if fresh handmade ones were used, but then the tacos would be more expensive. There are typical selections of red and green salsa, guacamole sauce, lime wedges, sliced radishes, chopped onions and cilantro. Your are handed your plate and eat standing up -- since I sit down at a computer all day, that is not a problem, but you can get them to go, or just chow down in the car.


So on The 99 Cent Chef's Cheap$kate Dining scale of 1 to 9, 9 being best, I give Tacos Guadalajara in LA......well, you'll have to watch the video below to see what they rate!
Tacos Guadalajara in LA  - Video
Play it here, video runs 3 minutes.

So do check back for my 20 Carnitas Tacos stop motion animated video, and an easy-to-make Chiccarones recipe - coming up next.

And 99 thanks to Pete Handleman for shooting the bookcase review ending. His clever comedy YouTube videos are a click away, here

To view or embed Cheap$kate video from YouTube, click here

Tacos Guadalajara in LA
about 5151 Adams Boulevard, Los Angeles -- cross street  is Redondo Boulevard.
Usually it's a taco van, but sometimes the pop-up street cart is there. 
Hours of operation vary according to mood of chefs, but usually early afternoon to about midnight or 1am. 
For another review, click here
Across the street (just North up Redondo Boulevard) is another excellent taco cart called Tacos El Primo that I recommended.
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