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Your Highland Park Taco Crawl: An Award-Winning ‘Seven-Layer Taco,’ Salsa Borracha, and Buttery Cabeza

A taco covered in salsas, guacamole, and pickled onions from Villa's Tacos

A taco covered in salsas, guacamole, and pickled onions from Villa’s Tacos. Photo by Memo Torres for L.A. TACO.

Highland Park is back to fully Highland Parkin’.

The highly curated funk music is bumping loudly at the Gold Line, hop nerds are sitting at the bar and drinking hazies at Hermosillo, and the thick-cut callo de lobina is glistening under the NELA sun at Mariscos El Faro (whenever they’re open). And the tacos dotted around the barrio-turned-flipper’s paradise, in all their juicy, crispy, and handmade tortilla glory are calling your name after a night out in the Avenues. 

If you know wassup, Highland Parque’s taco scene can hold its own against the rest of the neighborhoods in L.A. It’s not the best taco ‘hood, but it’s definitely enough to satisfy the casual taco lover. What the neighborhood lacks in regional styles it makes up for with being the pop-up home of some of the city’s most coveted taquero stars. Also, let’s not forget the old-school taco trucks that have been slanging absolutely solid takes of the timeless asada-lengua-tripa weeknight classics like Tacos La Estrella and El Pique on York, and Tacos Sinaloa and Tacos Viva Azteca on Figueroa.  

All that being said, these are the L.A. TACO-approved spots that are taste nearly absolutely perfect on a wild weekend night. 

Los Dorados LA

If you’re a follower of L.A.’s Taco Life and you live to live, you will give in to your altered senses and order a pair of perhaps L.A.’s most magnificent flautas. And the crispy, juicy, and spicy euphoria that ensues will probably make you wonder: Why did it take this long for a roving taquero in Los Angeles to specialize in tacos dorados? Whether you opt for chicken, full-flavored lamb barbacoa, fluffy papa, or their handmade chorizo. You will find yourself craving this magical flute of a taco regularly. If you love living a life full of excess, ask for your flautas to be “Glutster-Style” and see what happens. The founder and lead flautero, Steven Orozco, recently unveiled an ultra-dank salsa “borracha” for the lamb flauta passed down from his pioneering L.A. taquero suegro, Don Adolfo Martinez of El Taurino. It is smoky, spicy, and a degree away from being a mole because it is so complex. 

@LosDoradosLA usually pops up on weekends outside La Cuevita from about 5 PM to 11 PM, but follow them on Instagram to confirm and find out where they are popping up next.

Villa’s Tacos

There is no happier taquero in all of Los Angeles than the one you’ll find high-on-life and serving you the most deliciously messy tacos found at the Villa’s Tacos pop-up in Highland Park: Victor Villa. If you are in the maximalist school of L.A.’s Taco Life, you will find your happy place in a take-out container brimming with their oversized “Dodger-blue” tacos. Besides the usual diced onions and cilantro, your tacos will have a fat drizzle of crema, a hefty sprinkle of cotija, hibiscus-pickled red onion, and a special Michocán-style salsa passed down through the Villa over many generations. Oh yeah, and a generous dollop of non-watered down extra chunky guacamole. Victor Villa may be the GOAT to come out of Highland Park. He has the L.A. TACO MADNESS 2021 tournament trophy to prove it, but more important than that—his ‘hood has his back. 

Villa’s Tacos usually pops up on weekend nights on Avenue 50 a block south of York. Follow them on Instagram for order info and hours. 

Angel’s Tijuana Tacos

If you find yourself in Highland Park on a school night, the best tacos in the area are undoubtedly Angel’s Tijuana-style tacos. The popular taquería stand started in the San Fernando Valley and has carefully expanded into neighborhoods that were lucky enough to be blessed with their carbón-grilled asada and flame-kissed al pastor. However, only the real ones know that Angel’s best taco is their buttery stewed cabeza. It is creamy like a paté and is delicious on Angel’s extra toasty comal-crisped tostadsas but also savory like a guisado to make an amazing taco on their handmade tortillas. The lines can get long, but the wait is always worth it. Note: If you get there too late, they may be out of the cabeza since they only bring a limited amount. 

Angel’s Tijuana Tacos sets up every day outside the Targe on Eagle Rock Boulevard and El Paso Drive. Follow them on Instagram for more information. 

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