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Meet The Afro-Latino Siblings Making Sinaloan Tacos With Baja Fish in The Culver City Projects

Dad catches fresh fish in Baja, while the Lopez siblings tap their Sinaloan aunt's seafood recipes for a taco pop-up founded in the Mar Vista Gardens housing project.

Dad is from Sinaloa, Mom is from Panama, and their three Afro-Latino children were raised in Mar Vista Gardens, an old City of L.A. housing project with a Culver City address. This is where Consuelo Lopez and her two siblings began Tacos El Morenazo, a business serving their own fish and shrimp tacos seasoned with the flavors of their mixed heritage.  

The preferred fish used in these is whatever gets freshly caught by their dad, who now resides in Baja, pursuing his hobby of fishing full-time. When he reels a new one in, the family makes a taco-special announcement on Instagram. When the fishing line is dry, they use tilapia as a substitute.

The fish is then breaded with a seasoning that Consuelo Lopez, one of the three siblings, created based on the recipes she learned as a child in Sinaloa. 

"My parents always used to send me to Sinaloa during the summers, and my aunt would always be cooking all types of desserts and traditional Sinaloan foods," explains Consuelo. "I loved looking at her cook. So I finally one day bought a notebook and started writing down her recipes."

That's where Consuelo learned how to season the fresh catches, eventually creating the recipe that she uses in the family's tacos today. 

The tacos' style lands somewhere between Baja and Sinaloa, combining Consuelo's Sinaloan seasoning with a Baja-style cabbage garnish. She dresses them with a tastefully light chipotle crema that might be one of the better chipotle dressings I've tasted in the city.

The shrimp tacos are sprinkled with a little bit of cotija cheese, adding a cheesy and salty touch. They don’t do that with their fish tacos but I recommend people request it. It's a nice touch.

German Lopez, Consuelo's brother and biggest fan, loved her homemade fish tacos and noticed that nobody was really focusing on fish tacos in their area of town, apart from Lupitas Tacos on Lincoln.

So he devised a plan. German convinced his sister to serve her homemade fish tacos to the public, creating an entire brand based on his barbershop name: El Morenazo.

"I'm basically the face and marketing of this pop-up," German tells L.A. Taco. "But this is all my sister Consuelo's cooking."

It's a true family venture that includes their youngest sister, Elvia, who helps assemble the tacos for their customers. 

The family behind Tacos El Morenazo. Photo by Memo Torres for L.A. TACO.

For the first couple of years, they sold their food out of the projects. The enterprise felt like a Catch-22, as they tried to figure out a way to grow their new venture while staying low-key and avoiding trouble with the city agencies.

El Morenazo first sold to their neighbors via DM on Instagram and eventually watched as word of mouth reached new ears, including a recent viral video by HungryinLA, which exposed them to a wave of new clientele. You can also find German's face on a bottle of the brand's own salsa, made for mariscos.

"It was getting a little crazy here, so I told my sisters we gotta move it out of here," according to German.

El Morenazo currently pops up on Tuesdays and Fridays only, sometimes from German's home. Follow their Instagram to find their next pop-up and, hopefully, strike on a day when their dad's catch of the day from Baja finds its way into their sublime fish tacos.

Follow Tacos El Morenazo on Instagram.

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