Mexican

Walking into Sancho’s Tacos, I was enveloped by their Mexican style and interior design. From the unique art on the walls and the various paintings, you can’t help but feel the culture of the beach and Mexico. We ordered our food, went to the beach and had ourselves a little beach front picnic. The views were good and the food was tasty. This was definitely different from the LA tacos and burritos I am used to.

The Breakfast burrito, also known as the sawed off burrito, had eggs, skillet potatoes, and melted cheddar jack cheese. Bacon and chorizo eggs were in the mix as well. The burrito was tasty. The chorizo helped flavor the while burrito nicely. The skillet potatoes was a nice starch to round out the burrito. Of course, melted cheese is always welcome, and there was plenty.

The taco for me was a miss. The OG taco which has tri tip, onions, cilantro tri tip and chubbie sauce. The tri tip was good as a steak, but not as taco meat. Not to say that it was too high quality or anything dumb like that. It just tasted too clean and flavorless. The tortilla was stale and brittle. This chubbie sauce that everyone talks about was alright, but a proper hot sauce is always a necessity on tacos. Writing this just makes we want to go to my taco guy and devouring a couple proper tacos.

When it comes to Mexican food, I am very particular and quite harsh. Maybe I just don’t have the OC tongue, but I trust my taste buds. The textures and flavors just didn’t do it for me. The burrito was alright, but the taco, their namesake, was just not where it needed to be. It’s possible I just went on a bad day or I was just unlucky. I will definitely give this another try when I am in Huntington Beach. Hopefully, I won’t need to bring my taco guy to HB.

Sancho's Tacos on Urbanspoon

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El Taurino – LA’s Favorite Taco

by Franklin on April 20, 2014

El Taurino, King Taco’s father, if you will is an LA hot spot — figuratively and literally. Not to say that El Taurinio is my favorite taco spot, but it holds a very special place in every Angelino’s heart. I try to think back and think when I had my first taco. God help me if my first taco was from Taco Bell. Unfortunately probable, I can blame my parents for that. I still remember having my first cinnamon twists from the late Taco Bell on Vermont and 4th location (one of many casualties from the LA Riots). Honestly though, I try to think of my first legit taco in life, and I can’t think of any other place it would come from, other than King Taco.


If not for the hot sauce (roja and verde), El Taurino and family would be quite basic. The carne asada and lengua is quite nice — salty enough to be good on its own with a nice chewy texture. The tortilla is nice as well along with the onions and cilantro. All this blank slate needs is either the red or the green. In my younger years, I would use almost a whole cup per taco. Today, I can barely handle it, and I find myself leaning towards the much milder green sauce. Both are equally delicious, and none is better than the other.


I’ve grown to like their tamales as well. I think it was a while ago when they had the dozen tamales for 12 bucks (something like that). That would last me for days, but I always remember eating these. The masa is always moist and the inside filling is fresh and tasty. Of course, these too taste amazing with the red and green sauce.


El Taurino is a popular drunchies spot. Open late, KTOWNers and Angelinos alike join together to enjoy some tacos. As a matter of fact, tacos in general seem to be good while a little tipsy. Whether its your local taco truck or tacos on the corner, the almighty taco is king. El Taurino though, for me and for many Angelinos, is the In-n-Out of tacos. It’s not necessarily the best tacos in the world, but in a way it is.

El Taurino on Urbanspoon

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Guisados – Tortillas Make and Break it

by Franklin on October 7, 2013

There comes a time when your regular taco from the corner won’t do it. Just some regular asada with hot sauce and chopped onion and cilantro, all on a heated tortilla? Actually, that sounds pretty all right — but Guisados does something different. All of their ingredients are simmered and

With hortchata and jamaica in hand, we found a seat. As I patiently wait for our tacos, I notice the horchata isn’t just made from some boxed up syrup. It tasted like horchata, not sugary milk water. The very cinnamony, and quite refreshing taste of rice and nuts really shined through in this drink. The jamaica was good too, with a nice sweet and slightly tart taste. They were perfect as I await for my tacos.

Guisados are coveted as some of the best tacos in Los Angeles. I even received threatening emails saying Guisados is better than King Taco, saying “How can you say King Taco is the best? Have you even tried Guisados?” Thinking it was kind of weird, I didn’t really jump the gun on Guisados. It was more of a “I will go when I go” kind of thing. Honestly, the tacos were overrated. Not to say, the ingredients were the lesser or tasted worse. The ingredients were actually pretty good. It was the tortilla that killed it. Touted as having freshly made tortillas, I felt it hurt the operation. The sampler tacos were basically discs of under-cooked masa. Was this a tortilla, or a non-fried sope? The tortilla was quite thick, and folding it to eat the taco was impossible; it would break in half. I mean, just looking at the picture, you can see how thick this thing was. This was a disaster.

As far as the flavors, it was all great. The steak picado, bisteak en salsa roja, tinga (Tinga is made with shredded chicken and onions simmered in a thick chipotle sauce), mole poblano, cochinita pibil (slow roasted pork). All were great on their own. Only if the tortilla was on point, everything would have been superb.

The small hole in the wall, now a franchise has a good thing going, if done right. A little extra care in the tortilla making process would go a long way. My review was a bit harsh, but it was the truth. Fix the tortillas, and we got something special now.

Guisados on Urbanspoon

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I always pass by Border Grill on Figueroa on a daily basis. Right across from the Bonaventure Hotel, where Bona Vista Lounge and L.A. Prime is, this corner of Figueroa and 5th street always reminds me of these restaurants. Border Grill though, was always a “must” whenever I passed by, and I can’t tell you how many times I thought of just stopping right in front, sitting down, and ordering something. All I needed was that push from Border Grill to make an appointment.

To start off, we had chips and salsa. The chips light and airy, and the salsa was fresh. My favorite was the mole salsa. It had a nice complex rich flavor.

The Yucatan pork was interestingly delicious. The achiote pork was slow roasted in banana leaf with a mixture of caramelized onion and orange. Sitting on a plate of cinnamon honey lime yams, the sweet and savory factor worked. The pork was succulent and the yams were smooth. The caramelized brussel sprouts were a bit odd on this plate. I felt like another green would have suited this dish better. I did like the pineapple jicama salsa on top for that added crunch. Eating these with tortillas made me really full. A side of rice would have been lighter and would have complimented the dish nicely.

It was happy hour, and the beer-battered sustainable fish tacos were quite impressive. Topped with an avocado crema and salsa fresca, the fried fish was offset by the cool avocado and salsa. The other taco, carne asada was good too. Topped with caramelized onions, salsa fresca, and guacamole, it was like the perfect taco. The beef brisket tacquito was delicious as well. The meat was slow roasted, then the tortilla was fried. Topped with a spicy slaw, guacamole, and salsa fresca, the crunchy fried “taco” was a whole lot better than the ones I get at 7-11. It seems like anything topped with their addicting guacamole was delicious. These tacos were quite impressive, and at $3 a pop during happy hour, it was a great deal!

For desser, we had the churro tots. Just by the name churro tots, I had an idea of what these were going to be. I was surprised to find out that these bad boys had dulce de leche infused inside of them. Not only that, but the three dipping sauces of chocolate, caramel dipping sauce, and whipped cream was an added bonus. Not only did these things have dulce de leche inside, and not only did it have a dipping sauce, it also was dusted with cinnamon and sugar, like a churro should. These sugary fritters were incredibly sweet, and a great ending to our meal.

“Should I have just went with the happy hour menu?”, is what I thought to myself. In hind sight, I think I should have. I enjoyed the tacos and the bar food type items. They were cheaper, more delicious, and had guacamole on it. How could I not like that? Honestly, Border Grill is better as a bar. Especially located in Downtown, there were a lot of working professionals gathering here for drinks and good Mexican food. The price is right and the atmosphere is perfectly casual and stylish. I wouldn’t mind coming here more often after work to grab a beer and some tacos. Just don’t forget the guac!

Border Grill on Urbanspoon

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Historically, Olvera Street is in the oldest part of Downtown Los Angeles. Founded by Spanish settlers, Olvera Street was part of the early stages of the development of Los Angeles. Ironically, Olvera Street is located in Chinatown. We are talking pre Mexican American War and Gold Rush days. That is a lot of history that belongs to this little street. With the Latino centered community came a great number of restaurants. One restaurant I visited while checking out Olvera Street was La Golondrina Mexicana Cafe. Built around 1857, La Golondrina is the oldest firebrick building in Los Angeles! Originally intended as a house, in 1930, it became the first Mexican restaurant in Los Angels and possibly America. With this much history, I was excited to give it a try.

The chips and salsa were plenty. They kept adding more and more as we devoured the chips. In hind sight, we probably shouldn’t have eaten so many chips because we were so full before our entrees came out. They weren’t the best chips or the freshest salsa, but they were addicting. If you want the good stuff, order their freshly made guacamole — it was as simple and authentic as you can get it. I realized that my guacamole has too much lime juice in it. All in all though, it wasn’t a bad start.

I was really disappointed at the chicken flautas. I once ordered chicken flautas at a random Mexican restaurant and thought those were really authentic. It had a crispy exterior with good chunks of chicken inside. The flautas at La Golondrina really upset me. I was expecting the real deal, and why wouldn’t I? Literally, the flautas looked and tasted like the taquitos from 7-11. They came out all fanicly cut in half, but they easily could have been from Costco. The exterior wasn’t crunchy, nor was it even corn tortilla. It was just a doughy exterior with some kind of seasoned chicken filling. Sorry to say, but these were not flautas.

I did enjoy the chicken enchilada de mole. There were two chicken enchiladas drenched in a pool of mole. The mole was sweeter than most, but the flavors were rich and complex. At first bite, it was hot and burned my tongue. As the mole cooled off, the flavors were quiet nice. The side of rice helped neutralize the flavors. If the mole was less sweet and more earthy, it would have been a perfect sauce. Nonetheless, La Golondrina is known for their mole and is a good dish to try. If you are a fan of mole, you must order a dish with it.

It was a fun experience. Sitting outside in the middle of Olvera Street and in the oldest building in Los Angeles, it was a great historical outing. What can be better than hanging out with friends and family, drinking margaritas and sangria, and eating great Mexican food? Nothing. The experience was wonderful. Even the singers came around our table and serenaded us with his guitar. The experience was as authentic as can be and we owe it all to the historical genuineness of it all. With history and old buildings also come myths and stories. I was told during my dinner conversation that the building is supposedly haunted. I am sure it is all a myth, but there have been sightings of a lady in white on the second floor window. It did used to be a house, and the old bedrooms are now offices. There has to be some kind of creepy factor when you are talking about the oldest building in Los Angeles. Creeped out only slightly, I was still glad it was daylight out. Sunset hit, and we all went home.

La Golondrina Mexican Cafe on Urbanspoon

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