Pimp Your Taco Night

Upgrade your personal fiesta by leaving the tricky stuff to the pros. These fixings put the fab in prefab


  1. Burritos La Palma
    Handmade flour tortillas are scarce around these parts. One bite of the fluffy wheat wrappers is worth the trek. 5120 N. Peck Rd., El Monte.
  1. La Princesita Tortilleria
    The flavorful corn disks served at spots like Guerrilla Tacos and Carnitas El Momo are machine cut and reheat like a dream. 2514 E. Cesar E. Chavez Ave., Boyle Heights.
  1. La Zandunga Meat Market
    Manhole-size Oaxacan tlayudas are made for stacking beans, cheese, and grilled meats—like a Mexican pizza. Not quite Taco Night, but it may be better. » 11933 Santa Monica Blvd., West L.A.


  1. Carnitas El Momo
    Arrive early for confit pork parts by the pound. This is pig at its peak; all that’s left to do is toss on a few pickled jalapeños. » 2411 Fairmount St., Boyle Heights.
  1. Cemitero Poblano
    It’s stews galore at this tiny fonda. Take home some pipian rojo, a spicy pumpkin seed mole. There’s rice, too, for soaking up juices. » 510 S. Lorena St., Boyle Heights.
  1. Tacos Tamix
    For a taste of late-night Mexico City, ask the man at the spit to pack up an alambre—a stir-fry plate of al pastor, cheese, peppers, onions, and bacon. » W. Pico Blvd. and S. Tremaine Ave., Mid City.



Can’t muster the strength (or the chopping talent) to make your own? The artisans behind your meaty fillings should have salsas to go—downtown’s Chichén Itzá
carries a few habanero sauces for heat seekers—or hit up any of the better Latino
markets near you.

Sorry, no shortcuts here. All the store-bought stuff is icky or at least will be by dinnertime. Check out this recipe from Walter Manzke of Petty Cash—because the only real option is to make it yourself.

Black Olives, Sour Cream, Cheddar
Are you kidding? Save these for your famous seven-layer dip.


This article appears in Los Angeles magazine’s June 2015 cover story, “Taco City.”