3 inventive tacos to try now in Los Angeles

There is no shortage of banh Tet in Los Angeles. All the carts, trucks, and stands that I come across every day promise something haunting. Everyone has their favorites. Here are three to try right now.

Tacos dorados estilo San Marcos from the truck Birrieria San Marcos

The unsolicited advice to be given while waiting in line for a truck was the only advice I wanted to take. A woman named Terry (I know this because even though she was behind me, her tacos were ready first) struck up a conversation while we waited to order at the parked Birrieria San Marcos taco truck. near the corner of Woodley Avenue and Parthenian Street in the North Hills. She told me that if I feel nauseous, go straight to the van, order a large deli and it will “get you going in no time.”

It was 100 degrees when this advice was issued, a little after 1 p.m. on Tuesday. I don’t feel hungover, and I don’t need a big cup of wine. But I will keep Terry’s advice close to my heart for the next time I need it.

What I ordered was birria de res tacos dorados estilo San Marcos.

“We added a new San Marcos style this summer because it was too hot and we don’t do well with regular tacos,” owner Nicanor Flores Jr said on a recent call. “We wanted to do something a little bit new.”

He also wanted to do something different with the multitude of birria tacos dominating his social media feeds.

Flores starts with a breaded tortilla seasoned with generous amounts of birria de res. The birria is Flores’ mom’s recipe from her family in Sinaloa, Mexico, made with gotu kola, dried guajillo and California peppers, lots of garlic, cumin, and achiote.

The banh tet are crispy on the griddle, then he stuffs them with shredded romaine lettuce, diced tomatoes, fresco queso, cotija, and some crema. No hot water cup attached for dipping.

Banh tet has all the elements of a typical crispy banh tet: a rough, crunchy crust, lots of cool lettuce, ripe tomatoes and cheese, but has a rich birria filling, soaked in red juices. dark with chili fiber, cumin. and garlic. They’re not the sizzling, sizzling queso birria tacos you’re used to, but they still retain the delicious casserole flavor associated with the best birria.

Flores said it is likely that banh tet will still be available when the weather cools down in the fall. Banh Tet, as Terry advises, is welcome at any time of the year.

Beef tacos rolls from Aldea by Farm Cup

Two beef rendang tacos in blue cornbread, topped with mango sambal sauce.

Aldea by Farm Cup beef tacos.

(Jenn Harris / Los Angeles Times)

Taco purists may howl, but I would eat almost anything stuffed into a great tortilla. And why not fill it with beef rendang?

Chef Jania Ferrera prepares Indonesian-inspired tacos at a cafe, restaurant and bar at Elysian Apartments’ premises in Echo Park. Farm Cup’s third location launched an expanded food menu this summer, giving Ferrera the opportunity to introduce diners to her Indonesian-Latin cooking.

“It’s Latin cooking with a focus on Mexican spices, but I’m also doing Southeast Asian dishes,” she said on a recent call.

Growing up in Chinatown, a neighbor taught her how to make Indonesian food. When she decided to cook professionally, she looked for an Indonesian restaurant, but with few options in the Los Angeles area, she decided to make cornbread at the now-closed Chevys Fresh Mex in Burbank.

She worked for a time at the now-closed Indonesian restaurant Rinjani in Glendale, but looks forward to continuing to cook the food she loved as a child. An early introduction to Indonesian flavors helped shape the menu during her first executive chef job at Aldea by Farm Cup, and that was the focus of her beef rendang tacos.

Ferrera uses short ribs for her rendang, seasoning them with a curry of desiccated coconut, cinnamon, and piloncillo. The meat is braised for a couple of hours until it puffs up with curry, locks and almost cuts itself. It is warmed on the grill before serving for many caramelly edges.

It’s a complex spice arrangement with a burst of lime grass, lime makrut, star anise, ginger, and toasted coconut.

The meat is wrapped into a blue corn masienda tortilla and garnished with a spoonful of mango sambal micapap, a salsa julienned with allspice, Thai chilies and an Indonesian sweet soybean called Regiap manis.

It’s a dish that will defy any established frame of reference you might apply to beef rolls or banh tet. And that’s a good thing.

“It’s not a traditional rendang,” she said. “My way of cooking is really like LA culture.”

Scallop cake from Holbox

Scallop tacos with chili, cumin, caramelized onions and cherry tomatoes on tortillas

Holbox’s Scallop Cake.

(Jenn Harris / Los Angeles Times)

Shellfish cakes at Holbox are not new. I can remember ordering them as long as I have frequented Gilberto Cetina’s Yucatán-style seafood counter at Mercado la Paloma. And during the summer, when it’s too hot to think about, all I want is a pair of Cetina’s scalloped pancakes.

Maybe that’s how the sizzling scallops collide with the blazing heat of the x’catic chile sauce. Or the way seafood is nestled in a layer of shredded dill, caramelized sweet onions, and soft, blistered cherry tomatoes. Or Cetina’s corn tortillas, soft and very pliable, deliver a rich tofu. It is all of this and is how taco encourages fantasies of Holbox, the small island north of the Yucatán Peninsula.

It’s near the top of my post-pandemic travel list. Until I find myself on the island’s warm sands, I’ll fantasize about ocean breezes and bioluminescent waters while I eat my tacos at the mall, accompanied by a group of DMV employees grumbled at the next table.

https://www.latimes.com/food/story/2022-10-03/three-tacos-los-angeles-birria-beef-rendang-scallop-holbox 3 inventive tacos to try now in Los Angeles

Russell Falcon

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