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Gustavo’s Great Tortilla Tournament 11 MIN, 12 SEC

Los Angeles is a destination for freshly made tortillas. So, we’ve assembled a crack team of judges to try 64 locally made corn and flour tortillas to narrow down the best in the region. Introducing “Gustavo’s Great Tortilla Tournament.” Follow along by checking out our NCAA-style bracket.

Making Masa 4 MIN, 40 SEC

At Boyle Heights’ Carnitas Uruapan, Eddie de la Torre sells the fresh masa for his brother’s delicious tortillas at Guisados, the taqueria next door. He details what goes into the process of making perfect masa and what to cook with it.

Tortillas in Los Angeles 7 MIN, 27 SEC

Curious what makes an trophy-worthy tortilla? Evan Kleiman was, too. To prepare for the upcoming tortilla tournament, she asks Bill Esparza to share his James Beard Award-winning wisdom on the landscape of tortilla making in the greater LA area.

The ancient chemistry inside your taco 15 MIN, 57 SEC

When you bite into a taco, huarache, or a fresh corn tortilla, you’re tasting the results of an ancient chemical process called nixtamalization and dates back to 1500 BCE. The science podcast “Distillations” went  into this process in 2016. Rigoberto Hernandez reported from Philadelphia.

An 1836 lithograph of tortilla production in rural Mexico. Photo credit: Public domain.

Daniel Hernandez: Jonathan Gold on El Parian 8 MIN, 1 SEC

We continue to remember Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Jonathan Gold. L.A. Taco’s Daniel Hernandez recalls taking Jonathan and his spouse Laurie Ochoa on a taco crawl in Guadalajara, Mexico. Hernandez says Gold’s photographic memory of street tacos in Mexico informed his review of the Guadalajara-style restaurant El Parian in Los Angeles.

L.A. Taco editor, Daniel Hernandez. Photo by Zocalo Public Square/2009.

Guerrilla Tacos 9 MIN, 7 SEC

How is “a fat kid from Pico Rivera, turned DJ, turned teamster, turned fine-dining cook, turned DIY-food-truck chef” changing the taco game in L.A? In October 2017, Evan Kleiman spoke with chef and taquero Wes Avila to learn about his career, recipes, and brick-and-mortar restaurant that recently opened in the Arts District after months of anticipation.

Sweet potato tacos with almond salsa from chef Wes Avila’s first cookbook. Photo credit: DYLAN + JENI.

Guerrilla Tacos

Wesley Avila

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