If you love truly excellent fish tacos, and you should, you've doubtless spent much of the last year following Ricky Piña and his traveling tent, as he moved from an East Hollywood parking lot to one in Chinatown, setting up to make the best fish and shrimp tacos in town. He's like our pied piper of Hamelin, his tacos as compelling as any music, and we followed him from one concrete universe to another, happy to sit at his portable picnic tables wherever he chose to put them.
As of 11 a.m. this Wednesday, get ready to follow Piña back to 1400 North Virgil Avenue -- but this time, finally, Ricky's Fish Tacos will be setting up shop not under a tent, but out of a fancy new food truck. Yes, the truck is finally here, a diesel vehicle outfitted with four fryers, an outdoor-access refrigerator and a 58-inch griddle. Imagine. Now we can follow Piña pretty much anywhere.
There are many fantastic tacos in this town, and while much Twitter time has been spent swapping tips on where to get the best al pastor or fish taco, you'd be remiss if you didn't at least occasionally try a taco stuffed full of nothing but vegetables. There are, after all, quite a few places in town where the all-vegetable taco is as good as, if not better, than the meat one. Here are 10 of our favorites. Tweet away.
In addition to its annual list of America's 101 best restaurants, the The Daily Meal this year decided to one-up itself and publish an alternate slideshow of the nation's 10 worst restaurants (click bait, anyone?). The list was compiled from restaurants with "the most consistently terrible reviews on the Internet," and also those that were so filthy that their citations often made local news headlines. While strip mall buffets like Nanay Gloria's Filipino Buffet in Las Vegas and Sunrise Chinese Buffet in San Diego are unsurprising choices, Los Angeles' Sun Taco landed the #2 spot for worst restaurant in America.
It's a weird choice considering Sun Taco isn't some mom-and-pop operation barely making rent in a Mid-City strip mall. It's a brightly-lit Mexican-Korean joint tucked into the food court of the Hollywood and Highland Center -- the same monstrous tourist mecca where the Academy Awards are held. We beg to differ: Shouldn't this place have been crowned the worst eatery in L.A.? To follow-up on The Daily Meal's claim, we decided to do some investigating of our own.
Now that we've put the debate about Los Angeles vs. New York tacos to rest, it's time to address something a bit more geographically relevant: the Mexican food of both L.A. and San Diego. While L.A. is home to many San Diego natives, the lack of true San Diego–style Mexican food in our fair city is surprising. Since its Sept. 27 opening, Taco Love has been serving up carne asada fries and California burritos in, of course, a tiny West Hollywood strip mall.
If you follow @RidingshotgunLA on Twitter, you may have noticed Roy Choi being a little more ornery than usual recently. For a few days, the Kogi king was prodding back at a New York Times piece that lauds the Big Apple's taco scene. The opening line -- "New York has great tacos, tacos that can go mano a mano with the best of Los Angeles" -- was more than enough to get Choi fired up.
Now it's our turn.
Those tried-and-true bicoastal food topics (Pizza in L.A.? Pshaw!) never cease to draw a crowd of angry commenters looking to defend their turf. But what if we took the conversation up a notch, and pulled in every corner of the Union? What foods does Los Angeles do better than the entire rest of the United States? Tacos, obviously -- better luck next time, borough dwellers -- but also certain street foods, American classics and lots of delicious pitstops in between.
Here are ten culinary delights that Los Angeles does better than anywhere else in America, with a few local examples to help drive the point home.
If you're living life correctly, every day is National Taco Day. We know that. But hey, why not take another opportunity to celebrate something awesome, and something we do better than anyone else (ha, ha, New York Times, that was a very funny joke).
In order to help you celebrate properly, we've put together this list of 20 great tacos: fish tacos and al pastor, carnitas and octopus, duck tacos and potato tacos. Keep reading for enough tacos to keep you celebrating, at least through next week. Or, if you're doing it right, all year long.
Word around the taco cooler is that chef Ricardo Diaz -- he of Guisados, Cook's Tortas and Bizarra Capital -- is planning to open a fried taco concept in Silver Lake in the coming months, aptly called Duro (that's "hard" in Spanish). Diaz belongs to the clan behind mini Mexican seafood chain El Siete Mares, so it's no surprise that the longtime Eastsider is taking over the Sunset Boulevard sit-down version of his family's restaurant to open something more fun and vibrant on his own.
Of course, all this taco chatter got us hungry, and before we knew it we were in La Puente, home to Diaz's other recent venture: Colonia Taco Lounge. Open since August, the restaurant features a slew of guisados-style tacos, plus craft beers, a small stage, and lots of free parking. Sounds like a winner already.
The truck is a long time coming. Ricky's proprietor Ricky Piña, a native of Baja, started cooking in what was essentially a side yard of a house on Virgil Street on the Silver Lake/East Hollywood border in 2009. Piña, who had been everything from a lab technician to a florist, was frustrated when he moved to L.A. and couldn't find fish tacos that lived up to those of his Ensenada home. Eventually he decided to make his own, using a recipe from his mother and grandmother, which he modified so he could cook the tacos faster. The lunch-only pop-up, serving Ricky's impossibly crispy Baja-style fish tacos, quickly became the stuff of legend.
The Daily Meal released a list today of the 35 best tacos in America, and our very own Ricky's Fish Tacos took the number one spot for his classic fish taco.
When reached for comment, Ricky's proprietor Ricky Piña was ecstatic. "It's a huge honor, especially because I have been able to come this far with a family tradition," he said. "And I'm very proud to be able to contribute to L.A.'s great food world."
If two of the things you love most in life are football and tacos, as is true for some of us, you have someplace to be on the morning of Sunday, Sept. 8. This is, as you of course know, the first Sunday of the 2013 NFL season. To celebrate the happy event, the folks at Bludso's Bar-&-Que in Hollywood will open at 10 a.m. -- game time -- to serve not early-morning ribs or brisket, although that would be very cool too, but breakfast tacos.
They'll begin regular service at noon, no worries, but for two blissful hours you can watch Minnesota at Detroit or even Seattle at Carolina while you eat smoked meat and egg tacos and smoked potato and egg tacos with smoked tomatillo salsa. That's a lot of smoking because you're at a BBQ place, remember, and they have a lovely huge smoker that you can see between two of the six flat-screen televisions. Lucky you.