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Inspired by ‘Taco Chronicles,’ Pop-Up Taquero ‘Evil Cooks’ Is Recreating the Black Al Pastor in L.A. and a Vegan Version in Riverside ~ TacoWire

A version of the black trompo comes to Los Angeles and Riverside

From the same “pirate” taqueros who brought you L.A.’s first vegan trompo, now comes their next groundbreaking trompo iteration: Their own take of the trompo negro from Mercurio in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, as made famous in Netflix’s “Al Pastor” episode of the Taco Chronicles.  

“We’re taqueros and rockeros, so for Halloween, the black trompo was a perfect fit,” says Alex Garcia via a phone call asking about the inspiration behind this momentous move in L.A. al pastor history. He is the head taquero of Evil Cooks, one of the most ambitious and hardest-working taqueros to emerge in Los Angeles this year. 

The Queretaro-born taquero first innovated the L.A. street taco game by bringing his vegetable-based take of a traditional trompo made from eggplant, cabbage, portabella mushrooms, and an impressive adobo that somehow transforms the trio of vegetables to a very pork-like consistency. And this Thursday night, he is bringing his own vegan Yucatán-inspired recaudo negro-slathered trompos to Riverside, then a traditional pork one to El Sereno on Friday night.

Abiding by the unwritten rule of taquero ethics that only the most pure-hearted, righteous taqueros follow, Garcia sought out the approval and blessing from the creator of the original black trompo, the pioneering Yucatán chef Roberto Solis. They said yes, “When they got back to us and approved us, we were all happy.”

A traditional al pastor adobo is made from dried red chiles, sometimes toasted, and spices, and vinegar. By the same virtue, recaudo negro is just another form of an adobo. 

While it may undoubtedly attract many people to post it on Instagram and probably use ironically popular hashtags like “#goth #gothtrompo,” L.A. Taco would like to remind our readers that the opaque blackness isn’t a publicity taco stunt. It is actually made from a traditional Mayan technique of burning chiles to a paste, and flavoring it with spices. The paste is formally called recaudo negro and is normally used to cook turkey in the Yucatán peninsula, and parts of its neighboring Quintana Roo state. 

For Garcia, the connection goes deep and is a form of honoring his stepdad from Yucatán. “He taught me how to make recaudo negro, and it has so a lot of flavor and so much potential here in the U.S.” A traditional al pastor adobo is made from dried red chiles, sometimes toasted, and spices, and vinegar. By the same virtue, recaudo negro is just another form of an adobo. 

Evil Cooks will set up his vegan black trompo only this Thursday night in Riverside at 3485 University Avenue starting from 6 to 9 PM. Free entrance.

In Los Angeles, he is setting it the pork trompo only on Friday at the Village Market in El Sereno at 2200 N Soto Street from 5 to 10 PM. 

L.A. Times food critic eats tacos at Chinito Tacos in Lakewood

Patricia Escárcega hit the tacos hard at Chinito Tacos for her latest review at the Times, where she briefly analyzes the cultural versus political use of the word chino(a) in a restaurant review and praises the “particularly good” burnt cheese tacos cooked by Beeline Krouch, the lauded Cambodian-American chef behind it. We can’t wait to check it out ourselves. 

Texas Monthly publishes first feature by their Taco Editor, José R. Ralat

Following up on the buzz of the glowing profile that Ralat had on The New Yorker where he unveiled the burrito-are-tacos truth to the mainstream, the Texas OG golden boy of tacos published his first report as a fellow Taco Editor to back up his claim. 

“In the simplest terms, burritos are a type of taco, just like flautas are a type of fried taco. They come on flour tortillas that are folded and sealed. ‘Burritos are tacos’ is supported by my work across the borderlands, especially in Texas. It’s also backed up by the work of writers specializing in Mexican food who have been doing this longer than I have.”

We at L.A Taco agree with Ralat’s sentiment and send him our best wishes as he formally joins the literary taco army and spreads the taco gospel to Texas.

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