The great jazz trumpeter and educator Clark Terry said that learning jazz could be summed up in three words: imitation, integration, innovation—the later is reserved for names like Miles, Bird, Sonny, ‘Trane, and Monk. The same goes for tacos—since the 80’s, there had been no new developments until around 2005 when Tijuana’s Tacos Salceados introduced us to their quesataco and emulsified salsas, and a few years later, chef Oso Campos of Tijuana based Tacos Kokopelli created the first chef-driven taco stand in Mexico featuring creative grilled tacos and salsas at a tiki-themed trailer.
On Saturday, October 4th we honor these taco titans with National Taco Day, a celebration of all things swaddled in a fresh tortilla. Of course, L.A.—the taco capitol of the U.S.—has it’s own share of taco innovators, such as Roy Choi, Ricardo Diaz, and Carlos Salgado. But one of the most prominent, currently, is Pico Rivera-native Wes Avila and his Guerrilla Tacos truck, which is stirring up the taco universe with his original brand of tacos de guisado that are uniquely L.A.
A few days ago at Guerrilla Tacos, I ordered an octopus huevos ranchero, Avila’s popular celery root taco with pomegranate salsa, and a chorizo and mushroom taco. On another visit Avila served a basturma taco, lending a little Armenian flavor inspired from his current neighborhood, Glendale. Even though many items come and go (Avila estimated he has created around 100 taco recipes) I can always count on a perfectly fried egg on top, bright salsas, and flavors that are seasonal, global, and pocho (Mexican-American). Guerrilla Tacos is a game changing taco vendor, an innovator and an excellent choice for National Taco Day.
Guerrilla Tacos at Blacktop Coffee, 826 E. 3rd St., Downtown
Thurs. and Fri., 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Sat. and Sun. 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Guerrilla Tacos at Cognoscenti Coffee, 6114 Washington Blvd., Culver City
Wed., 10 a.m.-2 p.m.