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L.A.’s Best Sonoran-Style Taquería to Serve Rare Mesquite-Grilled ‘Tacos de Aguja’ Straight From Mexico At Our Live Event This Saturday

The unique cut of beef is insanely delicious and bacon-like, with pearls of fat that get rendered over mesquite fire. It is impossible to find anywhere in the States. But for one night only, Sonoratown will be serving it at our live event, from a stash they brought from Mexico themselves.

2:39 PM PDT on May 4, 2023

Frontrunners Sonoratown are the team to beat once more in the 2019 final.

TACO MADNESS, Presented by Bud Light Chelada, is L.A.'s first and biggest taco festival. All of L.A.'s heaviest hitting taquerías will be in one place for one day only! The 21 + event is happening from 6 to 11:59 PM on Saturday, May 6, at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes in downtown Los Angeles. Ticket sales proceeds will support L.A. TACO's award-winning street-level journalism.

Meet Teodoro Diaz-Rodriguez, Jr. and Jennifer Feltham, the powerhouse couple behind Sonoratown, the restaurant where you can find the flavor of Sonora, Mexico, wrapped in a handmade flour tortilla in Downtown Los Angeles.

Both Rodriguez and Feltham had a history of working in the food industry before deciding to open up a restaurant of their own. The two-time TACO MADNESS champions chose to open up Sonaratown after multiple visits to San Luis Río Colorado, Sonora, where Rodriguez was born. 

Every time they visited family, they dug deep into Sonora's taco scene, and realized that there was just something different about the tacos made in Rodriguez 's hometown. There wasn't anything quite like it in Los Angeles.

“We were already bringing food from Sonora back to L.A. for the family who lives here, who missed the food over there,” Feltham said as she sat outside the restaurant in Downtown. “So we were already betting in every way, that if his family was dying to taste that flavor again and couldn't find it here, that if we opened a place that maybe others would feel the same.”

Aguja from Sonoratown. Photo by Jenn Feltham.

And people have since the couple opened their restaurant in Downtown in 2018. They recently opened a second location in Mid-City. 

Photo: L.A. TACO Archives

As for their food, it speaks for itself.

“Our tacos are based on our family taquería in San Luis Rio Colorado,” said Feltham. “My brother-in-law is the one who trained us and coached us and made sure that we were doing things the same way that you would find it in their taqueria.”

Their food is a labor of love. Their flour tortillas are handmade and made fresh every day. Their meats, which consist of quality costilla and leaner cuts, are salted and fired up over mesquite. No marinade—just the way it is done in Mexico.

The taco that started it all for Díaz and Feltham is a unique beef cut they only serve along the northern Mexican region of Sonora and Mexicali called "Aguja." It has no English translation and can be best described as a horizontal, inverted short rib cut, sliced so that the bone looks like a sharp needle (aguja means needle in English). It is wonderfully fatty and bacon-like, with pearls of fat that get rendered over the mesquite fire.

However, it is virtually impossible to find anywhere in the States, so Sonoratown engineered its aguja using two different cuts.

“To replicate aguja, the type of meat they serve in Mexico, we take two different cuts of meat and mix them, said Feltham. "It's not exactly the same, but it has the perfect amount of fat and beef. And fat is good, because when you're cooking meat over the fire, it stores all that smoke flavor and it's delicious.”

The assembly of their taco is simple: a taco-sized flour tortilla, carne asada grilled over mesquite, shredded cabbage for crunch, and a really spicy red salsa that has onion and cilantro and, to finish it off, a runny avocado salsa. Every plate comes with grilled onions.

Experience Sonoratown in all its glory taco at this year's Taco Madness presented by Bud Light Chelada, as they return with a special treat for all attendees this Saturday, May 6 at LA Plaza de Arte y Culturas. They will be selling mini tacos caramelos made with aguja meat brought straight from Sonora, Mexico. 

Join us for all the tacos, music, and fun at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes starting at 4 PM this Saturday. Tickets are still available here.

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