For the past year or so I have seen a night taco stand, complete with a trompo, set up in front of Mitsuwa in Mar Vista.
Finally stopped by last night.
I was pleasantly surprised to see quite a spread, including that giant steel pan that holds various stewing meats and sausages (what is that thing called, and what is best to ask for from it? In my reading it sounds like it’s mainly good for Suadero and Longaniza - not sure I have ever had these at a taco stand despite quite a few trips to Mx).
Also, serve yourself table w/ salsas, avocado sauce, cilantro, radish, cebolla, lime. Boy, its been a minute since I had the joy of controlling my toppings like that, without dealing with tiny baggies and annoying plastic containers.
I had soft, wet carnitas from the “stewer” and cabeza and al pastor tacos.
Corn tortillas were tasty but nothing special texture-wise.
Meats were really delicious, though they didn’t cut the al pastor to order off the trompo - it was pre-cut and kept in a container on the side of the grill - and no flying pineapple slices.
That place has been there for a minute and it’s been really good. My favorite meats there are the buche and suadero basically psuedo confit’ed.
Pro tip get the burrito and you can get mixed meats. It used to be 5 bucks but I think they increased the price to 7 but basically its like the size of a tiny football. I always bang bang with tendon from Hannosuke.
There’s another stand catty corner on the southwest corner of Centinela and Venice, it’s set up in front of the O’Reilly auto parts store.
Pre-pandemic, I preferred this stand slightly over the one in front of Mitsuwa. Though I’d only go to them for their buche and tripas. The guy did a good job keeping the tripas crispy unlike many stands. He usually had servings sitting on the flattop instead of steaming in a container. When you ordered, he’d move some to the hotter part of the flattop to finish crisping up.
This stand also kept their al pastor in a container even though they had a trompo set up. They also have the pan holding the various meats. This type of pan is pretty standard in a lot of stands I’ve visited in LA area.
I also liked their salsas more, which included a chili oil version.
That entire corner pre-pandemic has multiple stands. On the venice blvd side in front of the Mitsuwa lot, a kebab style stand would set up periodically.
On the southeast side of the corner, a taco truck would be in front of Quiadalyn. That truck has been there the longest, for years. But they’re the least interesting one IMO.
And a little further east on Venice, just a block away, in front of the library, there’s another truck but I haven’t gone to that one in years.
The best options between all these in the area, IMO is the one in front of Mitsuwa and O’Reilly.
Interesting. This stretch is getting filled up. The Kaarage guy now has a bento vendor next to them. I don’t think the bento stand is offering thai tea, but they are doing grilled skewers. So a possible third asian stand? Wow! I haven’t tried the bento guys yet. The kaarage was still good on my last visit a couple of weeks ago.
Ahh, thanks. When I’m craving pastor, I usually head over to the Tacos Tamix truck on Venice and Sepulveda. Pre-pandemic, it was hands down the best pastor on the Westside. Currently, they’re still good, but not as good as before. Partially due to not having the volume they used to have. But just like the original in east LA, the marinade was on point, they knew how to cook it right and would slice fresh off the trompo with no flat top cheating. The salsa rojo was also really good, along with the condiment bar having roasted jalapenos and grilled onions.
When they first resumed after pandemic lockdowns, I noticed that if you came late or early, they would cheat with the flat top to warm up. The roasted jalapenos and onions are also not as common.
Another pastor place to try is a stand in the Ross parking lot on National and Sepulveda. These guys also don’t cheat using the flat top. Salsa rojo also solid, they also offer grilled jalapenos and onions. However I found them just a touch below Tamix when comparing both at the top of their game.
Have you tried the buche at the one in front of O’Reilly? I like to get the buche and tripas there. I like their salsa a touch more too and grilled jalapenos and onions are available. They also carry the chile oil salsa but you have to ask for it.
On that block, though, THIS will strongly compete for the “Best Total $5 Play” you can make. I give thee: The kansai vegetable gohan bowl with kakiage topping at Sanuki Sandou… #DoNotUnderestimateTheSomewhatHiddenMenuAtTheDarkHorse