Archive for the ‘carne asada’ Tag

Taco Tour   1 comment

Back-to-back taco tastings at two Los Angeles taquerias may not constitute a true test, but it did provide a fun opportunity for comparison – plus alliteration. Both Mexicali Taco & Co. and Yuca’s have garnered a lot of ink in The Los Angeles Times, mainly thanks to critic Jonathan Gold; all of it well deserved.

I first heard of Mexicali Taco several years ago in a Gold review. What I recall is that the owners travel to Baja a few times a week for the tortillas. While I think there are plenty of good tortillerias in East L.A., I appreciate Mexicali’s efforts. They are worth it. We ordered carne asada tacos. The meat comes almost naked on a plate, wrapped only in a soft tortilla. A grilled scallion is added for can only be color. It was the carne we were after, but a small salsa bar features a few different heat levels, pickled onions, radishes, slaw, cucumbers and lime. The charred diced meat is surprisingly tender.

However, Yuca’s carne asada is a bit more flavorful. These feature grilled pieces of meat with fresh onion, tomatoes and cilantro. They don’t need anything else except two corn tortillas, which don’t hold up well. Yuca’s offers a few outdoor tables, otherwise plan to eat in your car – if you can’t wait to get home.

The best of the taco world, where these two are concerned, would be Mexicali’s tortillas because they hold up well and have a distinct corn taste, and Yuca’s melt-in-your-mouth carne asada.

Mexicali’s Taco & Co. 
Four Plates
702 N. Figueroa St.
Los Angeles

Four Plates
2056 Hillhurst Ave.
Los Angeles

Fiesta in Flagstaff   Leave a comment

Finding good Mexican food in Arizona is a no-brainer, but thinking to look in a Flagstaff strip mall took some thought. Thanks to our son who attends NAU, we found Tacos Los Altos. It’s been serving an “Authentic Taste of Mexican Homemade Food” since 1999. The mall location has been open four years, and expanded to more than double its space this summer. Only the increase in square footage has changed; the food remains fresh and flavorful.

This is a place-your-order-at-the-counter establishment. The food is brought to the table, but standing at the counter reading the extensive menu can be a bit daunting. That’s why I just went with the daily special listed on the wipe board: Carne Asada, tortillas, rice, beans and soda for $6.99. My husband and son scrutinized the menu a little longer and decided on the beef burrito and ham torta, respectively.

From the outside, Tacos Los Altos is nondescript. The interior, however, is bright, colorful and friendly. A serve-yourself salsa bar features almost too many choices. Pico de Gallo and the green salsa were rich and piquant – they were just right.

Shortly after placing my order, the carne asada was removed from the wipe board. Mine was apparently among the last available. The meat was a little dry but the flavor remained. The rice and beans were winners; the true champion was my husband’s beef burrito filled with chile con carne that makes my mouth water just thinking about it. We eventually traded plates.

Tacos Los Altos
Three-and-a-half Plates
2500 S. Woodlands Village Blvd. S
Flagstaff, AZ