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This Oaxacan Taco Truck in a Comic Book Store Parking Lot Makes L.A.’s Most Gigantic Tacos

10:15 AM PDT on October 8, 2020

[dropcap size=big]W[/dropcap]elcome to Culver City, home of the new big-ass taco. 

At Tacos del Valle’s taco truck, you’ll find a selection of tacos and burritos as well as tlayudas, memelas, huaraches, and their Crocodile Dundee version of “that’s not a taco, this is a taco.” 

It may sound like a gimmick, but this is not an oversized tortilla stuffed with five pounds of asada, salsa, and every influencer’s Instagram dream. It’s a legitimate taco of tlayuda proportions born in a comic book store’s parking lot out of a longing for the fresh tortillas of owner-operator Maria Bautista’s home, Santana del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico. 

The tortilla is the size of the paper plate it’s served on, handmade, and rubbed with asiento (chicharrón paste)). Through each bite, it is as soft as it is sturdy. Black refried beans are rubbed on it, covered in quesillo, cabbage, and a protein before it’s folded. Tasajo, cecina, or chorizo are the preferred options, “the most typical ones of Oaxaca,” Bautista tells L.A. Taco. 

Essentially, this taco is a slightly smaller-sized tlayuda built instead with a large, freshly handmade tortilla and guacamole. As big as this taco is, you could probably eat two if you have the munchies or an almost guaranteed craving for seconds. 

It’s not just the size that’s large. The flavor is bold, the bites are smooth, and the added bright red salsa is inviting. The most important part? It won't fall apart on you, and it won’t sit as heavy in your belly as you’d expect. 

We asked Bautista about this taco’s origin story, and she tells us (translated), “In Santana del Valle, we make tortillas fresh daily, [my husband and I] said, ok let’s do it here. My husband made one, he liked it, and we added it to the menu. From there comes the name, Taco Del Valle, because it’s fresh, like the tacos from El Valle.” 

When asked if this is a style of taco that existed in her hometown, she replied, “No, it’s a creation from my husband’s and myself.” 

Bautista has been living in the Venice area for 30 years. Her husband, Gustavo Cruz, operates their original truck on Grandview Avenue and Venice Boulevard during the evenings. That truck has been around for 16 years. 

For the last three months, she’s operated the new truck, their second one, during the day in the parking lot of Dream World Comics at Washington Boulevard and Centinela Avenue. Inside the truck, you’ll find her son-in-law, Melchol Morales, taking orders. Today, her two daughters, Ana Maritza and Diana Alicia-Cruz have the day off. 

There’s a large tent for shade, some socially distant tables, and isles of comic books and collectibles just a few feet away, a great place to bring kids or your nerdy partner for out of this world comics and tacos. 

Eventually, this big-ass taco is one of those things that tlayuda vendors everywhere will learn about and have a “Why didn’t I think of that” moment. Taqueros will inevitably replicate it, but we’ll remember that Maria Bautista and Gustavo Cruz are the original parents of “El Taco del Valle.” 

Tacos del Valle has two locations. Follow them on Instagram to get the details.

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