The best thing about telling people I am writing a taco blog is that it’s usually followed by the following statement: “Oh I know the BEST tacos!”
Everyone has their favorite taco spot and that’s the main reason I started this whole thing. I want to find the best tacos in the city and what better way than getting suggestions from fellow taco lovers. So my good friend Bryan (a fellow taco enthusiast and supporter of the blog) hits me up on a random Thursday to grab what he considers top of the line tacos.
We drive down to 41st. and Avalon where he points out this parking lot full of people waiting in line for tacos. “Trust me, it’s not even packed today,” he says. “Come back on a Friday and you’ll be in line for a while.” This is already a good sign (you should know this if you read my post on Top 5 Signs Of A Good Taco Spot). In typical LA fashion, parking is a bitch so we turn on a smaller street and squeeze into a spot.
Walking up the first thing I notice is the ladies making tortillas. They have a whole assembly line system going. One is grabbing the masa and pressing the tortillas, the other is slapping them on the plancha and the third is flipping and tossing them to the guy who is filling the taco orders.
Yes. Fresh tortillas.
We get in line and they just look at us waiting for our order. We were interrupting the flow by not knowing exactly what we wanted. They had the operation down to a science and we were fucking up the process. We quickly get it together and spit out our first orders. I went with: Asada, Cabeza, and Chorizo. Then he turned to me and asked “Con todo?”
Pro Tip: Whenever they ask you that and it’s your first time there, just nod. You never know what they’ll throw in but trust that they know what they’re doing. They almost always nail it but if they don’t you can always customize on the second round.
So without further ado…
Meat Selection – 5/10
The first thing you’ll notice is the lack of a menu. This is one of those joints where you kind of need to already know what you want unless you want to disrupt the flow of things. When I asked all they were offering was Asada, Cabeza, and Chorizo. I heard someone say they offered Al Pastor but I didn’t get a chance to try any on this particular night. Now that’s a pretty poor selection but the fact that they had Cabeza was kind of awesome and they got a few points in my book for that.
Meat Taste – 9/10
THEY GRILL THE MEATS. That’s right. Take a look for yourself at this fucking beauty.
The meat goes from the grill to the cutting board where the taco guy masterfully chops up these little pieces of heavenly bliss. The second you chomp down on them, you know this is a special place.
The Asada was a beautiful combination of a slightly charred flavor with perfectly cooked beef. It’s hard to screw up Asada (unless you really overcook it) but it’s almost impossible to take it to the next level. This is next level shit.
The Cabeza was soft, juicy, and perfectly seasoned. That rich, fatty flavor melted in my mouth like few tacos have before. It was so good that when I went back for seconds. I just had to have it again.
Chorizo, however, stole the show. This wasn’t your regular chorizo that is packed with flavor and at times a little too greasy. Chorizo is not one of my favorite meats for that very reason but the second I tasted their chorizo, I knew all other Chorizos will now be judged by a higher standard. It was fucking unbelievable. The flavor was much more subtle and less fatty but it packed a unique taste that blew my mind. I had to go back for more.
Topping selection – 7/10
The tacos were filled with onions, cilantro, and an avocado sauce that I’ll touch on in a minute. You had the option of throwing in some red and green sauce or walking over to the side table where they had grilled onions, chilies, and rabanos. Overall, I was pretty happy with the selection. It wasn’t the best but it was more than enough.
Topping Taste – 7/10
The toppings had a pretty standard taste except for that magnificent avocado sauce. It was so fresh and delicious but mostly complimented the taco so well that it forced me to up the score on overall topping taste. My only criticism here was the lack of a super spicy option. I love me some spice. I want that shit to burn so bad, I start tearing up with mocos running down my nose looking miserable. I love that. Unfortunately, there was no topping that met my spicy needs but they were all pretty flavorful.
Overall – 8/10
Very little to criticize here. This place was everything you want in a taco joint. It had an awesome ambiance, the taco prep itself was a fucking spectacle that put those dudes on Chopped to shame. I bet that Aaron Sanchez dude would lose his shit after trying these bad boys. They’ll definitely put his butternut squash tortilla buffalo tacos with an avocado reduction and tomatillo vinaigrette to shame and remind him what real tacos are all about.
I’m just fuckin’ with you, Chef. We all know you hard.
Anyway, I have to give this spot all the recognition it deserves. It’s definitely on the short list of best taco spots in the city and the line is definitely worth every second. I’ll be going back without a doubt to finish trying some of their other foods like their Vampiros and quesadillas.
On your next Taco Tuesday, get your ass over to South Central and stop by Tire Shop Taqueria. And say Chef Aaron sent you….
Tire Shop Taqueria: 4069 S Avalon Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90011
Historic South Central