Following up on our list of the 10 Best Tacos in Los Angeles, we decided to look onwards and upwards, toward the San Fernando Valley in search of even more great tacos. And find them we did, especially in Sylmar and Reseda. While you're never too far from a taco truck or taqueria on any given jaunt through the Valley, we found six spots in particular for which we would make a special trip. Turn the page for our list.
Whether it's the middle of the day or the middle of the night, Daniel's Tacos is perpetually crowded, and with good reason: The freshly made corn tortillas are delicious, the meat is piled high, the salsas have a healthy kick and the condiment bar is always full. The al pastor is particularly good. A word to the wise: The parking lot is worse than the one at your local Trader Joe's, so you might be better off parking on the street instead. 7956 Vineland Ave., Sun Valley; (818) 759-0721.
5. El Sauz:
The line can be somewhat slow and the woman who often takes your order can be downright curt, but if you have a generally sunny disposition and, more importantly, a penchant for carne asada, you'll wait patiently and order politely. El Sauz's nuggets of carne asada practically pop with flavor, with charred bits here and there for added punch. A taco with all the toppings includes onions, cilantro and a salsa that practically glazes the meat. If you want more of this salsa, it'll be an extra quarter. This would be but a small price to pay for a fleeting moment of bliss. 4432 San Fernando Road., Glendale; (818) 246-9701.
4. Don Cuco's Taco Truck:
The word “Tacos” is printed backwards on the engine of Don Cuco's, so if you happen to catch the truck in your rearview mirror, do as you do when you see an ambulance behind you: Pull over. The tortillas are made in-house, or in-truck, so to speak, and they're soft, slightly thick creations that go well with any of the meats on the menu, including carnitas and barbacoa. At some point, the flat-screen television perilously hooked up on the side of the truck will turn on; eating tacos and watching RoboCop 3 dubbed in Spanish isn't quite as plush as most dinner-and-a-movie dates, but, depending on your version of an ideal night out, this may be just close enough. Last spotted on Foothill Blvd. at Paxton St., San Fernando.
For number 3…
3. Priscilla's Mexican Food Truck:
Stand in line at Priscilla's long enough — which you might, depending on the day and the late-night hour — and you'll sense a recurring theme: Carne adobada. Everyone orders at least one item with the marinated pork, sometimes in a quesadilla, sometimes ladled on top of nachos, but more often, in a taco. And while the other fillings, including the lengua, do not disappoint, it's the brick-red carne adobada that stands out. A simple taco highlights the deep, slightly sweet flavors best, but the truck also makes a fantastic hard-shell taco. Priscilla's usually can be found after 8 p.m. on Valerio Street, backlit by the bright lights of the CVS just across the street. Last spotted on Valerio St. at Reseda Blvd., Reseda.
Around midnight, the daytime energy of the otherwise busy intersection of Vineland Avenue and Vanowen Street is concentrated on its northwest corner. There, in the parking lot of a car wash, you'll find Tacos La Fonda and, often, a crowd. You can see tortillas being made through the window of the truck; get close enough and you can almost hear the slap-slap-slap of the masa being rolled and flattened. Depending on whether you're a taco minimalist or maximalist, you'll either skip or indulge in the generous table of condiments, which includes tub after tub of colorful salsas lined up like a palette of watercolors. This would be food as art. Vanowen Ave. and Vineland St., North Hollywood.
And for our No. 1 pick…
1. Los Equipales:
Los Equipales is right off the 210, in a small plaza that you may very well drive right by, lest you catch the signs claiming “the best birreria in town.” If that lures you in, the shop will make good on its promise. The tortillas, which are made right there behind the counter, are slightly crispy and chewy and, as it turns out, a perfect base for the wonderfully meaty, ever-so-tender shreds of goat. A bit of the salsa and maybe a squeeze or two of the lime, and this might not only one of the best birreria in town, it may very well be one of the area's best tacos, period. Los Equipales opens early and closes early — 5 p.m. on weekdays, 6 p.m. on Saturdays and 4 p.m. on Sundays — so plan accordingly. 15963 Yarnell St., Sylmar; (818) 833-2902.
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