Essential T: Guisados Are the Star Attraction at Zamora Bros.

They might be known for carnitas, but you want to make a bee line for the steam table of delicious Mexican stews

Thanks to about a half dozen serious practitioners of nose-to-tail Mexican confit-style pork, L.A. is fast becoming a major carnitas center in the U.S. And before all these expert vendors came into view, the Eastside had always gotten their porcine fix from Boyle Heights institutions like Los Cinco Puntos and Zamora Bros., which has been serving the community for 45 years.

Besides dishing out carnitas, the shop started by Chato Zamora also sells cheese, homemade chorizos and other stuffed sausages, and their own tortillas. They don’t make the best carnitas in town, but their pig brain tacos dorados are fantastic fried snacks and this friendly neighborhood shop has stood the test of time. Perhaps nostalgia and the fatty scent of fried pork parts led me to stick around and browse the store. Fine—might as well try the guisados!

On the left side of the long display case that runs the length of the shop are steam trays filled with typical Mexican stews: chicharron, tongue in salsa, rellena (blood sausage), pork ribs in red or green salsas, bistec ranchero, among others. While it’s not a tacos de guisado specialist, you can get all of the stews in a taco, and with a generous pour that fills the tortilla like the Aztec gods intended. Big flavors came with the 3-4 guisados I sampled over a couple of visits, and I even asked them to lay a bed of Mexican rice on the corn tortilla to capture the juices of my stew; a standard issue in Mexico City.

Guisados are not the first things that come to mind when stopping by Zamora Bros., but they certainly are the star attraction at this old school carnitas shop.

Zamora Bros., 1503 E. Cesar E Chavez Ave., Boyle Heights, 323-227-6944