Thursday, October 4, 2012 at 10:58 a.m.
Tacos Al Pastor at Tacos Leo
Celebrating this year's Best of L.A. issue -- now out in print and online -- we're counting down, in no particular order, 100 of our favorite dishes.
36: Tacos Al Pastor at Tacos Leo.
Great lonchero wagons are certainly thick on the ground in this city, but when Tacos Leo first appeared on the street scene two summers ago, even hardcore taco veterans knew something formidable was happening -- perhaps tipped off by the fragant plume of charred pork that wafted down Venice Blvd. A true al pastor specialist had landed in Mid-City.
The orange tornado of roasted pig that spun on the side of the truck glowed even brighter than the truck's neon sign. Tacos were a buck, and came with an acrobatic flourish of pineapple and some fiery salsa roja if you wanted it. The meat was shaved off into thin little slices, slightly charred on one side; the flavor was rich with cumin, cinnamon and a few other things you couldn't quite put your finger on.
Since then, the gas station where the truck parks at La Brea and Venice has become perpetually crowded on weekend nights, and some early regulars of Leo have charged that the portion of meat sliced onto the oiled tortillas isn't quite as large as it used to be. But, for the most part, Leo has handled its fame well. The tacos al pastor remain the stuff of legend and, for our money, there remains no better place to spend that lonely crumbled Washington stuffed into your jeans than at Tacos Leo.
Check out the rest of our 100 of our favorite dishes. Suggestion? Write us a comment.
100: Lukshon's Dan Dan Noodles
99: Cemita de Milanesa at Cemitas Poblanos Elviritas #1
98: Chichen Itza's Cochinita Pibil
97: Tsukemen at Tsujita L.A.
96: La Cevicheria's Bloody Clam Ceviche
95: Duck Shawarma at Momed
94: Peruvian Chicken at Pollo a la Brasa
93: Squash Blossom Quesadilla at Antojitos Carmen
92: Thai Boat Noodles at Pa-Ord
91: Baco Mercat's Bazole
90: Furikake Kettle Corn at A-Frame
89: Live Santa Barbara Spot Prawns at Providence
88: Fried Pig Tails at Night + Market
87: Egg Salad Sandwich at Euro Pane
86: Galbi Jjim at Soban
85: Truffle Honey-Laced Fried Chicken at Manhattan Beach Post
84: Mool Naeng Myun at Yu Chic Naeng Myun
83: Chicken Vampiro at Mexicali Taco & Co
82: Sooo Cali Dog at Dog Haus
81: White Anchovy, Tomato and Fresno Chile Pizza at Pizzeria Mozza
80: Shu Mai at Elite Restaurant
79: Tandoori Chicken at Al-Watan
78: Chocolate Bread and Butter Pudding at The Hungry Cat
77: Agedashi Tofu at Izakaya Bincho
76: Pork Chop at Salt's Cure
75: Porcetto at Sotto
74: The Sea Urchin Tostada at La Guerrerense
73: Wood-Roasted English Peas at Tar & Roses
72: Persian Mulberries at Weiser Family Farms
71: Hunan-Style Preserved Pork with Tofu at Hunan Chilli King
70: Brisket Banh Mi at Gjelina Take Away
69: Yukhwe Bibimbap at Oo-Kook Korean BBQ
68: Lamb Pie at Beijing Pie House
67: Son of a Gun's Uni and Burrata
66: Pastrami Reuben at Art's Delicatessen
65: Beef Koobideh at Kabab Mahaleh
64: The Whipper Burger at Hawkins House of Burgers
63: Slippery Shrimp at Yang Chow
62: Whole Channel Island Red Sea Urchin at Water Grill
61: Going Dutch Panini at Bread Lounge
60: Huckleberry's Green Eggs & Ham
59: Pickled Watermelon Salad at L&E Oyster Bar
58: Spaghettini with Abalone, Pickled Cod Roe and Truffles at n/naka
57: Brown Brown Bread Ice Cream at Scoops Westside
56: Smothered Chicken at R and R Soul Food
55: Duck Fried Rice at Jar
54: Taco Sampler at Guisados
53: The Sycamore Kitchen's Double BLT-A Sandwich
52: House Wonton Soup at China Café
51: Almond Croissant at Proof Bakery
50: The Southern Fry at Plan Check Kitchen + Bar
49: The Dodger Dog at Dodger Stadium
48: Papaya Salad at Krua Siri
47: Lucky Baldwins' Traditional Full English Breakfast
46: Edomae Tendon Bowl at Hannosuke
45: The Pescado Zarandeado at Coni'Seafood
44: Hot Wings at Beer Belly
43: Raw Kale Salad at Elf Café
42: Steak Tartare Tacos at MessHall
41: Bánh Mì at Buu Dien
40: Sicilian Slice at Pizzanista
39: Grilled Baby Goat T-bone at Mozza's Scuola di Pizza Salumi Bar
38: Papri Chaat at Jay Bharat
37: The Island Combo at TiGeorges' Chicken
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