Tacos have entered my life in a big way. Ever since I moved to L.A. in September, I’ve been eating many, many tacos. Tacos at Loteria, tacos at Malo. In fact, there’s a very good chance that today I’ll be eating tacos for lunch and dinner, no joke. What makes the tacos here so great? Rid your mind of those orange tacos shells that you crunched through at your middle school cafeteria growing up. Here, tacos are served in freshly pressed tortillas; the fillings are often equally as fresh (no ground meat slop) and made piquant with pico de gallo and a splash of hot sauce. On the east side of town, where I live, I’ve discovered two great places for tacos. Let me tell you about them.
The first I stumbled upon by accident. I’d been going to Silverlake somewhat regularly, always parking up on Hyperion. Only one day Hyperion was blocked off because of construction. So I parked one block over and when I walked down the hill, I was face-to-face with Tacos Delta. I knew the name sounded familiar and I recalled that Mark Duplass, who starred in Craig’s movie, told me at the premiere that Tacos Delta was one of his favorites.
Here’s a sign with that day’s specials:
I decided to go with one fish taco and one shrimp taco. Look at this generous plate which cost only $7 or so:
I can’t attest to whether the tortillas are pressed in-house (at Loteria, you can watch the tortilla-pressing process) but everything else here positively bursts with freshness and flavor. Both the shrimp and the fish are battered and fried; there’s shredded lettuce on top and then a spicy chipotle mayo. On the side, there’s rice and beans and a lime wedge for squeezing over everything. It’s a taco lunch I could lunch on forever and ever more.
Unless I get an invitation to Ricky’s Fish Tacos which is just down the street on Virgil and only open certain days of the week (from what I understand, Wednesday through Sunday, but check before you go. I made the mistake once of not checking and showing up on a Monday. Nothing there.)
Ricky’s is sort of like a pop-up taco stand; you park on the street (or behind the Blockbuster a few feet over) and make your way on to the line:
On a nice day, the atmosphere couldn’t be more charming (and most days in L.A. are nice days so expect to be charmed).
The place is manned by two men, one frying the fish in big vats of simmering oil, the other assembling the tacos with a pair of tongs and gloved hands:
I’m pretty sure the man on the right (with the glasses) is Ricky but that’s just a guess. Here’s the process a little bit closer:
Notice them heating the tortillas on the grill; that’s kind of cool. These are the condiments (pico de gallo, shredded lettuce):
When I ordered two fish tacos, Ricky (or the man I suspect to be Ricky) asked me to make my own change in the cash register because he didn’t want to sully his hands. I got a kick out of that.
As for the fish tacos, take a look:
Oh mama. You have a choice of salsas to squeeze on top–I chose the mild tomatillo. I also squeezed on some sour cream. And that, my friends, is a mighty fine fish taco. Washed down with watermelon agua fresca (the only beverage available the day I went), it’s a taco lunch that’d make a taco-lover out of anyone.
Now off I go to eat more tacos! I can’t be stopped. L.A., you’ve turned me into a taco-eating fool.