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Pork Belly Breakfast Burritos and ‘Papa al Pastor:’ Macheen Lands a Taco Residency in Boyle Heights

[dropcap size=big]I[/dropcap]n L.A.’s cutthroat taquero wars, Jonathan Perez of Macheen has fought his way to stand out from the rest. And starting this Monday at 8 AM, he will finally have a place to temporarily call home at his new residency at Milpa Grille in Boyle Heights. 

The 30-year-old former semi-pro skater-turned new-school taquero has been putting in work with his herb-infused tortillas and classically trained approach to tacos since 2016. For the last two years, Perez and his sister, Ana, along with their younger brother, Rolando, earned a cult following for Macheen’s incredibly satisfying pork belly breakfast burritos at Smorgasburg L.A. 

This taco residency comes just months after Macheen won L.A. Taco’s Taco Madness online taco tournament, where he took home the trophy after years of being the runner-up. 

Along with their famous breakfast burrito, Macheen’s post-breakfast opening menu will include six tacos, including an oyster taco and mole blanco with a dashi-poached chicken, and Jonathan’s beef birria amped up with his guajillo demi-glace—a customer favorite. He is sourcing his corn tortillas from both Tortiyas LLC, a new tortilleria making organic tortillas from Mexico and the Midwest in the neighborhood, and Galaxy Taco in San Diego for Macheen’s tortillas involving an infused masa. El Café by Primera will oversee the coffee program, a local coffee shop specializing in using exclusively Mexican coffee beans roasted by Guadalajara’s third-wave shop, Café Estelar

Milpa Grille is singlehandedly building an uncommon sense of food community in Boyle Heights among pop-ups and brick and mortar restaurants—two dining styles that have been notoriously known to oppose each other in the past.

Since the pandemic began, he’s consulted on the Japanese-meets-Mexican menu at Hermanito on Sawtelle in West L.A. But it is not until this Milpa Grille residency coming up that he will bring back a menu reflective 100 percent of Macheen. “I’m happy to finally have a space that people can easily access our food, and what better place than Boyle heights,” Jonathan tells L.A. Taco. 

In the last few months, Milpa Grille has operated as a pop-up stand food incubator in Boyle Heights. The restaurant’s owner, Daisy Serrano, has offered her brick and mortar kitchen and dining space to L.A.’s quickly growing DM and pop-up DIY food space. In the last month, respected vendors like East L.A. BBQ Co. and Tortas Ahogadas El Águila have sold out of the hole-in-the-wall located on Cesar E. Chavez Avenue in Boyle Heights. Milpa Grille is singlehandedly building an uncommon sense of food community in Boyle Heights among pop-ups and brick and mortar restaurants—two dining styles that have been notoriously known to oppose each other in the past. During this residency, Macheen’s menu will live side-by-side with Milpa’s corn-based antojito menu, with classic items like esquite and enchiladas. 

Macheen’s residency starts this Monday, September 28th at 8 AM. Macheen’s menu will be available from Monday to Thursday, from 8 AM to 6 PM. Soon to Milpa Grille is at 2633 East Cesar E Chavez Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90033.

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