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.
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