LA Weekly – Tacolandia 2016

The taco is the quintessential LA food. June 11th at the El Pueblo de Los Angeles, the festival of  all festivals aptly named “Tacolandia” was our destination.

Tacolandia - Taco Time

Since Union station is directly across from the venue, we hopped on the Metrolink and made the pilgrimage to the giant taco party. Thank you to LA Weekly for putting on this 4th annual event.

tacolandia - Burbank station

tacolandia - Union Staion piano
Passing through the beautiful Union Station and across the street, we couldn’t get there fast enough.

tacolandia - Union Station

tacolandia - line

The sun wasn’t shining in LA, but it was the perfect weather to eat the city’s signature Tacos. The line to get in circled around a city block, which made my husband nervous that we wouldn’t get our money’s worth. Let’s just say he was wrong. Once in the gate the tacos were plentiful and we were overwhelmed by the variety and scope of the vendors.

tacolandia - sign entrance

Where to start? I don’t know if there is a good strategy.You have to start somewhere, so just dive in. Eenie meenie miney mo, we picked this taco line because it was shorter. It turned out to be one of the best of the day, a lamb taco with tzatziki.

tacolandia - lamb taco guys

 

tacolandia - lamb taco

You can just tell the freshness of the flour tortilla the juciness of the lamb and the creaminess of the tzatziki sauce. Not traditional in the least, yet this first taco stuck in my mind for it’s unique flavor. These guys came all the way from Monterey, Mexico. Wish they were here in LA, BUT the next taco we tried was also a winner and is nearby in Toluca Lake of all places.

tacolandia - Toluca Lake taco

Not your typical taco once again, but it also is in our honorable mention category, wait actually one of our TOP favorites!.  Duck confit taco, with black bean purée, goat cheese, avocado salsa  pickled shallot, and demi glace. I think they even said it was on a chocolate tortilla. I know what you’re thinking but this is one of the tacos we couldn’t stop talking about.

tacolandia - duck confit taco

So excited to find out it comes from a restaurant called Cascabel the same people who own the popular “Sweet Salt” also in Toluca Lake.

tacolandia - Lolas green crack

How to pick the next booth is definitely the hard part. We started sending out a scout to get an up close peek before we’d get in line. The long lines didn’t always mean they were the best. Wait a minute, how can I even say “best” when it comes to this “pedazo de cielo”. The problem is our stomachs are only so big and there are 100 vendors, did I already say that? Pictured above is Lola’s Mexican Cuisine famous “Green Crack” salsa. This was a good one.

Another welcome tip is to listen to people around you. After this taco we listened to a woman tell us to go to the purple truck on the end of the lane. “No one is in line and the shrimp tacos are fabulous!” tacolandia - doschinos truck

 

tacolandia - shrimp tacos

We took a bite. Big smiles on our faces. Lightly crispy shrimp with a hint of sweetness. A taste so good and unique. Dos Chinos are also famous for their “Stoner Fries”

tacolandia - Doschinos sign

 

tacolandia - stoner fries

Then we read the description! What a creative combination. LOVED them.

tacolandia - Sculpin

What would have made the festival better is better beer. I wish there had been a Sculpin to drink. We did walk to Angel City Brewery after our taco feed, but that’s a story I’ll tell you at the end of the post.

tacolandia - cacoa mexicatessen

We had to “go veg” for one taco from Cacao Mexicatessen in Eagle Rock, one of our known favorites.

tacolandia - taco eating partners

My capable taco eating partners for the day.

tacolandia - Mole

Because you HAVE to have some mole. I could bathe in it.

tacolandia - mole taco

 

tacolandia - guerilla taco line

This was the long, long line for Guerilla Tacos so unfortunately I didn’t wait to get one. Note to self: go there another time! Even after eating mass amounts of tacos, I still want more.

tacolandia - police

tacolandia - paella tacos

THIS was a good taco. Paella Pastor A bit of pineapple and spice from Don Chente Bar and Grilletacolandia - paella taco close up

 

tacolandia - crowd

 

tacolandia - hermosa

tacolandia - Hermosa Pastor

This is one of my #1 tacos of the event. Tortillas made right in front of you and the most flavorful Tacos Al Pastor you’ll ever eat. Al’ Pastor Taqueria Vista Hermosa on Grand Avenue DTLA.

tacolandia - Al Pastor close up

tacolandia - Doger Taco

tacolandia - Vendors

Eyes open for our favorite Celito Lindo taquitos the orignal from Olvera Street. We spotted them. Rumor had it they were running out. Since Tacolandia isn’t ALL tacos we had to grab a crispy taquito covered in that famous green sauce.

tacolandia - Ceilito Lindo

We just made it. Only 3 taquitos left…perfect. Then I looked behind me at a couple with sad faces, so I gave my precious taquito away.

tacolandia - Happy Couple

 

tacolandia - Burrito

The token burrito. It was dripping with tender juciy beef birria.

tacolandia - pepper pig

tacolandia - alley

Take a break. The people watching was excellent and great live music being played on the stage in the square.

tacolandia - sombrerro

tacolandia - swag

{Swag}.

Before we left I checked my Instagram feed and found out that one of Evan Kleiman of KCRW Good Food fame shared her favorite taco.of  the day from Taco Maria. Since I trust her taste, it was a must. Oh my! It was fabulous.

tacolandia - taco maria

 

tacolandia - best in show

“Best in Show” for my last bite. The pickled cucumber made the bite along with the smoky salsa and the crispy tortilla. Wow!

tacolandia - tabasco

Naturally we weren’t quite done with our LA taco experience without a good local beer. Walking to Angel City Brewery in the Arts District seemed like the thing to do.

tacolandia - Eastside underpass

 

tacolandia - walk

 

tacolandia - Angel City Corner

 

tacolandia - Bowie

 

tacolandia - brewery

 

tacolandia - Vegan Club

 

tacolandia - Charlie Brown

 

tacolandia - Angel City Sign

 

tacolandia - Angel City Thugs

We love Angel City Brewery, but the line. Whoa, I’ve never seen this before.  We ended up walking some more to find another brew.

tacolandia - angel city line

 

tacolandia - angel city eyes

 

tacolandia - art district sidewalk

Ending up at Umami Burger, not for the food, but we got our Angel City draught with no line.

tacolandia - beer Umami

The bartender at Umami was so great. We gave him one of our “Tacolandia” souvenir shot glasses and sang the praises of our over the top taco feed.  Totally worth the price of admission. Until next year. We’ll be back for Tacolandia 2017.

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