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Culver City

La Isla Bonita Taco Truck ~ Venice

10:06 AM PDT on September 13, 2006

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Rose Ave. Btw. 3rd & 4th St. ~ Venice, CA.

The Westside is a little light in the taco truck department until you hit Culver City's stretch on Washington or the taco trifecta at Barrington. Besides Lincoln's mainstay, La Oaxaquena, and a taco truck in the Fox Swap Meet parking lot, La Isla Bonita seems the only other shoreside game north of the airport.

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It sits sleepily on Rose Ave...perchance dreaming of San Pedro? La Isla is generally pretty popular and slings mariscos along with traditional Mexi-fare out of a van with hot hand-painted octopi among other characters. Tacos come hot and fast at $1.25, accompained by a large pepper, grilled onions, and spicy pickled carrots and radish. The pastor seemed to make the smallest impression on me; its Lilliputian cuts of tough, red-stained pork reminding me of Baco Bits, which although roasted nicely, lacked crunch and definitive flavor, plus they were very oily. Done in three bites, it was a spicy number that really failed to impress.

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The asada was similarly tough, it seemed as though everything was a little overcooked that day at La Isla. The small bits of steak were also oily, but this time in a good way that brought out the deep flavor of both the asada seasoning and the steak. The diminutive pieces were charred, giving a nice, more extreme companion to the roasted meat and great texture...

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The carnitas taco, again, was charred in its flanks, but delicious, with a semi-stewy broth encasing the shredded bacon-like, white meat that absolutely stuffs the taco. It is very meaty and tasty, a different take, like most, on carnitas. I went back for another pastor, trying to make sure I hadn't missed anything to find, yet again, it had no spark in there for me.

La Isla Bonita is nonetheless a dependable addition to the Westside taco scene with plenty to offer a hungry belly during lunchtime, the truck seems to vanish as 3:00 O'Clock rolls around...then its off to La Oaxaquena.

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