Today is National Taco Day, the most hallowed of culinary days in my cocina (kitchen.) I can have tacos morning, noon, and night. So read on and you'll know what I mean - just click on any taco name, or highlighted text, to see all the tasty details from my blog post recipe or review. And click here to see local National Taco Day specials.
In the morning it's spicy Mexican chorizo with scrambled eggs and refried beans nestled into a warm corn tortilla.
And my Chorizo & Egg Taco is about as cheap as you can get. I get Mexican chorizo from the 99c only Store natch, and all kinds too, like beef, pork, and even soy (which is a recent favorite.) Eggs still show up at my local Dollar Tree.
My Mango Salsa recipe with yummy photos and tasty text is right here, but you can check out the video below:
I'm ready to party on this auspicious day, and when this cheap$kate does it you can bet pennies will be pinched without a sacrifice in flavor. For my backyard soirée it's my favorite taco: a slow-cooked pork Carnitas. Just check out my video below to see what I'm writing about.
I buy a 5 to 6-pound budget pork shoulder, and I can get a couple dozen tacos out of it, too.
And boy it's the perfect budget recipe that your friends and neighbors will line up for. You let them do most of the work -- they get to build each taco to suit their taste. I like to set out some chopped onion and cilantro. You can make your taco bar any way you like, go ahead and add a bowl of shredded cheese, chopped lettuce and tomato, and a cheap jar of salsa, too.
Chicken is one cheap protein. My Chicken Tinga recipe will have your guest coming back for seconds...and thirds! Chicken Tinga is a stew simmered in tomato sauce with a can of spicy chipotle peppers, but you can make a mild version with a can of enchilada sauce.
One of my most unique tacos came about one summer while on vacation at our spectacular national parks in Utah. I stopped to eat and had an Indian Frybread Taco. Frybread is flour dough that's rolled out and deep-fried. You top the frybread with chili beans, lettuce, tomato, and cheese.
Carne Asada, or grilled steak, is a favorite taco of mine. Just make my marinade for thinly sliced steak, let it sit for an hour, then slap it on the grill. After the Carne Asada is done you chop it up and serve on a corn tortilla
The marinade is a simple mix of lime juice, oil, cilantro, cumin, garlic, salt, and pepper.
Drive anywhere in Los Angeles and you will see taco trucks, sidewalk taco vendors, and taquerias on almost every street. And I've stopped at most of them. What follows are a few of my faves - with a few recipes I cribbed from them, too.
When I moved to Los Angeles over 40 years ago, I discovered the taco truck. Boy, have they evolved over the years. In the beginning, it was just hamburgers and tacos made with ground beef. Well, that all changed about 9 years ago when a hotel chef named Roy Choi, who was down but not out, rebounded from couch surfing to start Kogi Taco Truck.
A fellow co-conspirator came up with the idea of a Korean taco, and Roy Choi assembled the taco ingredients of Korean barbecue short ribs with a kimchi-style coleslaw, served on corn tortillas. His truck was an instant hit, and Kogi jump-started the ongoing nouveau taco truck renaissance.
Kogi is still around and I still love them. Check out my video below, where I hang out night and day, for L.A.'s most uniquely mouthwatering taco.
Inspired by Kogi's mashup of Korean BBQ and Mexican Tacos, I came up with the Loxaco, which combines Jewish and Mexican cuisines.
A Loxaco is comprised of homemade lox (cured salmon) in a fast food crunchy taco shell topped with cream cheese and thin sliced red onion. I introduced this preposterous concoction at a book signing in Libros Schmibros, a lending library in East Los Angeles. How did it go over with book lovers? The following video is a twofer, you get a recipe plus a literary happening scene -- even the late great food critic Jonathan Gold makes an appearance - while his wife and kid tried them Jonathan gave them a pass )-:
After a double feature at my fave art house cinematheques like the Egyptian or New Beverly Theater, on the way home I swing by Leo's Taco for a few al pastor pork tacos. They just cost $2 and the line can be long, now that the word is out.
This is porcine perfection on a paper plate. It's tender and flavorful grilled marinated pork, that's cooked in front of a gas grill called a trompo. A cook manning the grill slices off thin slivers, finishing the taco with flare: a flying slice of pineapple. Check out the yummy action below.
I've followed the Two Hot Tamales from the beginning when the Border Grill was in a storefront with half a dozen tables on Melrose Avenue. Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken are fixtures on the L.A. dining scene who jumped on the taco truck train, bringing their neuvo take on Mexican cuisine to four wheels. They primarily park their taco truck in the environs of Silicon Valley West Coast, Santa Monica.
My Tacos El Primo video review has gone viral. That means this YouTube video gets thousands of views per month - right now it is pushing half a million. Why? I'm not sure. Let's see... in this video, I review Buche and Tripas tacos, or tacos made from slow-cooked stomach and intestines. Gross right? One thing I noticed is half my visitors are from Mexico, so maybe half my audience is curious about how gringos react to offal.
That doesn't seem interesting enough really, but hey, what do I know, I'll take it. I did the taco review because Tacos El Primo was a midnight munchies stop on my return home from various Hollywood treks.
When you have a neighborhood food stop, you eventually dive deeper and try eats that you would not normally taste.
Well, join the multitudes and check out my Cheap$kate video review of Tacos El Primo.
Deep-fried Fish Tacos are one of L.A.'s great culinary contributions. These battered depth charges of crunchy perfection are based on the street food of Baja Mexico and other coastal communities. If you like British Fish & Chips, you will love Fried Fish Tacos.
The battered fillets of fish are typically served on corn tortillas and topped with a white crema and chopped cabbage. I have my own recipe for Fish Tacos you can see by clicking on the recipe name.
And this is the best taco deal in town: Today (Wednesdays) is $1 Fish Taco day at Tacos Baja! Yeah, that's what you heard - don't believe me? Just watch the video below and see it for yourself.
Celebrate National Taco Day with me today. Hey, celebrate it any day now that I've shown you a slew of taco recipes you can make easily and cheaply.
And, what the heck, I'll end with a queasy taco review, from of all places, Jack In The Box's 2 for 99 cent tacos...ugh, watch it with a barf bag.