Bone marrow birria tacos from Pepe’s Red Tacos
For a while, my Instagram and TikTok feeds were filled with red-dyed tacos. There were red birria and queso-filled banh tet which were poured five at a time into overflowing cups with an even redder soft drink. Stacks of red breaded biscuits being heated on a flat surface. Influencers with red logos running down their chins get the perfect cheesecake for their birria stuffed quesadillas. But I’ve never come across a red tacos with bone marrow, until now.
Pepe’s Red Tacos is a truck with multiple locations around the Los Angeles area, including one that is regularly parked at the sleepy intersection of Sierra Madre Avenue and Altadena Drive in Pasadena. Pepe’s claims to be “LA’s first bone marrow taco truck.” It was the only one I met, though I’m sure loyal readers will let me know in the comments if there are others. (Tuetano Taquería has served them in the San Diego area, but I haven’t tried it yet.)
Consommé is scooped into beef bones that have split the legs as they cook on the flat surface, turning the already delicious marrow into something different. They are served with a cup of consommé, a soft birria taco and pickled onions and cilantro. You intend to scrape the marrow into the birria and eat it as a chilled taco. It melts into already tender meat to create an extremely luxurious bite. And when you’re done, you can gnaw the bones to find any stray debris.
Pepe’s dish has chili, garlic, and tomato flavors, but it’s full of flavors of allspice. It sips like a fine wine – and stains like a wine.
Reuben beets from Loam
You can stick anything between two thick sheets of Clark Street Apline butter toast and I’ll eat it. Really. But after a recent lunch at Loam, the restaurant at the Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, smoked radish will be at the top of that list.
The restaurant calls itself transitional vegetables. I was surprised to see that meant an actual veggie for a veggie burger, instead of a protein alternative, and a Reuben sandwich made with sliced beets. It’s not the traditional corned beef Reuben that tastes like meat, but with beetroot. It tastes like actual radish, and that’s the point.
In the same way Josiah Citrin celebrates the humble cabbage dish at Charcoal by roasting it whole until the smoky curls turn into a cruciferous dish, chef Joshua Guarneri is adding radishes to the dish. eat royal. He roasts turnips until tender, then cold smokes them for an hour with apple wood.
The vegetable acts as a sponge for the smoke, amplifying its earthy core. They are thinly sliced and placed on a sandwich with Guarneri’s sauerkraut. Alpine bread, a whole-wheat sourdough with coriander and caraway, is generously painted on both sides with a Russian-style sauce made of shredded corn, Calabrian peppers, and homemade thin beans. And, of course, there’s melted Gruyère cheese.
This is the beet in its groundbreaking achievement, emerging after a corrosive career of summer salads.
Fried mixed mushrooms with crackers from Bistro Na’s
It sounds odd, but I’ve been quite fond of fried mushrooms ever since. Crispy oyster mushrooms at Vege Paradise in San Gabriel are my new favorite Netflix snack. Mushroom rolls from Plantae in Smorgasburg, stuffed with battered mushrooms and deep-fried under a sweet teriyaki-ish glaze, are my go-to maki. And never forget the portobello mushroom fries from Bottega Louie.
The current obsession is a plate full of fried mixed mushrooms from the Michelin-starred Bistro Na in Temple City. This is a restaurant that will give you the envy of serious order. You’ll find yourself twirling around throughout dinner, straining to look at the dishes on the tables around you, some of which are beautifully patterned. Na’s secret tofu looks like green and beige bricks that I want to turn into a chevron patterned wallpaper.
Fried mushrooms were a late addition to our order, after seeing the many plates paraded around the dining room. White oak mushrooms are fried until they are almost hollow inside, almost like well-made fries. Scattered among the mushroom sticks were slices of shiitake mushrooms. They’re just crunchy but still retain most of their chewy middle. Everything is coated in sweet and sour sauce and served with small white rice cakes for extra crunch.
They’re more of a snack than a snack, perfecting between cold spicy chicken, crispy shrimp and diced black pepper honey Angus beef (all to order). Though you may also find yourself eating them for dessert.
Pepe’s Red Tacos, multiple locations at www.pepesredtacos.com
Loam DTLA, 927 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, (213) 235-9660, loamdtla.com
Bistro Na’s, 9055 Las Tunas Dr ,. Ste 105, Temple City, (626) 286-1999, www.bistronas.com
https://www.latimes.com/food/story/2022-07-11/bone-marrow-birria-tacos-fried-mushrooms Yes, bone marrow belongs in a taco. Find this truck to try my latest taco obsession