|Confit is the ultimate comfort food, and trendy or not, it is dazzling stuff.||Home | Featured | The Restaurants | About ||
|« FEB 16: Zephyr Cafe||FEB 18: In the Dog Haus Again »|
my mirror and my whole frame groaned. I didn't lose the mirror, however: I eventually worked my way out. Car Trouble #2: Double and I were driving away from the Staples Center after Wednesday's Clippers-Wizards game, when of all people, a Korean ah-jum-ma in her pristine white automobile totally ignored us barreling down the street and tried to put a permanent hurt on us! $#!+ Thank God, there weren't any cars around that I could crash into as I swerved out of the way. Sheesh, those Korean ah-jum-mas! Something must be done about them!
I'm really not concerned with the hazards of driving in L.A. here. What I am concerned with is the meal I shared with Double at Mexicali Taco & Co.
Have you heard about this place yet? Mexicali Taco & Co. was originally an outdoor cart located in a parking lot at 1st and Beaudry in Downtown L.A. It attracted an immense following and enjoyed enormous popular acclaim for its carne asada and Northern Baja-style food. Javier and Esdras - the original proprietors of Mexicali Taco & Co. - even won Taco Madness 2011 for the title of "King of L.A. Taco-dom".*
Now the cart has metamorphosed into a brick & mortar establishment on the north end of Figueroa in Downtown L.A. where it enters the 110 Freeway. Double and I just happened to drop by on opening night (February 15):
The new restaurant is simply decorated. Seating consists of red picnic tables and benches of varying lengths. There is a condiment bar with various salsas, sliced onion, shredded cabbage, sliced radishes, and lime wedges.
The kitchen is equipped with both a flattop grill and an open fire grill to cook meats on. Double and I could see Javier and Esdras busy working alongside the other taqueros.
What I ate:
1. Mexicali Taco (2.25 USD): Northern Baja-style, authentic harina or maiz tortilla stuffed with choice of meat (carne asada, pollo, chorizo, vegetarian). I got the Mexicali Taco with carne asada, of course. The carne asada had a remarkable depth of flavor yet the taco failed to impress altogether. One reason was that my taco was actually on the cold side >:(
2. Vampiro (3.75 USD): Crispy, golden "quesadilla" filled with choice of meat (carne asada, pollo, chorizo, vegetarian) and infused with special garlic sauce. (I like how Napoleon Dynamite's grandmom pronounces "quesadilla" - "quesa-dil-uh".) I asked the new owner (read more below) for a meat recommendation; as a result, I got a Pollo Vampiro. I liked the vampiro much more than the taco. The chicken had a saporous charred flavor from cooking over an open flame and the gooey cheese and garlic sauce tied everything together wonderfully.
3. Cebada (2.50 USD for medium [16 oz.] and 3 USD for large [20 oz.]): Barley agua fresca. I love agua frescas and so I had to try one of the three flavors offered that evening: cebada, horchata, and a grapefruit-melon concoction, I think. The Cebada definitely tasted of barley. It was light, sweet, and refreshing. It had cinnamon in it, too. Basically, you could say it was a horchata made from barley. I liked it.
Double ordered the same items I ordered and he remarked that it wasn't as good as the food from the cart. I could tell he was just as let down as I was.
Double and I committed a rookie mistake: we forgot to request grilled cebollitas. I hope you don't forget!
It looks like Javier and Esdras have picked up a new partner of Asian descent. I'm guessing the new guy provided the capital to open up the new joint. Also, I saw that he added a couple of maneki neko that I can't imagine being present at the original cart!
It's important to remember that it's CASH ONLY at this restaurant. There really aren't any ATM machines nearby. (Me: Do you have an ATM? Cashier: It's at the CVS. Me: And where's that? Cashier: I dunno.) Double and I had to drive all the way over to the B of A on Broadway in Chinatown; consequently, we lost a really good parking space.
Parking: The parking lot is tiny. I don't recommend parking in it because I got blocked in by some ------- and I came close to losing my passenger side mirror as I backed out into oncoming traffic on Figueroa. There is parking alongside Figueroa and the surrounding streets, but it's really difficult to find a spot. Parking is REALLY BAD here.
The Bill: 9.24 USD.
My Rating: out of four stars (good to very good). Maybe it was due to reopening after a hiatus but the food wasn't killer tonight. The hours are unconfirmed. Open for lunch and dinner. Open until 10 PM on weekdays and midnight on weekends. CASH ONLY. www.mexicalitaco.com
Last Word: Double and I will have to return before we can make a final judgment on the latest iteration of Mexicali Taco & Co.
* Nguyen, Tien. "Mexicali Crowned Taco Madness 2011 King: Probably Scored More Than Butler". LA Weekly. LA Weekly LP. 11 Apr. 2011. Web. 16 Feb. 2012.
blog comments powered by Disqus
|Gabriel Woo||Navigation||RSS Feed||Previously Featured|
|Editor and Publisher|
|Home||GabrielWooDotCom||February 2011 - Present|
|© 2010 - 2012 Gabriel Woo. All rights reserved.||Featured||October 2010 - February 2011|
|The Restaurants||Social Media||July - October 2010|
|About||May - July 2010|
|Urbanspoon||April - May 2010|
|Flickr||February - April 2010|