By Ashley Soley-Cerro
“I never understood what all the Mexican-food hype was about until I moved to Los Angeles,” a good friend and native Floridian told me.
L.A. is a diverse place. With more than 10 million people, it has to be. But nearly 50 percent of Angelenos are Latino, which means we all have at least one thing in common. We freaking love Mexican food.
Something out-of-towners might not understand is that good Mexican food is not about being wined and dined. It’s about flavorful chorizo tacos that come with unlimited salsa, and a tripas burrito that’s about 95 percent meat, with rice and beans and all that other stuff that no one actually cares about on the side.
And because this is L.A., good Mexican food is on-the-go food, very often dished up out of one of the many taco trucks that roam the city from downtown to the San Fernando Valley.
Condé Nast Traveler just named L.A. one of the top food-truck cities in the world, so when you’re talking about the best taco trucks, you are talking about some world-class tacos.
The following is my list of the three best taco trucks in L.A.
Tacos La Fonda
Taco trucks reign supreme over Mexican-food restaurants because of freshness, meat selection, convenience and overall deliciousness.
Tacos La Fonda hits all these points out of the park.
First of all, they make their own tortillas. For only $1.50 you get a fresh taco so large it requires two hands, filled with your choice of meat.
These choices include al pastor, lengua, tripas, cabeza, chorizo, carne asada, carnitas and pollo. And the options don’t stop there. Outside the truck are several buckets – yes, full-on tubs – filled with various salsas, onions, limes and sour cream. At no extra cost, it’s all yours.
If you need to wash it down, horchata with free refills is available.
And if your taste buds aren’t convinced, let me appeal to your lazy side: You don’t even have to exit your car. Just pull up near the taco truck and a nice gentleman will take your order, gather all the condiments of your choosing and deliver it right to your window.
Address: Northwest corner of Vanowen Street and Vineland Avenue in North Hollywood, in the car-wash parking lot.
I consider Gus’s Lunchbox high-end taco-truck dining.
The selection of meats is not hugely impressive, but the quality is there.
Gus’s tacos are fine, but where they really shine are the mulitas, sopes, carnitas (or your meat of choice; that’s just my preference) fries and the California burrito (filling: meat of choice and french fries).
The french fries are always made fresh, and are never soggy. The mulitas is the cheesiest fried sandwich taco ever, and the sopes are only $2.50 and just one will fill you up.
I’m guessing most vegetarians knew better than to read this article. If not, or if you’re worried about your veggie-loving date glaring at you as you scarf down on that Cali burrito, this truck is one of few – or perhaps the only – that offers a large vegetarian menu.
Address: 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. daily at 2395 Glendale Blvd., L.A. (in the Silver Lake area), next door to the Cha Cha Lounge(!).
I hear both sighs and applause at my mention of Kogi.
Yes, Kogi is in no way traditional Mexican food.
But in my defense, this list is about the best taco trucks in L.A., and this is without a doubt one of them.
Imagine a Korean boy growing up in a mostly Latino neighborhood, a boy whose mother was famous for her kimchi. That kid, Roy Choi, birthed Kogi, a Korean/Mexican food fusion truck that perfectly illustrates L.A.’s diversity.
Kogi offers everything from Korean-barbecue short-rib tacos to kimchi quesadillas and burgers loaded with three meats and salsa.
Kogi is more expensive than the average taco truck, but 100 percent worth it.
Address: Varies. There are typically four different Kogi trucks that migrate around the L.A. area daily and offer the same food. Check the website for weekly location updates.
Ashley Soley-Cerro is a digital-media producer with KTLA in Los Angeles.