Essential T: Tlayudas at the Juquila Taco Truck

For real Mexican pizza, go west

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.

No, you don’t really have to go west of the -118 degree longitude line—aka the 405—if you want some legit street food. Solid Oaxacan options exist within striking distance of Brentwood, the Palisades, and Santa Monica.

In fact, West Los Angeles is one of L.A.’s Oaxacalifornia strongholds. For the sake of comparison, try to find a chile de agua (Oaxacan chile relleno), memela (masa cake), or a tlayuda (often called a Mexican pizza) on Cesar Chavez, or Whittier Boulevard. It’s not going to happen.

Juquila has been on Santa Monica Boulevard for as long as I can remember, serving up solid Oaxacan food to Oaxacan line cooks from nearby international restaurant kitchens, and non-Latinos alike. A few years back, they added a Juquila truck about three blocks west to keep the mole flowing after regular restaurant hours. Find it in front of the Goodwill on Santa Monica Boulevard, near Stoner Avenue.

The tacos here are nothing special, but the tlayudas—large, thin and crispy imported tortillas smeared with lard, refried black beans, string cheese, lettuce, avocado slices, salsa, and provincial meats—are serious, and a much bolder request. One tlayuda is plenty for date night; the mixta comes with piquant tasajo (salted beef), tender cecina enchilada (chili rubbed pork), or golf ball sized Oaxacan pork chorizos.

Tlayuda mixta = $10. Mexican coke = $1.50. Oaxacan street food on the hood of your Lexus LS 460 sedan? Priceless. 

Juquila Taco TruckSanta Monica Blvd & Stoner (in front of Goodwill), West Los Angeles, CA 90025