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These Musicos-Turned-Taqueros Went From Working with Prince and J.Lo to Serving Juicy Asada in the Streets of Whittier

[dropcap size=big]A[/dropcap] trio of Latino musical directors and musicians who have worked with the industry’s biggest acts now find themselves working a plancha to create the hottest new street tacos built with their own flour tortillas, bulgogi, asada, and chicken tinga. 

How much more Los Angeles can you take? 

With tours and concerts canceled, Bryant Siono, Fabian Chavez, and Joe Mendez found themselves kicking it over some carne asada almost a year ago when one of them said, “Let’s do a taco pop-up.” In quintessential fooness, the “if you’re down, I’m down” exchange quickly led to them all pulling up their socks and starting “Tacos y Que” the next day. They were only trying to do something fun until the concert scene picked back up. Little did they know their tacos would go on to be the next big hit. 

Siono, from East L.A., was the Musical Director for Jennifer Lopez. He last helped J.Lo put together her show in Las Vegas. He’s also played with Prince, Chris Brown, Backstreet Boys, and others. He’s currently helping produce the music for FOX’s “The Masked Singer.” Chavez, from Downey, is a producer and saxophonist who’s worked with artists like Mac Miller, Maluma, and Saint Motel. And Mendez, also from L.A., recently ran far away with Flock of Seagulls as their drummer. He also plays with the local group The Reel Band. 

Bulgogi taco from Tacos y Que. Photo by Memo Torres for L.A. TACO.

But now, instead of dropping beats, they’re grilling meats, pouring salsas, and flipping tortillas while DJ plays Celia Cruz for a fast-growing crowd that cares less about who they’ve worked with and more about the burly tacos this new band of taqueros has created. 

They have one secret menu taco, and it’s not for the weak of pansa. It’s tasty, juicy, packed with heat, and served with a blistered chile serrano.

The main tune to their tacos starts with their Sonoran-style flour tortilla. “It’s our secret weapon,” they tell us. From the onset, they all agreed they wanted to distinguish themselves from other tacos. “We didn’t want to just throw onions and cilantro on our tacos,” says Siono. “Yeah, we wanted to avoid the birria trend,” adds Chávez.

They worked with La Princessa in East L.A., who is now the exclusive producer of these chewy and buttery tortillas. Chavez tells L.A. Taco, “We wanted to go with that because they have a different texture and flavor.” Siono adds, “We put a lot of thought and time into perfecting this tortilla recipe. We wanted to have the right amount of manteca to keep them hot and flavorful.” 

Every tortilla is first heated and slapped over some cheese melting on the grill. The asada is marinated, limed, and salted and grilled on the flat top, sacrificing that charred fire flavor of a traditional carne asada for a burst of juicy meat instead in every bite. It gets an additional dash of special sauce, onions, cilantro, a spoonful of creamy guacamole, and topped with julienned pickled red onions. The chicken tinga is a slow-cooked success with chipotle balanced with a lime-avocado-cilantro cream and red pickled onions. And the sweet and savory bulgogi is topped with a crunchy and spicy coleslaw made with roasted corn, carrots, red cabbage, crema Mexicana, lime, and some garlic chile. 

Vegan or not, do not sleep on their veggie taco. This seasoned potato blended with soyrizo and served on a blue corn tortilla will make any meat lover a believer with its rich, pulp flavor. If you are a strict vegan, you’ll have to stick to the blue corn, but if you’re a flexitarian, ask for it on their flour tortilla. It’s a convincing soyrizo taco.

They have one secret menu taco, and it’s not for the weak of pansa. It’s tasty, juicy, packed with heat, and served with a blistered chile serrano. Ask for the steak picado, and make sure you have some of their refreshing horchata or agua de pepino ready. If you can handle the heat, it won’t be that bad, but like their slogan says, “They just hit different.”

Follow their IG for their pop-up schedule and locations. 

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