Tacomiendo – Culver City, CA

Food Adventures, Los Angeles

Los Angeles is home to arguably the largest Hispanic community in the US. With the immigration comes authentic culinary traditions and that means, dear readers, that we Angelenos are blessed to have some of the most incredible Mexican food in the country. The best taco in LA is a contentious topic, as is the best burger in LA, but many will agree that Tacomiendo, a humble little storefront in Del Rey / Mar Vista, serves up some of the best.

Carne Asada and Lengua Tacos al Carbon

Carne Asada and Lengua Tacos al Carbon

Situated right at the bustling intersection of Culver and Inglewood Boulevards, Tacomiendo blends into its ordinary strip mall; blink and you just might miss it. Parking is a free-for-all but if you manage to snag one of the coveted spaces (or park in the neighborhood streets and walk), enter the doors to find a shoebox-sized venue boasting about 8 or 9 tables. Turn right and you’ll find a large poster of the menu and just below it, a friendly cashier waiting to take your order.

A Trio of Tacos with Horchata

A Trio of Tacos with Horchata

If you’re lucky, look just past her and you might see someone making fresh corn tortillas by hand, one of Tacomiendo’s claims to fame. The menu can be overwhelming with options varying from plates to tortas to burritos to quesadillas to burgers and even smoothies. We, however, always stick to the tacos al carbon — street-style tacos with a corn tortilla base, piled high with meats, and served plain. You are left to your own devices in terms of toppings, which is great because Tacomiendo has an awesome salsa bar.

Tacos Pescado

Tacos Pescado

Martin is a big fan of tried-and-true, so he will order two or three tacos pescado, depending on how hungry he is. Fillets of white fish, grilled to order and generously flaked onto the corn tortillas, these are way better (in our humble opinions) than the battered and fried Baja style fish tacos ubiquitous in so-called California cuisine. The fish is always well seasoned with a smoky hint of char on the edges. Perfect for pairing with fresh pico de gallo, a squeeze of lime, and a sprinkling of chopped cilantro. Salsa verde is another good option.

Tacos. (From left to right: Carnitas, Lengua, and Pescado)

Tacos. (From left to right: Carnitas, Lengua, and Pescado)

I’ve bounced around my menu selections. The carnitas, succulent and meaty option with juicy cubes of braised pork, taste great topped with chopped onions, chopped cilantro, and roasted ancho chili salsa roja. The carne asada tacos are a safe choice with the grilled marinated beef lending itself well to a combination of pico de gallo and salsa roja.

Tacos - Lengua and Carne Asada

Tacos – Lengua and Carne Asada

My favorite, however, is the lengua (tongue). Slow cooked and braised until each bite is melt-in-your-mouth tender, I was in awe the first time I tried the lengua here. It was among the best preparation of lengua I’d ever had. It takes all of my willpower not to pick out each bit of lengua to eat on its own, no tortilla, no toppings, nothing. But, I must resist, because nestled in the corn tortilla and slathered with cilantro, lime, and salsa roja, the lengua taco becomes something absolutely magical.

Another trio of tacos, this time with cantaloupe agua fresca

Another trio of tacos, this time with cantaloupe agua fresca

Martin will splurge his daily caloric intake on the medio litro (half liter) of “Mexican coke” — Coca Cola produced with cane sugar and not a drop of high fructose corn syrup. Some people can’t taste the difference but we have a strong preference for the legit stuff. Meanwhile, I’ll be happily slurping down one of the many agua fresca options. Fresh cantaloupe juice and watermelon juice abound in the summertime, while horchata is a favorite that’s served year-round. Go for the large… it’s so good, you’ll still want more!

If you’re in the mood for Mexican, I recommend swinging by Tacomiendo. Some people say it doesn’t have the right ambiance for a date night (what with the plastic tablecloths and all), but I’d say it’s the perfect place for an adventurous, food-loving date to uncover a new hole-in-the-wall. Just remember to bring cash (they accept credit cards but I think it’s a $10 minimum and since the food is so cheap, you may not quite reach it!).

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Check out Tacomiendo: tacomiendo.net

4502 Inglewood Blvd
Culver City, CA 90230

See their Yelp reviews here!

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