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Meet The Taquero From Mazatlán Bringing His Sinaloan-Style Carne Asada to TACO MADNESS This Saturday

L.A.'s best Sinaloan-style asada specialist out of the Long Beach and Bellflower area will bring his juicy, crispy, and umami-packed carne asada vampiros, cachetadas, and roasted chile toritos to our event tomorrow. Plus, a regional Sinaloa-style refreshing agua de cebada. (Like a horchata but made with toasted barley instead of rice).

1:42 PM PDT on May 5, 2023

Photo: Memo Torres

TACO MADNESS, Presented by Bud Light Chelada, is L.A.'s first and biggest taco festival. All of L.A.'s heaviest hitting taquerías will be in one place for one day only! The 21 + event is happening this Saturday, May 6, at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes in downtown Los Angeles. Ticket sales proceeds will support L.A. TACO's award-winning street-level journalism.

Announcing a first-time entrant to our live event and competition: Tacos La Carreta! The Mazatleco family behind this taco truck, on the edge of Long Beach and Paramount, will be slanging their 100% Sinaloense tacos de asada grilled over mesquite.

The taco truck is known for hyper-focusing on one meat and one meat only, juicy, succulent, and mesquite grilled carne asada. Its heavenly smell will surely attract those who know what’s up to come from all corners of the County and straight to TACO MADNESS. 

José Manuel Morales Bernal, the owner of Tacos La Carreta, has been selling his famous tacos throughout Compton, Paramount, Bellflower, and Long Beach for the past seven years.

“A great taco really is all about the quality of meat and the salsa,” Morales told L.A. TACO last year, and the sentiment hasn't changed. “I still believe that a good taco lets the meat shine; sometimes simple is good.”

While the assembly of a Carreta taco is simple, the taco itself is far from it. Every little element, from his runny Sinaloan-style tomato salsa to his salsa Mexicana (what they call "Pico de Gallo" in Sinaloa and Jalisco) is packed with flavor. 

An ideal order at La Carreta is a chorreada, two crisped-up tortillas layered with delicious asiento (toasted lard drippings that taste like browned butter and carnitas, combined), cheese, and that magnificent juicy asada. Then a vampiro, which are similar, but with no asiento, and instead dressed with a creamy dressing, and lastly, a Torito, which is an absolutely beautiful charred Anaheim chile that is sliced open and layered with a scant amount of cheese and asada. 

When it comes to his talents as a taquero, those gifts were passed down from his family, who resides in El Verde Concordia, a municipality of about 1,000 people about an hour away from Mazatlán, known for being an incubator of working-class taqueros and taqueras. The small town is known for holding the record for making the “largest carne asada taco” in Sinaloa. Morales is continuing the lineage of taqueros and following in his father’s footsteps who was also a taquero.

Photo: Memo Torres
Photo: Memo Torres

La Carreta uses only sirloin steak for his asada. He sources his tortillas from family-owned Diana’s Tortillas.

The tiny details Morales puts into his tacos don’t get enough love. Like the fact that instead of dipping his tortillas in oil to toast them, he instead uses a fatty piece of beef like a paintbrush to gently brush every tortilla, boosting each tortilla with an added dose of beefy umami as they crisp up. And although we’re often used to topping tacos with cilantro and onions, Morales instead uses super finely shredded, snow-like cabbage, as it is done in Sinaloa. 

To quench your thirst, La Carreta serves up agua de cebada. It’s toasty and sweet (like horchata, but made with toasted ground barley flour instead of rice, a Sinaloan specialty).

“Be ready to try 100% quality tacos. We are serving something different that I am certain everyone will enjoy,” said Morales. 

Join us for all the tacos, music, and fun at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes starting at 4 PM this Saturday. Tickets are still available here.

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