Essential T: Steak Tacos in Pasilla Chile at the New La Quesadilla Loca

Huntington Park has it good.

The very best Mexican foods start with the letter T—tacos, tortas, tlayudas. Here we showcase the tastiest “T” bites from the streets of L.A.

With our memories of Breed Street fading fast, it’s time to focus on the next best street food gathering in Los Angeles—the Mercado Olympic. There, La Quesadilla Loca is rising up as a star worth watching. This family hails from Michoacan—you’ll know it’s them when you see the rows of huge pots of colorful guisados simmering slowly, bouquets of fresh and dry chiles bubbling along.

La Quesadilla Loca opened a brick and mortar location a few weeks ago in a Huntington Park strip mall. It’s not exactly a smooth operation, but the owner’s wife perfected these recipes long ago. Her bistec en chile pasilla, or steak in pasilla chile sauce, is something to see.

Chile pasilla is the dried version of a chilaca—it’s used in moles, and is a blend of flavors: smoked fruit, herbs, and black licorice all add a note. It’s a wonderful base for a sauce, and isn’t very common in these parts.

La Quesadilla Loca is known for their quesadillas, but you can get any of their stews and braises in a handmade taco. The steak is supple and infused with the powerful aromatics from their mild chile pasilla. And if sitting in a chair is too civilized for you, you can still catch them at the Mercado Olympic on the weekends. Quesadilla Loca, 6081 State St., Huntington Park, 323-581-0155