El Chato Taco Truck
Parking lot on the Southwest Corner of Olympic and La Brea, Los Angeles, CA
Monday through Saturday, 8pm – 3am (closed on Sunday)
With it’s large Hispanic population, Los Angeles has a plethora of Taco Trucks in just about every neighborhood. After dark, there are streets in East LA where you’d often find 2 or 3 taco trucks parked next to each other, more or less offering the same basic items. El Chato is in my Top 5 of taco trucks in the Southland. Their menu is basic: tacos, burritos or quesadillas, offering 8 meat choices – Asada, Lengua, Pastor, Pollo, Buche, Cabesa, Tripa and Chorizo. All tacos are only a $1, including their Lengua, which can cost $1.50 or more at other taco trucks or stands. Burritos are $4. Each order is cooked to perfection, with a generous portion of your choice of meat. When eating on the premises, your tacos/burritos will come on a heavy duty paper plate (not the flimsy ones that leak) with radishes and limes, and occasionally sautéed onions and peppers. They offer 2 types of salsas – a spicy fiery red and a medium salsa verde. Extra credit goes to El Chato as it’s one of the cleanest trucks I’ve seen – the cheerful English/Spanish speaking staff wears kitchen gloves and keeps the truck and counter clean. I generally order the moist perfectly seasoned Al Pastor and juicy but not fatty Lengua. The Carne Asada is very lean; and the Tripe is tender. 2-3 tacos per order is plenty satisfying and filling before or after a night out. There’s always a line and sometimes a long wait, particularly if you show up after Midnight on Friday or Saturday. El Chato only accepts cash. And for those of you in search of cheap gas, the Arco Gas Station across the street is one of the better deals in LA.