Claire Corlett

Fish Food, Fish Tanks, and More

LA Loves These Tijuana-Style Tacos

Sydney: Yup, we’re back with more tacos. But this is LA, baby, and we love tacos. Joy: (Spanish then English)
I told you I’m the greatest. Sydney: I don’t know if you
guys are ready for this, but we’re here at Tacos
1986, the hottest place in LA to get tacos right now. They started out as a small food stand and not too long ago they
opened up this brick-and-mortar. The line is already crazy.
It’s barely lunchtime. But we have an in, so let’s
go inside and try these tacos. Oh my God! Partners and childhood friends
Jorge “Joy” Alvarez-Tostado and Victor Delgado opened Tacos 1986 as a pop-up in November 2018. It was an instant success. The pair’s downtown
location is no different, with people coming from
all over LA and beyond to try Joy’s famous
Tijuana-style pork adobada. They wanted to bring Tijuana’s
vibrant late-night taco scene to downtown LA, and clearly, it’s working. Joy: Oh, it’s a regional thing. People in the north call it adobada because it’s marinated in adobo. It’s a little bit more acidic and salty. We actually put strawberries in our adobo. And people in the south call it al pastor, because that’s where
it’d be made with goats. I think the Lebanese
brought it into Mexico. I don’t know what kind of rub they used. But that’s how it was introduced. Sydney: To make the
adobada, Joy and his team construct a monster trompo that
can weigh up to 200 pounds. Joy: So we’re just, like, stacking it, making sure, like, it’s nice and pressed. The bigger the better for the slice. It just comes out really
nice if it’s compact. It’s been a lot of work, a lot
of learning. That’s for sure. A lot of learning. A lot of teachings. I always tell my taqueros, you know, if you take respect and honor into building one of
these and then selling it, and you find your own style,
you know, and execution, I don’t think you’ll ever
be hungry, if you decide to, “Oh, I’m gonna go this
taquero route,” you know. It’s just a great way
to be a host and cook. “Hey, what’s up, welcome.
You want a taco?” “Pásale, pásale.” “I’m the greatest,” you know. It just gives that (smooch)
that playing field to any cook. Any. Exactly. Well, you have a big stack of meat that you need to sell in hours, you know. And if you have no line,
what are you gonna do? You must talk. You must sell tickets. You can’t just stand there and be like, “Yeah, I got, you know, 200
pounds of meat ready to rot and not go into people’s bellies and explode in people’s mouths and create this amazing explosion of acidity, masa, guacamole, textures, fresh onions, and cilantro.” Ahh, you know? And then you
get a little showcase of “Hey, what’s up? There’s a good-looking guy
blowing kisses at me,” you know, in a very Benihana way, kind of, you know? Like, this little… and it’s gotten us to this great momentum. I’ve always been like this. You know, my friends back home, las fresas, they know that I’ve always
been outgoing, you know, and I’ve always, like, gone like this and been like, “Hey, what’s up, man?” “Nah, I’m the greatest,” you know? Sydney: Yeah, we know. Everyone knows. Look at this line. Joy’s cult of personality
truly has taken LA by storm. And the tacos are there to back him up. Joy: Look at that body! Shake that body! Look at that body! Sydney: They’re not even open yet, and they started letting people in because they’re just that dedicated to serving the most delicious tacos in LA. Like any good taqueria worth its salt, the tortillas are handmade. And the carne asada is just as delicious as the signature adobada. Joy: Dios mio charro! The best meat for carne asada. I’m a passionate guy for sure. Express yourself freely,
correctly, and back it up. You must express facial expressions. Body expressions. And you must execute. If you say you’re the No.
1 taquero in the world, like I say every day when I wake up, I must back it up. I must stay open. I must feed people in here,
you know, that are like, “Oh yeah, this guy, what
he’s saying is true. He has the means to back it up. And you know what? He’s funny. He’s a funny cat.” (speaking Spanish) I told them I’m the greatest. Twice. Twice in one day. Sydney: I wanna ask people what
they think about these tacos but everyone’s too busy
eating to talk to me. – They’re really good. – Yes, amazing. Tortillas are homemade.
You don’t get that a lot. Do it! – I think from Eater it
was talking about the best, hottest 17 restaurants to go to right now, and so I had to try the taco. We go to Guisados down the
street, so I had to try this one. It is delicious. I hadn’t had it with the cheese
layer on the taco itself. So it’s pretty good. It’s kind of combining flavors in there. It’s almost like a chemical reaction. And the carne asada is
really well marinated with really good spices. It’s delicious. Fresh cilantro. Es perfecto. – Surprisingly, the line just filled in immediately after we got here. We’ve been enjoying the tacos so far. – Good tacos. – Good tacos. Sydney: After watching everyone eat, it was finally my turn,
and I was so ready. All right, we’re gonna start with the pork that we watched them make. It smells heaven-sent. I’m gonna try it on its own first. That is tender. Oh my God. Wow. Mmm! This is amazing. You can really taste
the housemade tortilla. It makes all the difference. It needs to have enough, like,
heft to it to hold everything that’s inside this
delicious little present. Killin’ it. Killin’ it. And you saw Joy. You saw how
passionate he is about this. And you can tell when you taste his food, you know that there’s
passion behind this food. And I am passionate about it. Gotta get up on the carne asada as well. Don’t forget about it. How he gets so much flavor
with so few ingredients is beyond me. You gotta come here. You can meet Joy. He’ll flex for you. He’ll blow you a kiss. Slap the meat, you know, all of that. Probably shouldn’t say
slap the meat. That’s fine. All right, now leave
me alone with my tacos, because (whistles) baby! This is the real deal. I love Los Angeles. Joy: We’re ready for you.
We’re the kings of LA though. This is where we’re staying. This is home.

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