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These Were L.A. TACO’s Own Favorite L.A. Tacos of 2022

2:42 PM PST on December 22, 2022

Tacos Lionydas

Here's wishing everyone happy holidays and a terrific New Year! Before we go, we wanted to make sure everyone had their fill of tacos for the next week, so we asked L.A. TACO's staff what their favorite tacos of the year were. Here's what everyone had to say.

Javier Cabral, Editor: "The first taco that comes to mind when asked this loaded question is Tacos Lionydas in Long Beach, but primarily for personal reasons. 2022 was a big year for me because I moved to Long Beach from Highland Park. There were some okay tacos here, but I had to get used to the fact that there weren't any truly L.A.-quality tacos here. And then, outta absolute nowhere, the Taco Gods blessed me with Lionel and his excellent stand about a mile away from my new home. He is an immigrant from Oaxaca's Mixe region and part of L.A. County's new al pastor generation—led by Indigenous peoples. He is there for you late at night when most other spots have closed with his extremely tender lengua or cabeza tacos and highly seasoned al pastor. If you get there around dinnertime, there may be a wait but it is always worth it."

Lexis-Olivier Ray, Staff Reporter: "Tacos Los Cholos is a marriage of two of my loves: tacos and prime beef. After hearing about them first through L.A. TACO’s ‘Hangin’ With Taqueros’ YouTube series, I finally got to try Los Cholos after I found myself hungry in Orange County, after giving a lecture on my photography work at Chapman University. Tacos Los Cholos has three different cuts of “prime” beef: skirt steak, costilla, and cecina. And if you really want to treat yourself, they have their premium cuts of 1855 Black Angus Filet Mignon or Ribeye. They’re the only taco place I’ve been to where they ask you want your asada cooked medium rare. These tacos aren’t cheap but damn they’re good!"

Janette Villafana, Staff Reporter: "My favorite taco, that's always a tough question, and not to copy our editor in chief, but I have to agree that this year it's Tacos Lionydas in Long Beach. In fact, because of them, I have fallen in love with al pastor estilo Oaxaca. I am a huge al pastor fan but had never tried trompo estilo Oaxaca and the flavor is just on point. Aside from their great taco options I just love to see the hustle of a good taco stand. Despite being shut down earlier this year, the taco stand has persisted and has only gotten more popular and has received an incredible amount of support from its Long Beach community."

El Huarachito

Memo Torres, Director of Partnerships: “Regarding tacos, I’m like the kid you take to the beach for the first time who wants to collect every pretty sea shell they come across. Ask them which is their favorite, and they’ll sit there changing their mind as their pudgy fingers sift through their collection. While I can’t decide on a favorite taco of the year, I can tell you my favorite restaurant that I tried: El Huarachito in Lincoln Heights. El Huarachito serves Mexican comfort food and is my favorite place of the year. The only thing I love more than a good taco is a good guisado paired with an aromatic cafe de olla. After all, a good guisado is the precursor to the old-school taco, known today as a burrito. Carne en su jugo, costillas en salsa de molcajete, chicharron, and picadillo are more than just hearty stews bathing in rich liquid flavor. The guisados are Esther’s expressions of life, happiness, and vitality. Throw in Esther’s hospitality, energy, and good humor, and they take me back to those moments I miss the most, with my mom spoiling me in the kitchen.”

Samantha Nunez, Director of Marketing and Social Media: "My favorite taco of the year in L.A., which is arguably the best carnitas spot in Los Angeles, is a taco de buche from Carnitas El Artista. I found myself hitting them up every time I needed a solid taco that never missed. Their buche in particular is my favorite but I always get a second taco mixta because the bits of crispy chicharon give it a nice crunch.”

Snow's Barbecue brisket taco

Hadley Tomicki, Deputy Editor: "I staggered into taco paradise in Orange County this summer at Heritage Barbecue’s Craft Barbecue Invitational. Legendary pitmasters from all over Texas and California were smoking meats together, and everybody seemed to be making Mexican food with it. The tacos with Snow’s brisket were unforgettable. I had so many excellent tacos in L.A. this year, and even some acceptable ones in Hawaii, but for me, the best I had were at a party we threw for L.A. TACO members at our studio. Memo and Javier were grilling asada, chicken, and chorizo over charcoal, and we were filling corn and flour tortillas at fast as we could. Like a crooked banker in The Game of Life, that meant a significant number of very meaty tacos campechanos fell of the truck and eventually, into my mouth over the night. But more than anything, the whole team was there, working, partying, and meeting the wonderful people who support the site together. A lot of the best tacos I’ve had in L.A. are in times like that, a chilly night warmed slightly by a hot grill and the lingering smoke and heat of a salsa roja in your mouth, sharing filling food, beer, and mezcal with family and friends on the tail end of some hard work. Taco paradise exists in many forms.”

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