Guisados – Tacodouche edition – Best Tortillas Ever

19 Feb

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Guisados opened up in Boyle Heights a couple years ago in an old tamale shop. Situated next door to a tortilla maker, the killer app here is fresh masa brought over almost every hour for the freshest, most awesome tortillas ever.

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Guisados is at once very traditional and something new for the neighborhood. The name refers to stewed meats and veggies, the filling for the tacos. The recipes are traditional, nothing new or gringo-ized here. What is new for this neighborhood is the emphasis on fresh ingredients and regional specialties. I’ve eaten at most of the mom and pop burrito shops on this block, and I love the regular $4 carne asada burrito. But you never know how long those beans had been sitting there, and of course that tortilla was store-bought.

The other thing that is new is all the white and Asian people. Armando de la Torre, the owner, says the locals think this place is too expensive – $2.50 for a taco, where $1 is the norm (or 25 cents for a D.F.-style mini street taco). So there is a hipster vibe to the place.

I love the local art Armando hangs in the place, some of which shows iconic local scenes.

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Your first time, you’re going to get the sampler plate. $7 for 6 small tacos. It’s plenty of food for most, and you’ll get six different, interesting flavors. The default is for the first six tacos – steak picado, bisteca en salsa rojo, tinga de pollo, mole poblano, cochinita pibil, chicharron. You can actually ask them to substitute out most other tacos.

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Shockingly, my favorite from the default sampler is the mole. I usually hate mole, probably because the cheap versions I had had were overly chocolatey. This one is smooth and complex.

One thing to note is that the spiciness level at Guisados is no joke. When they say the cochinita pibil goes to 10, they mean it. 5 is plenty spicy. If you think you’re a hotshot, you can ask for a side of the habanero sauce. It is a recipe for pain. Consider yourself warned.

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Once you’ve had the sampler, you can start to figure out your favorites. The regular ones are basically twice as big. Here’s the fish taco, the tinga, and my absolute favorite, the quesadilla.

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The fish taco is good, but it’s not deep fried. That should tell you all you need to know. The veg and crema are excellent, but I miss the deep fried goodness of Tacos Baja Ensenada.

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The quesadilla was recommended by Armando. Good thing because I would have never thought of ordering a quesadilla. But this is special. The cheese is a Oaxacan cheese with a slight tang. They put a mild chipotle crema on it. And then of course the excellent tortilla. They grill the cheese for a nice toasty flavor. Incredible.

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Guisados
2100 Caesar Chavez Ave.,
Los Angeles;
(323) 264-7201

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