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case by a propane tank. These tacos made gluttony seem like a virtue rather than one of the seven deadlies! Second, the best tacos al pastor I've ever had were only - and get this - one dollar a piece! No one making tacos at this level sells their product for anywhere near Tacos Leo's rock bottom price point. There are countless tacos al pastor out there that don't compare and that cost more! I would have glady paid three times as much as I did to experience Tacos Leo's al pastor. Third, the employees at Tacos Leo were so down to earth, friendly, and accomodating. Fourth, the atmosphere at Tacos Leo was quite convivial and the clientele was diverse - a fascinating cross section of Angelenos. Few things in life can bring people together like Tacos Leo's al pastor did.
Last night, "E" and I drove out to Mid-City early in the evening. We arrived at Tacos Leo about twenty minutes prior to the start of the main event. "E" and I paid for our meal and we patiently waited nearby the taco truck. We talked with some of the folks there and I passed some of the time observing the look on diners' faces. On every face, there was a mix of elation, desire, apprehension, lust, hunger, and addiction. There was a kind of violence underlying these emotions that was strikingly apparent.
I sneaked over to where the trompo was hidden before it was rolled out for service. Behold, La Gloria:
What I ate:
I got the first tacos of the night! Check out the orange and black ring of marinade and char on each slice! Reminds me of char siu!
Quatro Tacos al Pastor (1 USD each): Tacos made with meat shaved from a marinated pork leg roasting on a vertical spit (trompo) and garnished with pineapple. These were truly the best tacos al pastor I've ever had. The meat had an incredible depth of flavor, which must be attributed to the preparation (marinade) and method of cooking. What a beautiful char from roasting on the trompo! A slice of pineapple added a pleasing astringency and sweetness to round out each package.
You have to see how the taquero deftly slices and lands the pineapple onto each taco. He affixed a cleaned pineapple to the top of the trompo, swiped at it with his knife, and caught each slice. Bravo! What skill!
Alongside the truck was a condiments bar with salsas and garnishes. I perfected my tacos with the easy addition of chopped onion and cilantro.
"E"s Jarritos soda pop cost more than the tacos at 1.50 USD a bottle! Crazy!
Parking: The closer you park to the food truck the worse it gets. At the epicenter (the gas station) it's disorganized and it's very likely that even if you find a spot, your car will end up getting blocked in by others, making it impossible to leave. The best thing to do might be to park a block or two away on one of the side streets that lead into the residential areas of the neighborhood and walk the short distance to the food truck.
The Bill: 4 USD. Yeah, that's right, 4 USD! One dollar per taco! Insane!
My Rating: out of four stars (outstanding on every level). Open Sunday to Thursday, 5:30 PM to 3 AM, and on Friday and Saturday, 5:30 PM to 4 AM. Note: The al pastor usually isn't ready until about 7-ish. CASH ONLY.
Last Word: Tacos Leo. The best al pastor I've ever had and one of the best food truck experiences I've ever had.
Tonight, I returned to Tacos Leo. The al pastor beckoned me.
I might have made a mistake by coming too early. It was before 6:30 PM and the trompo was still secreted away. I asked the guy there if the al pastor was ready and he answered in the affirmative. I ordered a Burrito al Pastor (4.50 USD) and one Taco al Pastor (1 USD). The taco contained meat straight up from the trompo, though in smallish shavings. Hmm ... What caused me real dismay, however, was the meat in the burrito. I didn't think it was from the prime source: it looked different. That said, the burrito still was one of the best that I've had:
In the future, I'll only order food when the trompo is wheeled out in full view. The al pastor straight from the spit is worth the wait.
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