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Food

La Playita ~ Venice

2:00 PM PST on December 20, 2007

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    La Playita ~ 3306 Lincoln Blvd. Venice, CA 90026 ~ (310) 452-0090

    I know I've got a bad reputation, and isn't just talk. I'm guilty as charged of treating some of these taco stands and taco trucks out here like little taco hoes; ripping off their layers, slurping up their tender vittles, bailing, and never stopping by to say hello again. It's just the way players play. All day. Everyday, in fact.

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    But you will find me fucking with La Playita (formerly dubbed with the catchy name Mariscos Guillen) regularly. You will. In fact, hey, I'm there right now, for all you know...and where are you? Not at la Playita, I see. Or do I?

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    So yeah, these guys do tacos right. Really right. They are not fudging around with two abuelas in the back stirring a single pot or some ex-con on a skillet. No, they've got like six dudes in there getting the deliciousness done, working like God is watching. You know this joint if you've ever cruised on Lincoln. A giant Seizer head and a Watch Out graffito mark the spot. La Playita is typically slammed from the moment 11AM shows its face, but is best before closing when the crowd is thin and it's just you and traffic and the last lifeguard on duty at this lil' beach.

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    What's really popular here is sea critters; giant styrofoam cups of watery, fresh pulpo, abalone, shrimp, and crab, which you can get mixed together in a campechana or "cocktail," and topped with aguacate. They taste deeply of the sea and leave you feeling Herculean, with all that Poseidon-provided protein. These, and the flat, piled-on tostadas with seafood ceviche, are what really gets the crowd pumped.

    taco2.jpg(Pastor Tostada)

    But look on high a second. We're not named Ceviche or Tostada. So how are them tacos? Flawless. And nicely sized. I don't think I've ever had a mediocre taco here in my life. The plump shrimp pop with juice and flavor in the mouth, with just a lite dressing of some cilantro and tomatillo sauce. Tapatio really makes it shine, the shrimp maintaining firm composure, almost a little sweet in their freshness. The fish tacos also kick ass, and are kind of honeyed on the palate, the tiny cubes of fish smothered in a reddish sauce that seems to caramelize the tiny shingles of fish. It's like someone was playing Tetris with the fish cubes and decided to just glue it all together hastily at the end with sweet sauce. Uh, very good, in other words.

    taco1.jpg (Carnitas)

    Pastor, asada and carnitas are all very great here, just the way I like them and maybe not reaching orgasm status, but this is one of the most dependable spots I've found for fantastic versions of all three, especially out West. The carnitas is moist and shredded, pastor is sublimely chewy, and asada is juicy. The tostadas also kick major ass. It's basically a taco, but open-faced and on a crispy tortilla, the soft fillings mixing nicely with the CRUNCH!!!!! I usually leave the buche and cabesa alone, but I bet they rule too.

    cimg6274.JPG(The fish)

    The one beef I have about La Playita isn't with the eatery itself. With all these different people standing around waiting for and eating tacos, there should be lively discussions and peals of laughter echoing to the sea, but everyone kind of just stands there and mean-mugs each other instead. Certainly, one of the city's many tragedies in inter-connectedness.

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    So while not my taco bottom bitch (you know who you are, babygirl), La Playita and I will continue our romance as long as she stays delicious and I stay addicted to her good, cheap eats.

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