Had a delightful taco adventure with 3 of my Bikram Yoga cronies. Who knew skinny people liked to chow down on deep fried crispy tacos? Actually, I did, which is why I invited them to drive 50 miles in search of a great taco.
Mitla Cafe has been making this taco, exactly the same way, since 1937. Legend has it that they inspired Glen Bell (who had a burger stand across the street) to switch from burgers to tacos. Mr. Bell, of Taco Bell fame (he sold out to PepsiCo in 1978) came up with the idea of pre-frying shells so he could serve people faster.
There is a new book out on the history of the taco in America called, "How Mexican Food Conquered America" by Gustavo Arellano. You can hear an episode of NPR that covers the topic HERE.
The tacos were delicious and we passed 3 other good looking spots once we got off the freeway...
One had no name, but was on Baseline St. near California. BIG sign advertising a 3lb. burrito. We were too full to check it out on the way back but I need to go again and at least try to get the name. There are several Amapola Rico Taco in the area, one right across the street from Mitla that used to be the original Taco Bell. Pablo's Taco Bender also looked fun. You gotta love the name! Apparently it's all about the pork chile fries.
There's another burrito place called Rosa Maria's. They are famous for something called the "garbage burrito." Not sure I find that appealing, but all in all, I think it's worth the trip to head out this way to eat at Mitla Cafe and check out a few of the other spots.
Viva San Bernadino!