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Taco News Round Up: Inside the Narco-Taco Spot & More

Leo's Tacos.

Leo’s Tacos.

Ruben Vives at the L.A. Times has a deep dive into Tacos Los Desvelados, a Maywood taqueria that takes its inspiration from the Narco culture in Mexico. The piece is light on food reviews but heavy on the opinions of the locals on this kind of restaurant:

"EL CHAPITO GUZMAN" Y "LA FUGA", LOS TACOS QUE TRIUNFAN EN LOS ÁNGELES

"We have narco-corridos, so why not narco-tacos?" said Fabricio Ramirez, who opened the restaurant.

Wedged between a doughnut shop and a tax preparation business, the restaurant's chalk menu includes the burrito named after Colombian drug boss Pablo Escobar and nachos named after Ignacio Coronel "Nacho" Villarreal, one of four leaders of the Sinaloa cartel. There's also a quesadilla named after Sandra "The Queen of the Pacific" Beltrán, an ex-beauty queen once accused of having ties to the cartel.

"It was weird to see the tables, the décor and how the food had been named after narco-traficantes," said Maywood Councilman Eduard De La Riva. "It's geared more toward the younger generation that grew up with these figures in the news. You have telenovelas, movies, TV shows. One of the most popular shows on Netflix is 'Narcos.' And there's nonstop coverage of 'El Chapo' and his escapades.

We first heard of this restaurant when Bill Esparza reviewed it for L.A. Magazine back in March. The owner has also garnered a ton of stories in the Spanish-language press from as far away as Bolivia and Argentina.

Speaking of James Beard award winner Bill "Street Gourmet" Esparza, there has always been a special place in his heart for Mexican seafood. He's also exacting when it comes to execution, so you can be doubly sure his recommendation of El Sinaloense #2 is beyond solid. After discussing the differences between the original and the new #2 location in Paramount, we get to why this makes the Taco News Roundup:

The tacos gobernador, a stew of spicy shrimp and vegetables, melted cheese and Mexican cream in which the taco is prepared and finished on the grill until the tortilla is lightly crispy and has a nice char comes as advertised, 100% sinaloense (Sinaloan). I’d always assumed, incorrectly so, that this second branch would be the same and there was no need to go anywhere else than the HP location; they do have all those hearty classics from the original location but the seafood section of the menu is like having two restaurants in one. The gobernador at El Sinaloense #2, named after a former Sinaloan governor captures the flavors of the smoky taquerias of Culiacan, which is reason to visit this branch, where you get 100% sinaloense and a little more.

Over at Eater LA, they let us know that El Gringo, an Americanized Mexican place in the South Bay, will add a fourth location in El Segundo.

The LA Weekly's Sara Rashkin has an excellent list from last week-- The 10 Best Vegetarian Tacos in L.A, which includes some of the very best tacos in this city, period.

Heading back to the L.A. Times, Amy Scattergood lets us know that the hot new thing is "French Fry Tacos," of which they say:

OK, they're not actually called French fry tacos, but that's exactly what they are: two corn tortillas loaded with chiles, onions and salsa — and French fries. Ricardo Diaz, the chef-owner of Colonia Publica in Whittier, who put the dish on his menu about three months ago, calls them Diablo Tacos, referencing not so much the sauteed chiles as the habanero pumpkin seed salsa, which is so hot that Diaz says he doesn't eat the stuff himself.

Anything Ricardo does we pretty much love, and pumpkin seed habanera salsa sounds amazing. Have you tried these? Drop a line in the comments if so...

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