In Los Angeles there is an abundance of A) actors, B) small dogs, and C) taco trucks. I live with two of these things, and right next door from the third.
Despite my proximity to Angelicas Cemitas Originales, and the fact that I've lived in my apartment for well over a year, I had yet to venture down the sun-soaked sidewalk to cerulean blue truck with flashing lights. Its place on Venice Avenue has remained semi-permanent, and each time I drive by there are a cluster of Mexican-food enthusiasts craning their necks up to the window and drinking Fanta. I'm a native Virginian and up until moving to LA, my knowledge of Mexican food has consisted of hungover crunchwrap supremes and fishbowl margaritas from Doña Rosa in Harrisonburg. Eating tacos is a necessary part of my education as a West Coast transplant.
Here's what I've gathered: Los Angeles is a cluster of culturally-diverse neighborhoods coming together to throw a block party with a weather at Twilight Zone-level of perfection. And while each neighborhood has a distinct vibe, there are some similarities. They've all got their watering holes, coffee shops bursting with screenwriters and start-uppers, 7/11s, Yum-Yum donuts, and food trucks. And while this cemitas truck may not be the pop culture icon of Kogi Beef or Konestruction, it has character, and some pretty badass street tacos.
Street tacos are not like the average taco. The meat is bountiful, falling out of the corn tortilla as if you were to cram a bunch of puppies in a sleeping bag. Rather than one tortilla, you get two, and the combined softness of corn on corn creates the perfect foundation for a mixture of Mexican flavor.
The menu is large and intimidating. I turned to the regulars, missionaries named Elder Luna and Elder Williamson, and the young girl working the cash register, asked for recommendations, and ordered lengua and a fried carne asada street taco. Let's talk about beef tongue. The lengua. It's sweet, and slightly squishy, with sugary fat that likes to explode upon each bite. I could see the taste buds, which I liked, because it provided a connection to the meat as an actual thing. This was no mystery meat; this was tongue. The fried carne asada was like if potato chips and steak had a baby. It possessed a sweet tang, and when folded with cilantro and sweet sautéed onions, created a delicious pocket of corn and and spice and meat and earth.
They also had cemitas, which I found more culturally-fascinating than appetizing (we all have our preferences, folks). Cemitas are tortas that originated in Puebla, Mexico, and can refer to either the actual bread or the entire sandwich. It's fairly popular among Mexican food stands, and has also found it's way to culturally-diverse cities, such as New York and Los Angeles. Beef Milanesa is the most recognized type of meat when it comes to cemitas, and that's probably because it's thinly pounded deep-fried beef.
I'm a sucker for dried and salty meat (say this with a sexy voice and hilarity ensues), so next up is the cemitas de cecina. They also had cemitas de queso de puerco, which is PICKLED PORK HEAD CHEESE. (!!!) Also, almost everything is $5 and under. No more late night trips to Jack-In-The-Box for this girl.
On another, non-reporting on tacos note, my cousin Adam is walking from Chicago to Harrisburg, PA this summer in order to raise awareness for Mitochondrial Myopathy. His older brother/my cousin, Andy was diagnosed with this disease when he was in highschool, and is currently leading a beautiful life with an awesome lady and crazy-smart son. You can learn more about Adam's adventure here! He just reached his goal of $10,000 (money goes to United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation), and will start the walk June 15th.
- Stay cozy!