Taco Talk Episode #13


The shrimp taco/ceviche show! Some really good eatin' here and a live studio demonstration of what I will now call a 'ceviche seafood salad' in honor of Enrique's tough regulatory ceviche standards!

Here is the recipe for what I made in the studio yesterday.

1/2 lb. of fresh halibut cut into 1 inch flat slices (very thin)
1/2 a green apple cut into small cubes/chunks
2 handfuls of cilantro chopped
2 scallions (white and light green part chopped) *
*I think it needed more and would add one or two scallions more
1 Jalapeno chopped (very fine - wash everything after, don't touch your face, privates etc.)
1/2 a firm avocado chopped (mine was a little too soft and I used too much at 3/4 an avocado)
Juice of 2 limes (use a good tool for getting all the juice out)
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbl of good olive oil
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch of black pepper

Marinate the fish in the lime juice for 30 min. Toss every 10 minutes to make sure the lime gets all over the fish. Add a pinch of salt and maybe a teaspoon of chopped cilantro at this phase. You know it's ready when lime juice has become milky and the fish turns white.

Drain the fish after 30 min. Add to a bowl with other chopped ingredients. Toss with 2 tbl. of olive oil and 1/2 tsp sea salt and any other listed ingredients. Toss and serve with chips or small tostadas made for ceviche. You may serve with Chalupa or any other bottled hot sauce. You may further salt and pepper to taste.

*** I think a pinch of celery would have been nice here too. Traditional Mexican ceviche has tomato and sometimes cucumber. The picture below is the Campechana from Mariscos Jalisco which also has shrimp and octopus. A lot of times people add other cooked items to the fish ceviche rather than cooking the shrimp and octopus from a raw state with lime.

Find great Peruvian Ceviche HERE ::


La Casita Mexicana

After being sad and slightly miffed that Potato Tacos are only made on Tuesday, I sucked it up and went back today, Tuesday, to try some Tacos. Chef Ramiro Arvizu was in da house. What a sweetheart! I bought some tacos to go and it turned out he was there and had a few minutes... he then ordered me a hugely generous amount of chow and talked to me for half an hour.

Here is our video of the interview.

Here are some fun videos so you can get to know them a bit more...

http://www.blip.tv/file/4669099  (Korean Food Challenge)

They won and their recipe is in a Bobby Flay cookbook. I had the winning Chili relleno. Light and fresh and tasty. No cheese. No batter! Just fresh organic nopales and mushrooms.


Chef Robert Luna...

Talks about the creation of my favorite taco HERE!!!! And gives the recipe!!!!! WTF!!!!!!!!


Malo Ground Beef and Pickle Taco

More Luna Love :: HERE
In case KCET moves the link to the recipe around again as they did previously, here is the actual recipe! Except for the great salsa they put on it. AHEM.
Ground Beef and Pickle Taco
  • 1lb ground beef
  • 2 boiled russet potatoes (cut into small dices)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 oz cheddar cheese grated
  • Small jar pickle chips
  • Soft Corn tortillas
1. Sauté ground beef in olive oil (1/4 cup oil)
2. Add all the dry spices and cook 5 minutes add cooked diced potatoes.
Continue to cook 8-10 minutes.
3. Remove from heat let cool on counter 30 minutes
4. Heat corn tortillas and fill them with the beef and potato mixture
5. Close both ends with a tooth pick.
6. Fry them in canola oil about 2 minutes on each side
7. Once cooked, place them on a paper towel, remove toothpicks and open
8. Add cheddar cheese and kosher pickle chips.

"Ok you're done. Now eat," instructs Luna.

Taco Talk Episode #11


I forgot to post the link to this! I know what you're going to say. You're going to say it was the tequila tasting, and you may be right!
I think maybe we had a little too much FUN.


Taco Talk Episode #12

Armando Jr. (Part of the Guisados Family)

Might have to call this the 'Interview Show'. It started out as the Breed St. show and then went from there after we learned the fair has been closed for over a year.

Also we figured out that the mystery taco truck is really CALBI and it's darn good. It must have been one of their older trucks because the word 'Calbi' just wasn't there. And it looked old and white and wooden. You can see the truck in Enrique's video of Art Walk LA.



Bill Esparza

Such a great guy. A saxophonist, a foodie in the beyond and a teacher of foodies. Bill! Thank you so much for giving Taco Talk this interview. So many recommendations. So much to try! I encourage you to catch up on your blogging so we can all see the amazing things you are up to foodwise.




Listed Below are the Recommendations Bill gave during the interview...

Drink Cachaça
Eat at Metro Balderas on Figueroa for Nana (Pig Uterus)
Check out a guy who makes sausage near Olympic and Alameda at the Produce Market
Drink Volcan de mi Tierra Tequila
Try Escona Tequila
Tequila La Alborada
Eat at Mariscos Jalisco on Olympic and Dacotah
When in Ensenada, Seafood La Guerrerense at Alvarada and 1st.
Travel Latin America Often
Try New Things

Antojitos Carmen

Amazing Carmen, born in Michoacan. An amazing cook who could be considered one of the 'heads' of the Breed Street group. She said last night she had been cooking on the street for 20 years! WTF? At one point, the Food Fair was up to about 100 vendors before police, local residents and the city shut it down. Just a year ago, once 'the street' became too much of a drama and closed for good, she busted a move and opened her own restaurant on Ceasar Chavez. 2501 to be exact. Near Soto.

A very cozy spot with old red booths. Carmen seems to be making everything from scratch. She has a lot of fans including Jonathan Gold and Bill Esparza. Bill met me there for a Taco Talk interview but sadly he wasn't eating. He's on a food blogger's New Year's diet just like me! ;)

I WAS eating and I had the potato tacos and a fried quesadilla. Both were excellent and 1000% authentic. The potato tacos had these nifty fried mashed potato sticks inside. 3 tacos for $2.50! Not oily at all which I don't fully understand. I really liked their mild 'tomato sauce' salsa.

The fried quesadilla was a corn fried wonder stuffed with picadillo ground beef and zucchini flowers. My own creation filling-wise. You can put anything she makes in there just about. Such a sweet woman but obviously tough as nails and smart too. The stories she has and the things she has seen regarding Mexican food in Boyle Heights. I wish my Spanish was a tad better.

Definitely worth checking out and if you work nearby in Downtown LA, she will deliver for a $20 food minimum. GO OFFICE LUNCH!

Gracias Carmen!


Evan Kleinman & Tacos

Came across this on you tube. AMAZING video quality! This is how the pros do a remote! It's from a few years back and probably features one of the first pieces on the KOGI truck.

I met Evan in 1985 just as she was opening Angeli on Melrose. I worked for her for about 6 months and really learned alot. Good Food is a great show and it doesn't hurt that she's such good friends with Jonathan Gold!



I had an adventure. I went in search of something that has been gone for almost two years. The Breed Street Food Fair in all it's glory was shut down by local residents. I just had to see for myself since Yelpers wrote about taco action on Breed St. as recently as December. My trusty Side of Rice was glued to a football game and another expert guide had tasted too many pinots at a wine festival and needed some laydown time.

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 York cookie. I speak Spanish. I've been to DF. I've driven the whole Baja Peninsula 14 times. And yet, I was afraid to get out of my car and sample the street fair.

The corner of Breed and Caesar Chavez was all but deserted. The Siren Taco Truck was there but after I made the block once she had disappeared. There was also a truck at Breed & 1st but I didn't catch the name. I saw the place I came to see, 'Nina's', but it wasn't even a stand, it was a card table and a plastic cooler under one light. I just wasn't feelin' it.

"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 (but 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!

Guisados on Urbanspoon


Breed Street

Hmmmm.... Jonathan Gold's comment made me curious. Googled it... lots 'o blogs and chowhound references... RESEARCH.

This is the best info I found. Will check it out this weekend.

Breed Street North "Food Fair"
Corner of North Breed Street and East Cesar E Chavez Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90033

Breed Street South "Food Fair"
Corner of North Breed Street and East 1st Street
Los Angeles, CA 90033


Hours:: Friday, Saturday, Sunday, 7:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.
(The Birrieria El Gordo taco truck is there 7 days a week)

NEWFLASH :: Breed St. is no more. It got too rowdy, too big, too fast and residents shut it down. There are still a few vendors dotting the landscape but nothing worth the drive really that I could see.

Antojitos Carmen is a street vendor who got their own brick and mortar place a year ago. Here is a LA Weekly article about them. http://www.laweekly.com/2010-01-21/eat-drink/off-the-street-antojitos-carmen-comes-in-from-the-cold/

Fish Tacos in Los Angeles

My 'Conversation' with Jonathan Gold!

By 'conversation' I mean question and answer via Facebook! Here's what he said.... Some day maybe Dean will beg him to visit us on Taco Talk. Until then.... Viva Facebook!

Taco Maven :: Do you like crispy tacos or are they just too white trash gringa for you? If you DO like, any favorite spots?
Mr. Gold's Response :: Crisp tacos - tacos dorados - are as authentic as any other kind, and you can find them all over Mexico.  I have been known to daydream about the crunchy shrimp tacos one vendor used to make for the old Breed Street gathering in Boyle Heights. (If anybody knows where she is selling now, let me know) My favorite crunchy tacos at the moment? Probably the deep-fried potato taco at El Atacor #11 on Figueroa near 26th in Highland Park.
Taco Maven :: Note to self. I have had trouble finding crispies in Mexico. They make taquitos and they deep fry a quesadilla in a crispy folded corn shell but I have not seen the more gringa style one with lettuce and cheese on any menus. But I have only been to Baja and Mexico City.

Baja Style Shrimp Tacos

Close-up of shrimp nuggets

My best taster! Sir Justin Reinhardt who also wrote our
Taco Talk theme song.

YUM. After all that Baja Taco Talk last week I had to post a recipe for you. I found a really good one and tweaked it and tested it so get to cookin'.

What I liked about these was how light they were because they are just coated in flour vs. dipped in batter. Shrimp is also more consistent and easier to choose and use vs. 'fish' which is a pretty large recipe variable in general.

I like to use ROCK SHRIMP because they come cleaned in E-Z bite size portions. But they are a little hard to find. Instead I got some reg. Mexican shrimp. You have to clean and butterfly which is a pain but worth it.

Remove shells, make a small slit down the front and back and pull out the weird veiny stuff. Cut off tail fin piece and then cut shrimp in half. In three pieces if they are super big. Rinse and drain to make sure you get off all the ickies.

Makes enough for 4 peeps.

1lb of RAW shrimp (cleaned, butterflied and chopped and patted dry)
1/2 head of Green Cabbage (sliced thinly into strips)
Flour or Corn Tortillas (or both) Just get fresh ones!
Jar of Mexican Crema (if you can't find add one cup of milk to one cup of sour cream and blend until pourable) NO MAYO PLEASE
1 carton of Buttermilk (freeze the remains for next time)
3/4 cup of flour
1 tsp. of paprika
1 tsp. of cumin
1 tsp. of chili powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. of dried oregano
1 tsp. of salt
1 tsp. of ground blk pepper (pinch more if you love pepper)

If you want to get really fancy you can add a teaspoon of micro finely chopped cilantro to add some green flecks to the crema.

Salsa - buy your fav. make your own. Pico de Gallo is traditional, but here is a fun fruity one below.

After you clean the shrimp (ugh) place in a bowl and crack a little salt and pepper over it. Add 1 cup of buttermilk. It should cover the shrimp. Stir about and let sit for at least one hour.

Mix dry ingredients into a wide, flat bowl or a plate with a lip.

Heat vegetable or corn oil in a skillet. Add a pinch of salt to the oil to keep it from spattering.

The shrimp will cook so fast, I recommend heating your tortillas first. I like to do one by one in a pan with some PAM spray. You can even make a crispy corn shell this way. Or you can wrap in foil and heat in the oven.

When oil is hot, with a large spoon remove the shrimp from the buttermilk and dredge in the flour. You can use your fingers to roll the pieces around. Make sure each piece is coated and then put it in the pan. It's about 1 minute per side and that is it. Once brown, remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain. Put about 5 bite-sized pieces of shrimp into each tortilla. Sprinkle with cabbage and let your guest add their own salsa and crema.

Serve with a cold Mexican beer.


1 crispy apple peeled and chopped (use gala or fiji or braeburn)
1/2 a firm mango (chopped) lots of stores sell pre-sliced mango - just don't get a mushy one (about 2 tbl)
1 serrano chili (carefully sliced into thin rings) wash your hands after and your knife
1 firm but ripe avocado (chopped into small pieces)
1/2 red onion (finely chopped)
1 heaping handful of cilantro (chopped)
juice of one juicy lime (may need half a lime more...)
1 Tbl. rice vinegar
1 tsp. of salt (add more to taste)
a few cracks of black pepper

MIX all together about 10 minutes before frying your shrimp. The lime will keep things from browning but the fresher the better. You could also substitute pineapple for mango. Get super fancy and add 1 tbl. of pomegranate seeds (Trader Joe's has) just for fun.

This crema is a good one!


Rod's Char-Broiler

This place is so great. Open for great breakfast burritos early, open late for turkey burgers and roast chicken. Really tasty crunchy greasy crispy ground beef tacos. REALLY GOOD. $1.89. Go try it! The breakfast burritos have hash browns in them. OH YEAH. So friendly.

Nice little vintage booths AND TV's!

CASH ONLY but they have an ATM.

2600 Artesia Boulevard Redondo Beach, CA 90278. YELP PAGE


Taco Talk Episode #10

Best Fish Taco in Ensenada


A milestone of sorts! Great episode all about fish tacos and my beloved Baja Peninsula. We also had a great interview with Joseph Cordova of Best Fish Taco in Ensenada! Only bummer is some weird sound feedback while I'm talking. Hang in there... it goes away after the first few minutes!!!