I’m starting to think that tacos in Los Angeles are like pizza in New York. They’re cheap. They’re everywhere. They can be a meal, or a snack, a lunch, or a super late night stomach filler. Quality varies wildly, but it’s hard to find a truly horrendous version of either. You’ll see some people order one, most lunch specials include 2, but 3 is the number most pros go for. And nobody is ever going to agree on who makes the best version. You can get satisfying $1 versions of both, and seeing either cost more than $2.50 kind of makes my blood boil. And yet, occasionally, we find it in our hearts to accept a version of each that costs more than it should. Whether it’s because of expensive ingredients, or expert craftsmanship, the lowly taco or lowly slice can occasionally be elevated to a level that is worthy of spending $3+.
I don’t know enough about regional Mexican food to really pass judgment on most places (I leave that to this guy), but I do know this: the newly open Tinga (on La Brea just north of 3rd) is one of those “worth it” places. And I can say that because it isn’t trying to be an “authentic” (whatever that means) divey taqueria, or a hipster fast casual place trying to make Mexican food palatable to white people. They’re just making food that tastes awesome.