Skip to Content

Memorias del Tropico ~ Boyle Heights

9:07 AM PDT on May 14, 2010

El Tropico

I drove by 1st Street and Evergreen where El Tropico used to be. The mural of the palm trees and sunset are gone, but in my mind the smell of perfume, cologne, beer and brandy are still in there. The brandy was often poured for free by the owner out of a plastic bottle. It was so fucking bad that as soon as he walked away we would pour the drinks under the table.

Several of my buddies and I would pile into a couple of cars and head to El Tropico to play pool, drink and look at the dancers from LA, Mexico and Central America. I can't play pool, I hate beer so I just went for the dancers. I became friends with the owner and his wife and they let me take photos once in a while so they could use them for their fliers.

No one ever seemed to care if I shot photos. No even the time that I climbed up on stage and shot customers shooting dollars into the bra of a dancer.

A wise female security guard there once told me in Spanish, " Men are stupid. They work all week and give it all to la nalgona in a few hours."

Yeah. I miss the nalgona.

Photos and text by Foto Devil.

Already a user?Log in

Thanks for reading!

Register to continue

Become a Member

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from L.A. TACO

Spot Check: Colombian Desgranados In Echo Park, Mexican Wine Festival At Mírate, and Perverted Waffles in DTLA

Plus, a party highlighting pan-African cuisine, a new Taiwanese cookbook by an awarded local from the San Gabriel Valley, and a Little Saigon food festival that starts tonight! Welcome back to Spot Check!

September 22, 2023

This 24-Year-Old Latina Mortician Beautifies the Dead and Influences the Living

Growing up in Arleta with a first-generation family from El Salvador, Berrios admits that her family only embraced her career choice two years ago, after she started to win awards like “Young Funeral Director of the Year.” The 24-year-old works as the licenced funeral director and embalmer at Hollywood Forever cemetery. As a young person born in peak Generation Z, she's documented her deathcare journey on TikTok and has accrued more than 43K followers on the platform. 

September 21, 2023

Meet ‘Carnitas Rogelio,’ The Family-Run Stand With The Best Michoacán-Style Carnitas O.C. Has to Offer

Michoacán-raised Rogelio Gonzalez slices the cuerito (the pig skin) in a checkered pattern to ensure a light crunch in each bite and utilizes every part of the pig, from the feet to the liver and intestines, which he binds together in a braid. 

September 20, 2023

‘The Office’ Star Rainn Wilson Brought Jerk Chicken Tacos to the Picket Lines Outside of Paramount Studios

In three hours, D's Tipsy Tacos and her team passed out “roughly 100 plates” of tacos, burritos, rice, beans, nachos, and quesadillas to striking screenwriters and actors.

September 19, 2023

Five Common Plants to Avoid When Creating Your Green Spaces in L.A.

Almost every time I visit a property with landscaping issues, the problem starts with bad design: the wrong plants in the wrong place. Here's advice from a third-generation L.A. landscaper and noted taco expert.

September 19, 2023
See all posts