Chris Pastras’ “Top 5 Echo Park Taco Spots”

When I lived in New Jersey as a kid, our state food was Pizza. It was quick, easy, cheap, and always delicious. Healthy? Not so much. But what kid doesn’t love a cheesy, greasy slice of pepperoni pizza? In New Jersey, they all LOVE PIZZA. Hungry? Pizza. Sad? Pizza? Happy? Pizza. Birthday? Pizza. Baseball game? Pizza, Pizza, Pizza, Pizza. As a long time native of New jersey, I must be made up of 53% Pizza. 

And now that I live in Northeast Los Angeles, it’s TACOSTacostacostacos. Maybe with the occasional burrito or quesadilla. Just like Pizza… Tacos are quick, easy, cheap, and always delicious. Healthy? I’m not so sure, but hey…they’re kinda low carb-ish? Either way, tacos are our LA Soul Food. No doubt. 
As such, when people come to visit my LA neighborhood, one of the first things I do is take them to my favorite taco spots, So I figured I’d share some of my locals with you…
Enjoy: 
1.) Diablo Taco and Micheladas
3129 W. Sunset Blvd. 
LA, CA 90026
This place is bad ass. Super unique and modern twists on the traditional taco, and a great beer selection that includes their signature Michelada pops. 
Top of the taco charts baby!
Diablo 1
One part of an awesome menu of unique taco variations.
Diablo 6
Just look at that grease!!! YUM. I would definitely recommend getting a 3-4 taco mix with a Maple Fried Chicken Taco, a hard shell Ground Bison Chili taco or two,and a Fish or Shrimp Po-Boy taco, mix it up! They’re all good.
Diablo 3
Top that off w. some of their grilled corn, and a craft beer or a good ole PBR w. a Michelada pop, and you are one happy Echo Park hipster-foodie.
Daiblo 5
2.) Maya’s Tacos Restaurant 
1600 North Alvarado St. 
Some of my favorite tacos in the hood come from a family owned joint that is Mexican/Salvadorian. And man, they can do TACOS. The Conchinita Pibil topped w. Avocado is ON HIT. What is conchinita pibil? A slow roasted pork dish that originated in the Yucatan. A Mayan style pit roast. Where as the hipster taco costs you upwards of $5, the old school taco from a joint like this cost you $1.25. Unless your scared of pork, load up on a few of those tacos and throw in a few Pupusas, why not go Salvadoran too? On Mondays and Thursday’s they are only $1.25 as well, and delicious.And if you want to mix it up even further, grab a Veggie Burrito, the ingredients are fresh and delicious. And their homemade SALSA and HOT SAUCE, on point. Top it off w. some of their plantains!
The ultimate 2fer-1 Mexican-Salvadorian Combo!
Mayas 1
3.) Rick’s Drive In & Out
2400 Fletcher Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90039 
I know what your thinking, what the hell is a Drive in Burger place doing on this list…well, while I love the traditional taco, there is nothing like a great, old school, big ass Hard Shell Taco every once in awhile…and Rick’s has the BEST. Seasoned ground beef goodness. Get the Rick’s 2 taco combo with Rice and Beans, great deal at $6.84 and you’ll be full, I promise. Ricks is open late, it’s tasty, it’s fast…
And it’s right in the heart of Dodgerstown baby. The stadium is only 1.5 miles away. You could fill up on Rick’s and walk up Riverside Drive to the stadium, better yet, get drunk at the game and fill up on Ricks after….ZZZzzzzzzzzz.
This place is LOS ANGELES to the bone. Say hello to the 5 Freeway.
Ricks 1
AND, they play the Dodgers games inside. For us fans that don’t have Time Warner (basically everyone in LA), this is a huge plus.
Ricks 3
You’re in Dodgerstown Baby! This ain’t Anaheim.
Ricks 2
There she is, the HOLY GRAIL of Hardshell Tacos. Come to Daddy…
Ricks 4
4.) Gus’ Tacos Mexican Grill (aka Gus’ Lunch Box) 
2320 Fletcher Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90039 
Right up the road from Rick’s is another one of my neighborhood standards, Gus’. Great food, the tacos are delicious and affordable at $1.50 each, and the MULITAS at $2.50 are a must. A mulita is basically a small quesadilla w. meat and cheese. I would suggest those two things, and a California Burrito when your starved. ALL with Carnitas. Please, DO IT.
Gus Tacos Mexican Grill
While you may not recognize the outside of their store front location, if you’ve partied in Echo Park…you probably have a blurry recollection of this Yellow Truck and eating delicious tacos at 2am…yep, that was the Gus’ Lunch Box truck…
Those Mulitas taste better the later it gets!
5.) Guisados Tacos 
2100 E. Ceaser Chavez Ave. 
LA, CA 90033
Guisados has three prime locations, w. the original being Boyle Heights, so don’t get fooled it’s hipster just because they have a website, Ha…this place is legit!
It’s a little more pricey then some of the old school spots, but it’s well worth the extra couple bucks for the fresh ingredients and size of the tacos. It’s $2.75 for the steak/chicken/pork and $3 for the seafood.
I’d recommend any and all of the tacos, but my favorites are the Bistek en Salsa Roja, the Tinga De Pollo, the Mole Poblano, and the Pescado.
 Guisados 1 small
Well folks, there you have it…but before I split I must give an Honorable Mention shout out to two more of the favorites spots, a couple taco trucks I’m sure you’ve seen or heard about if you’ve spent any time in my hood:
Taco Zone
Alvarado & Montana
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Von’s Parking Lot whuuut up!!! Grab them groceries! And The quesadilla and the Green Avocado Salsa are on HIT! Stoners’ dream combo right there.
Taco Zone 1
Taco Zone 2
Tacos Ariza
Corner of Sunset & Logan
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Parked right outside Lassen’s/Walgreens parking lot on Sunset baby. Get those healthy, overpriced groceries at Lassens, get them prescriptions filled for Grandma or your own crazy ass at Walgreens, AND get a couple tacos at Ariza on the way out! Take that multi-tasking lunch to the next level. Win, win, win, always wining here at Pastras Enterprises.
Ariza
Peace out homies! Enjoy the tacos and sage advice.
Until next time…
Chris Pastras

 


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