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The 6th St Bridge Taquerías: Meet the New Pop-Ups That Set Up Shop On Both Sides

On one side of the bridge you have a husband-and-wife duo making a fried tamal with meat and cheese already mashed into the corn. And on the other side, another married couple making old-school shrimp cocktails for traditionalists and a chorizo taco made with octopus.

1:19 PM PDT on June 23, 2023

    A taco de asada and a taco de chicharrón at Tacos de Canasta

    A plate of tacos from Tacos de Canasta

    Even on a gloomy June day in East Los Angeles, there are great street tacos on both sides of the 6th Street bridge. As one may expect, pop-ups on each side are quite different, bringing a regional tortilla flair with a wide variety of meats, salsas, and sazón.

    Where 6th Street becomes Whittier on the Boyle Heights side of the bridge, you can find Tacos de Canasta every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 2 PM until 11 PM. The stand is run by a husband-and-wife duo from Sinaloa. Their operation has been up and running for about eight months, and they’ve chosen their spot right at the end of the bridge and directly across from 7-11 because of the foot traffic that the bridge brings. They say business is good but they’ve seen other operations come and go.

    The taco de chicharrón is the perfect blend of salty and sweet. With all fixings laid out on the roadside, you dress your taco how you like. The guacamole is spectacular, with the perfect shade of green and kick. 

    Maria Elena of Tacos de Canasta (by John Reardon Dowd)

    You can sit at a friendly table and chat with Maria Elena, who is ready with good conversation and a friendly smile. The colored tablecloths and the delicious smells wafting from Tacos de Canasta feel like a beacon in a particularly industrial spot. Maria Elena’s optimism is contagious even when a teen comes by and attempts to pay for a plate of tacos with prop money.

    Maria Elena is still certain that Tacos de Canasta will have a brick-and-mortar joint in the future. She thinks there’s plenty of room for a taco joint on the Boyle Heights side of town. The immediate area surrounding the bridge feels like a food desert save for the 7-11.

    Fried tamal with meat and cheese already mashed into the corn from Tacos de Canasta (by John Reardon Dowd)

    The standout at Tacos de Canasta is the freshly made fried tamal with meat and cheese already mashed into the corn. When it’s dipped in piping hot oil right before you, the corn, cheese, and meat get fried to crispy perfection. Tacos de Canasta is extremely budget-friendly. Two tacos and a tamal will run you for just $6.50. 

    On the other side of the bridge, there’s a totally different taco experience.

    At Mariscos Mares, you’ll find an old-school shrimp cocktail for traditionalists and “tacos for the next generation of people,” as owner Victor puts it. Victor wanted to put his own spin on chorizo con papas, so he substituted the chorizo with octopus and served it up beautifully with caramelized onions and tomatillo.

    “I set up on this side because I wanted to feed the artists. Also, my mom used to work around here, and I like that about this place. I wanted to try something elevated with my food. I also noticed there were no other seafood trucks, so there’s a need.” 

    Victor of Mariscos Mares

    A pineapple agua fresca is the perfect way to wash down the sweet and savory taco delicacy. And at $10.50, it’s also a budget-friendly meal. But if you recently watched “My Octopus Teacher,” Victor always has a market fish of the day. The market fish was mahi-mahi on our visit, but the octopus won’t let you miss chorizo for a second.

    The Mariscos Mares truck (by John Reardon Dowd)
    The octopus chorizo taco from Mariscos Mares (by John Reardon Dowd)

    Mariscos Mares has an Instagram to let you know when they will be in the Arts District, but the current schedule is most days (unless a church function calls). The official address listed for their truck is: 660 Mateo Street. 

    The truck is also run by a husband-and-wife duo—Victor and Leticia. Victor is more chatty as Leticia works the grill. The truck has been in business for about seven months. Victor muses on the experience so far: “The two sides of the bridge, they are still two different worlds,” Victor tells L.A. TACO. “I set up on this side because I wanted to feed the artists. Also, my mom used to work around here, and I like that about this place. I wanted to try something elevated with my food. I also noticed there were no other seafood trucks, so there’s a need.” 

    Victor says the truck plans to remain by the bridge. He’s found business to be solid, although he also mentioned seeing other operations come and go. “I’ll stay, though. I like the people here.”

    The 6th Street bridge just as the June gloom begins to clear. (by John Reardon Dowd)

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