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Machos Tacos ~ Los Feliz

12:50 PM PST on November 13, 2006

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1670 N. Vermont Ave. ~ Los Feliz, CA 90027 ~ (TACO Map)

There was a slight concern over my covering Macho's. When I presented my story idea to Snr. Juan Terrycloth the other day he expressed that he had never wanted to cover a place where he had such shitty tacos. Not a direct quote, but something like that.

Macho's is about as undesirable a spot as I can imagine to eat your tacos. Shoved in the corner of a car wash, there was literally window cleaner and sud essence floating towards the little envelopes of meaty joy. The noise from the washer was nearly as annoying as the exhaust belching a few feet from my horchata. The chef must be deaf by now cuz he yells like he's the announcer for Sabado Gigante every time someone's food is ready.

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Waiting an interminable time for tacos, I got up and paced, my trigger finger itchy to shoot a picture of something. I wandered behind the diminutive stand to find Macho's saving grace: a beautiful secret garden with overhanging charms and green and  pink bougeinvilla vines snaking around the wrought-iron fence. The car wash and the crammed streets seemed years away, I could meditate on the eternal truths of L. Ron Hubbard here quite easily.

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480 minutes later, my three tacos appeared. In the dappled sunlight, they embodied taco beauty, each of the selections covered in their own accessories from the guac-topped pastor to the machaca, which was topped with the cheese and lettuce, the sort of tacos my lilly-white Mama would have made had she not gone vegetarian on us upon moving to Cali like so many carniverous casualties of the Jazzercise era.
The pastor's flavors were hard to really grasp under so much onion, cilantro, and guacamole. Although those toppings always taste good, the meat itself was a little too chewy for my tastes and the pastor-ness of it was really embodied less by a cooking method and more by this tandoori-like paste that seemed to permeate the pork. I've had a lot better in a lotta other places, but it was not bad per se.

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Machaca, as we all know by now, is a tough, ropey steak, not the substance that lost the race for Senator George Allen. Machaca seems to be something that you really don't want to introduce to your intestines and Macho's was a good example. It was blackened, in twisty coils. The machaca was quite tasty and enlivened by the very gringo toppings of cheddar, tomato slices, and lettuce. It had a deep tomato/red wine-infused flavor and tasted pleasantly toasted. As difficult as it is to work up the macular strength to get the machaca down, the delicious flavors that emerged from the coils kept me keeping on. Again, not the best machca ever, but not bad.

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The carnitas were my favorite, if not a little salty. Large chunks of white meat, roasted golden brown on the outside sat softly in my taco. The amount of pork was quite generous, its oily, tender meat coming apart in smaller, savory strands. The carnitas looked well-cooked but were not chewy at all, rather just right.

Although neighboring Casa Diaz and Yucca's are some of my favorites and only a short jog away, Macho's is definitely a place I'd stop again, not just for tacos, but to sample some of the other 60 items on its board. You might get some Armor-All in your asada and spend the greater part of your life waiting for your food...but well-located and boasting a cool name, its garden is really a perfect place to escape the city while bursting your belly on some decent carnitas.

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