7pm on a Sat. night I ventured alone into the big city of East LA. I grew up in Greenwich Village in the 70's. I think of myself as a tough New Yorker. I speak Spanish. I've been to DF. I've driven the whole Baja Peninsula 14 times, mostly by mest. And yet, I was afraid to get out of my car and sample the street fair.
"Well... I've come all this way. I might as well eat SOMETHING'. (By 'all this way' I mean 8 miles from Eagle Rock. Not far at all!) I passed by the super bright and cheerful La Parilla and thought I could probably do worse.
I went to park the car. On the way back toward the sound of Mariachis, I passed a bright and friendly storefront. GUISADOS the sign sang out. "I know what that means!!!!" I screamed to myself.
I was drawn in and greeted by the extremely young and friendly owner. He spoke perfect English. I felt relief. In fact as it turned out I spoke more Spanish than he did.
He explained they had barely been open a month. I explained I was a Taco Addict with a humble blog and an Internet 'show'. He gave me the sample platter which included the following... all on small homemade tortillas made right before my eyes. All impressively fresh, complex and delicious.
Chorizo & Papas (sausage and potatoes ) :: The perfect blend of texture and flavor. SUBLIME
Calabacitas (zucchini) :: Mixed with onions and corn. Tangy, salty, oily. FANTASTIC
Chicken Mole :: Served with pumpkin seeds. Rich but not too rich. Flavorful. VELVETY
Steak Picado :: Mouth watering flank steak with peppers and onions. SAVORY
Pork Mole Verde :: Tart and delicious. Hunks of Pork with just the right texture. MUY RICO
Bistec & Salsa Roja :: More like Brisket. Tender and juicy with a zingy red sauce. SEXY
They also had Chicken Tinga and Chicharron. Instead of being super crispy and dry, the Chicharron was simmered and stewed until it was soft again. Super tasty but a little too rich for me. The Tinga was delicious, though I've never had it before so had nothing to compare it to.
They also give you a little starter cup of soup if you would like to cleanse your pallet. Today it was cream of calabacitas. To amuse themselves, they write 'amuse bouche' differently every day. JAJAJAJA.
The restaurant is a 3-way partnership between Armando Jr, Armando Sr. and Ricardo Diaz (who owns another restaurant in Monterrey Park called COOK's which is famous for their incredible tortas) Armando Jr's Uncle owns the market next door where people come for fresh Masa.
I can't wait to tell and bring all my friends. The full size tacos are about $2.50 and they are open from 10am to 8pm every day but Sunday (butby now I think they actually ARE open Sunday - call first to be sure.)
Armando De Latorre Jr.
***More raves and reviews have continued to pour in since we wrote this post! Now they have 3 locations. One in Silverlake and one in W. Hollywood. I feel proud to have been there in the beginning. Good peeps. Good food.