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Sunday, January 9, 2011
Tacos Los Guichos,Los Angeles,CA-Mexico City Style Carnitas in LA,Your Hog Futures Are Looking Up
During the week, Tacos Los Güichos serves up typical Mexico City style fare. Tacos,tortas, alambres, and other antojitos. It's been more than a year since I saw their sign,"carnitas on the weekends" but I recently made the time to give them a try.
Mexico City, and the state of Mexico is a carnita lover's destination. There's plenty of talk about Michoacan, considered the greatest tradition, and Jalisco. But there are more great carnitas regions,San Francisco de Los Romo just on the outskirts of Aguascalientes, in the El Bajio region which includes the eastern half of Michoacan, and all of Queretaro, and Guanajuato. Mexico City has it's own style, cooked on the street with a variety of pig parts for tacos. In other states of Mexico, it's usually Michoacanans and Jaliscans that spread the carnitas gospel. But here in LA, the Chilangos(people from Mexico City) are bringing the funk, most notably with Metro Balderas and now Tacos Los Güichos.
Good news here.You can get carnitas to go or enjoy some tacos on the picnic tables. Tacos Los Guichos is located in the parking lot of Valdivia's Car Alarm, Car Wash, and Auto-Tinting. Oh yeah, car wash and carnitas, baby.
If you've ever been to Mexico City, the cazo, a large stainless steel pot or a copper pot full of bubbling lard and pork parts is a familiar sight. On the streets of Mexico City, the stainless steel cazo is used. The carnitas are cooked at a low temperature,slowly, and the heat is turned up at the end to brown. Most Angelenos are more familiar with the boiled then fried variety, stringy, lacking in pork flavor, more salty, and having an odd texture. The metal basket atop the cazo is where the finished carnitas rest and are kept warm.
Later in the morning, the carnitas are tranferred to the trailer, kept warm in steamer trays, and prepared by the taquero inside, in the morning, you can get your carnitas and carnita tacos directly from the young man frying the pork.
Tacos Los Güichos has carnitas of costilla(rib), maciza(shoulder), buche(hog's maw), cuero(pork skin), oreja(pig ear), and trompa(lips). The frying is thoughtful. On a second visit the taquero informed me than some of the cuts weren't ready as he closely monitored each piece floating in the murk. Porcine and corpulent scents hit your nose sitting at the benches, as you begin to sample these tacos before their arrival.
The rib taco is cut in handsome bits. What you will notice is the more porky flavor of these carnitas, and the tenderness, rare in these parts. Salsas here are great too. But hell, you can go commando style, no salsa if you want, they're that good.
In the red corner, the ear taco topped with a nice salsa roja. An ear that might make some top restaurants in town hire this taquero. It has a great chew. At twelve oclock we have the shoulder taco garnished with pickled habanero and onions, hot! The shoulder is the hardest part for carnitas specialists to get tender, but here it's perfect. Moving clockwise in the green corner in a mild salsa verde we have the lip taco, a touch of the springiness of the ear with some meat attached.
The surtida, or mixed carnitas taco is a must. Here we have lip, shoulder, ear, hog's maw, and rib, a spectrum of pork flavors and textures. I really enjoy the way these guys cut the pork into juicy, meaty morsels.
I could go for some more cuts like uterus, tongue, or kidneys, but it's hard to complain. Traditional Mexico City style carnitas prepared in their natural setting, on the street.
It would be worth looking into what this stand is trailer is doing during the week, but for now, I'll settle with arguably the best carnitas in our fair city. These tacos are porktastic. Get a bag to go for your next party.
They have another branch down the street on Slauson by the 110, same trailer set up, but it's a bit more festive here. The place gets busy in the late morning, but around 10 am, the carnitas are ready and jumping out of the pot.
Tacos Los Güichos
carnitas on the weekends only from 8am 'til they run out
regular menu 7 days a week
southwest corner of Slauson and Avalon
Los Angeles, CA