Escape the taco rut: Try quesotacos, birria tatemada, blue corn

By Evan Kleiman

The suadero taco is Jorge Gaviria’s favorite at Ditroit in downtown LA’s Arts District. Photo courtesy of Ditroit.

Tacos, we love you. And yet often we get stuck in a rut, visiting the same stands or trucks over and over which is a good thing. Businesses need regulars and we all appreciate the comfort of repetition. But today we’re going to throw out a few more ideas in our quest to provide you with more fodder for getting your grub on, taco-wise. 

Today I thought I would share taco recommendations from one very special person: Jorge Gaviria of Masienda. Masienda imports heirloom corn varieties from small farmers in Mexico. This quality corn is being embraced by chefs across the country. Madeleine spoke with Jorge recently about his project and his new cookbook Masa. Good Food is doing an entire hour about masa. 

Here are a few of Jorge’s favorite tacos in LA. Both Ditroit and Anajak use tortillas made from the corn he brings from Mexico. They are not two-dollar tacos. For comfort, he leans toward Villas Tacos and Birria el Jalisciense.

Ditroit - DTLA Arts District
-Ditroit is famed chef Enrique Olvera’s taco window with good outdoor seating. Jorge’s choice is the Suadero taco. Suadero is a Mexican beef cut from the belly of the steer. My choice is the Chile Relleno taco. I also think their churros are the best in the city.

Anajak Thai’s dry-aged fish taco is only available on Thai Taco Tuesdays. Photo courtesy of Anajak Thai.

Anajak - Sherman Oaks
-It may seem strange to seek out a taco at a Thai restaurant, but this is LA after all, well Sherman Oaks to be specific. Anajak was recently named Restaurant of the Year by the LA Times. Their Taco Tuesdays have become legendary. Jorge’s pick is the dry aged fish taco. 

Here is one of Villas Taco’s abundant quesotacos. You can customize toppings from their extensive salsa bar. Photo courtesy of Villas Tacos.

Villas Tacos - Highland Park
-Villa’s is known for their Dodger-inspired blue corn quesotacos. These beauties start off with a crunchy griddled cheese layer before the protein of your choice is spooned in topped by all the things you love. You can further customize at their extensive salsa bar. Order the taco trio.

The star of the taco at Birria el Jalisciense is birria tatemada in which goat meat is steamed, then roasted. Photo courtesy of Birria el Jaliciense.

Birria el Jalisciense - Boyle Heights
-Appearing only on Saturdays is the birria tatemada, making braised goat that is then finished in the oven and turned into tacos. Check Instagram to be sure this provisional stand will be there the Saturday you plan to go. Thank Jorge for the experience.