Following the ever-changing taco beat in Los Angeles is often an exercise in both triumph and trepidation. Take, for example, Tacos Leo, the truck that swept the taco-loving community into a mad al pastor fervor two years ago, serving gorgeous, chile-imbued swaths of seared pork garnished with an acrobatically flung sliver of pineapple. The massive meat spit was out every single night, dishing out platefuls of tacos for a mere $1 each -- the Summer of Leo, as it was later known -- but its time was cut short suddenly after the county arrived and shut down the outdoor grill operation during weekdays, meaning you could find Leo's remarkable tongue-warping al pastor only on weekends, when the streets were free of la policía de comida.
We doubt Robert Frost had the L.A. Bureau of Specialized Surveillance and Enforcement in mind when he wrote "Nothing Gold Can Stay," but it captured our feelings a little too succinctly when those wonderful tacos vanished between Monday and Thursday.
Imagine our excitement, then, when we discovered Rico's Tacos, a small mobile grill that sets up nightly from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. in the parking lot outside a laundromat on the corner of Pico and Fairfax, complete with a neatly trimmed, gleaming al pastor spit operating seven days a week. Ricos has been up and running for about the past six months, slowly garnering a following for its brick-red marinated pork shaved off onto corn tortillas glistening with oil. The sauces are pretty amazing, too, an incendiary salsa roja as thick as barbecue sauce, and a salsa verde bursting with the distinct and unrelenting essence of freshly crushed serranos. Tacos are $1, and so are Styrofoam cups filled with cinnamon-speckled horchata. What more could you ask for?
But along with the joy of discovering tacos compelling enough to make a daily habit out of, comes the fear that they might soon be snatched away. Will Rico's Tacos suffer the same fate as Leo's? Should the whole operation be kept hush-hush as to extend its run as long as possible? We have more faith this time, we think, considering that not only is Rico's active on Foursquare, Twitter, and Facebook but also is the only taco stand we know of that is represented by its own social media agency. That seems like a positive development. Excuse us if we don't take any chances, though, and pack up a few extra tacos for the road.
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Rico's Tacos: 5871 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. Mon.- Sun. 7 p.m.- 2 a.m.
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