How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

A month of daily dispatches from Tacolandia

Photo by Steve Rotman/Flickr/(Creative Commons)

The taco truck as mural art, April 2006

Thirty taco trucks in thirty days? Bring it on.

Blogger Bandini of LA Taco, the blog dedicated to celebrating what its website terms "the taco lifestyle," has spent the month of September posting daily reviews of taco trucks - actual taco trucks that serve tacos, not dessert, Korean barbecue-inspired fusion tacos, Kosher-inspired fusion tacos or, most recently, bacon. Not that there is absolutely anything wrong with any of the above offerings, but anyone who has missed the days when taco trucks served, well, tacos will find plenty to relish through the end of the month in the blog's Great Taco Hunt, billed as "30 taco trucks in 30 days."

The reviews take in trucks that serve standards like al pastor and carne asada tacos, making careful note of the salsa offerings and even the soft drinks (usually something colorful and sugary from Jarritos). Bandini is eating his way around Los Angeles County from Lennox to Panorama City, most recently stopping at Tacos "El Yu," parked in the lot of an out-of-service gas station off the 10 Freeway at Normandie Avenue.

From the "El Yu" review:

The carne asada is soft and buttery with light a sheen of grease that soaks into the tortillas. The salsa, an orangeish chile arbol blend nips at the tongue. A shot of lime works wonders to bring out all the flavors. The avocado salsa, a less spicy counterpoint to the salty pork provides a little variety.

I especially enjoyed this little touch about the ambience: "It was real dark on the lot once you got away from the truck." Ha.

Dark parking lots aside, the reviews take me back to the days when, as a college student working a temp job one summer at an office in an Eastside industrial park, I'd look forward to the daily arrival of a taco truck that made these incredible chorizo and egg burritos, with the chewy flour tortillas soaking in flavorful orange chorizo grease. One can't eat like that every day - I couldn't manage more than one of those burritos a week, even back then - but I'm enjoying LA Taco's daily dispatches from the field.

(And as aside, fans of the taco lifestyle - and other mobile-food lifestyles - may soon see letter grades on food trucks: Tomorrow, the county Board of Supervisors is to decide on whether to expand its restaurant rating system to mobile food vendors.)

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