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T.J. Taco Safari with Ed’s Manifesto: Street-Style Double-Decker Tacos de Asada in La Libertad

11:27 AM PDT on March 15, 2022

What is a true neighborhood taquerĂ­a?

In Tijuana, they are the taquerĂ­as that you grow up going to. The taquerĂ­as manned by taqueros that have the power to uplift you with their banter and jokes while they serve you happiness on a flimsy plate. In our search for T.J.'s deeper taquerĂ­as, Ed CalderĂłn vouched for Tacos Chava, a longstanding taco stand embedded deep in the hills of La Libertad neighborhood where CalderĂłn grew up in. "I used to ride my skateboard down these steep hills!" The combat-hardened CalderĂłn tells L.A. TACO with a smirk.

For that brief moment, as we rolled up to the second to last taco stand of the day, the awkwardness of meeting each other for the first time and talking about narco culture in a place known for disappearing people had worn off. We weren't hungry anymore, but that is beside the point when you're in Mexico and are always within reach of tacos that are worlds better than anything you can find stateside.

The taco of desire at Chava's is their truly "grocero" (naughty) tacos made with both a soft-toasted corn tortilla on a flat-top grill and a mesquite-grilled corn tortilla crisped up with beef drippings, stuffed with velvety frijoles guisados (refried beans). Each crispy bean taco is split-open and stuffed with juicy, smokey asada, chorizo, or crispy tripitas (intestine). And of course, the Tijuana works in the form of an unwatered-down smear of guacamole and fresh tomato salsa.

Tacos Chava

Catorceava 720, Libertad, 22400 Tijuana, B.C., Mexico

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