Essential T: Vampiros at Adobo Grill

L.A.’s Mexican food game is so strong that even the ‘burbs have great tacos

There’s been a huge gap to fill in our late night taco runs ever since Tacos Guanajuato mysteriously vanished after their quick rise to L.A. street vendor fame back in 2010. Their vampiros (vampires), as they’re known as in Sinaloa, or volcanes (volcanoes), as they are called in and around San Luis Potosi, were some of the best tacos L.A. has ever had. Vampiros are a style of taco in which the tortilla is toasted on the comal until firm (no, it’s not a tostada) and then topped with melted cheese, carne asada—or other meats, pico de gallo and finished with a salsa of your choosing. There are plenty of Sinaloan taco trucks and taquerias in L.A. that do vampiros but none have inspired us quite like Tacos Guanajuato. That is, until we found the delicious vampiros at Adobo Grill, located in a model post-WWII community.

Adobo Grill opened back in the Fall of 2014, but has already become a huge hit with locals. It is certainly a model taqueria for Lakewood, with a clean design and excellent customer service fit for a suburban crowd that had never tried a vampire before. There’s even a crock-pot filled with frijoles de la olla (whole beans) on the house—grab a cupful, season with onions and cilantro and you’ve got yourself a classic taqueria amuse bouche. The chalkboard menu has a list of typical Mexican-American fillings—carne asada (cooked on a flat top), al pastor, chorizo, and carnitas for tacos and quesadillas, but the vampiros are the way to go.

All of the tacos are made with handmade tortillas, which are toasted and topped with melted cheese, steak, and a trigger-happy squirt or three of Mexican cream. But I don’t mind the heavy-handed crema job—a finish of chopped onion, cilantro, and salsa covers it up just fine. So, if you’re tiring of all that gentrification talk, just head out to the ‘burbs: They have great tacos, too.

Adobo Grill, 5695 Woodruff Ave., Lakewood, (562) 866-0608