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Speaking of Boyle Heights . . .

February 21, 2009

This is a review I wrote on, but I didn’t want to go “live” with my blog when it only had one post, so I borrowed this.

I was working at an art gallery in Culver City a few months ago and my boss (Chicano, East LA native) would bring in tamales for us about once a week. He’d never say were they were from (“just this place over in East LA . . .”) but they were the best goddamn tamales I had ever had. Heavenly, flavorful masa (not too dense), meat that was tender without being overly stringy and a good dose of wonderful chili-based sauce stuff. Talk about the Breakfast of Champions. I could eat one or two in the morning and be fine for the rest of the day. 

I eventually found that these little parchment and corn husk-wrapped pieces of heaven were from La Mascota Bakery and after looking at the yelp reviews, I knew I had to visit. The pastries I’ve had there are fantastic–the guava and cream cheese one is my personal favorite. The pastry is the kind that shatters all the way through, like the best French croissants. And you can’t beat the taste sensation that occurs when guava and cream cheese collide.

The last time I went was in the evening and I tried a taco from the stand out on the sidewalk. I had a carne asada taco (having just stuffed myself with Mexican pastry, I couldn’t do more than one) and it was probably two of the best bites of food I’ve had in my life. Smoky, savory meat–straight of the grill (charcoal, thank you very much) and freshly shredded by a sizeable cleaver–pilled on a tortilla that started as a fistful of masa pulled from a cooler the second I placed my order. I haven’t been living in the LA area for very long, so you can take my opinion on these tacos with that in mind if you’d like, but I tried El Taco Loco #3 down here in Long Beach–which was touted by the LAT not too long back–and their tacos didn’t even began to approach the perfection of this slick little sidewalk operation. Every time I get on the 710 I’m tempted to jet up to Boyle Heights and eat tacos on the sidewalk until I die.


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