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Where to find best street tacos in LA area

June 16, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
It's not hard to find good tacos in Los Angeles, but where can you go to grab the best when you're on the go? We taste-tested the best street tacos as voted by local foodies.

Beef or fish? Fried or soft? Hot sauce or salsa? LATaco.com created "Taco Madness," where serious street-style taco connoisseurs vote online for their favorite.

I joined Bill Esparza of StreetGourmetLA.com to visit the top 3 winners, and we both agreed it was a tasty competition.

"In Los Angeles, tacos are no joke, we take our tacos seriously," said Esparza. "Over 25,000 people participated. The people have spoken."

First place honors went to Mexicali Taco & Co., a catering company that usually sets up shop in the downtown Los Angeles area.

Co-owners Ezra Ochoa and Javier Fregoso specialize in traditional Baja, Mexicali-style tacos.

"It makes a totally different kind of taco. That's why people keep coming back, they're one of a kind," said Ochoa.

The secret to their "Best Taco in L.A." title is flame-grilling their marinated meats.

"We do it with love. We do it like we are cooking for our families. We use everything fresh," said Fregoso.

Coming in at a very close second place, the Mariscos Jalisco catering truck, parked daily on Olympic Boulevard, east of Soto Street. The winning taco is a famous, crunchy, deep-fried shrimp and vegetable "wet taco," which has taco fans making the trek from all over the state.

"[People] come all the way from San Diego, Palm Springs, Santa Maria, just for our 'Tacos Dorado del Camaron,'" said owner Raul Ortega.

Esparza enjoyed the taco.

"It's delicious. It's rare. It's just like you're going to find in Mexico," said Esparza.

In third place was Ricky's Fish Tacos, where the food is lovingly prepared using a homemade recipe passed down from the owner's mom.

"Basically it's a beer batter with a couple of spices we use in the family. It's kind of a secret in L.A.," said Ricky Pina.

Pina started out cooking for his friends and loved ones at family gatherings, and word spread quickly.

"Now I'm cooking for everyone," said Pina.

The golden-fried fish taco is topped with freshly shredded cabbage and your choice of toppings, generously piled into in a warm, soft corn tortilla.

"I had two so far, but I think I'm going to have one more," said Gary Quan of Montebello. "Best I ever had."

Follow @MEXICALItacoCO on Twitter to locate Mexicali Taco & Co. (various locations throughout the Los Angeles-area, evenings only)

Follow @RickysFishTacos on Twitter to locate Ricky's Fish Tacos. (Various locations located throughout the area, lunch and dinner)

The Mariscos Jalisco catering truck can be found daily at:

3040 E Olympic Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90023

All three taco vendors are available for private event catering.


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