This Hidden Truck In SELA Has Some Of LA’s Best Carne Asada

The cold, hard truth about eating tacos in Los Angeles after eating your way through Mexico at length is that you will eventually come to realize the differences between the American taco way of life and the Mexican taco way of life very quickly. .

The latter tends to trade freshness for convenience or quality for cost-effectiveness; it’s an understandable trade-off for the greater good. The reality is, it’s good enough to appease most taco aficionados. But for the truly taco-obsessed, the taco snobs, and anyone lucky enough to eat tacos aquí y alla, it gets harder to achieve that tortilla, meat, and salsa feeling of euphoria.

In LA, I’m ecstatic to report that the list of taqurías achieving this boss level taco mastery seems to be growing every year. El Ruso, Los Dorados LA, Sonoratown, Ditroit, just to name a few are at the top of this list. These are the kind of legendary taco places you can take someone from Mexico to, and they would be hard-pressed to find anything worth talking masa about.

And now LA TACO recognizes new taquero to achieve this transnational excellence: Tacos La Carreta, specializing in Sinaloa style carne asada tacos.

José Manuel Morales Bernal has been flying low on the South and Southeast LA taco scene for seven years, selling tacos everywhere from Compton to Paramount to Bellflower to the current super-industrial location in the far north of Long Beach, where he now makes his taco. truck parks .

What makes La Carreta float among LA’s sea of ​​amazing taqueros is Morales’ hyperfocus on asada. It’s the only carne to have the young taquero on the menu, and its heavenly scent attracts people who know what’s in store from all over the county. On a Thursday night there was a mamalona at the end of the street trying to make donuts while a group of four tacuaches picked up tacos from their own flatbed, laughed and ate. Families showed up and ordered a jumbo-sized cup of La Carreta’s toasty, sweet? abarley gua (like horchata, but made with toasted ground barley flour instead of rice; a Sinaloan specialty) for everyone in the family. Other taco-loving vatos who excelled at parallel parking their lowered cars with pronounced spoilers would greet Morales. “Already 100, viejo! Thanks.”

Everyone flocks to La Carreta for their simple tacos, chorreadas, vampiros, quesadillas, ‘papas locas’ and their amazing toritos. But deeper than that, they return to La Carreta for reliably succulent meat, thanks to Morales’ dedication to grilling only sirloin steak for his asada. Not a thinly sliced ​​chuck, known as diesmillo, in sight. Diesmillo is more affordable and tends to be the norm at most LA taquerías, and while it’s undoubtedly delicious smothered in salsa, it’s known for being chewier and more gristly in texture. “A mi no me gusta el diesmillo!” Morales says very soberly. In the northern states of Mexico, bringing diesmillo instead of arrachera (slice beef or “ranchera”) or sirloin steak can be a point of pride and class. There are memes in Mexican pop culture records that mock the homie who comes to a carne asada with a packet of diesmillo but is the first to eat all the arrachera.

“A great taco is all about the quality of the meat and salsa,” Morales says.

Tacos are also a family duty and a cultural obligation for him. While he was born and raised in Paramount, Morales often goes back to Sinaloa. In particular, where his family comes from: El Verde Concordia, a commune of about 1,000 people about an hour’s drive from Mazatlán, known as a breeding ground for working-class taqueros and taqueras. The small town recently set the record for making the “biggest carne asada tacoin Sinaloa. Morales’ sire is also a taquero and continues his lineage. He just got back from a trip there, which is why his tacos taste so damn good right now.

An ideal order at La Carreta is a squirtedThat’s two crispy tortillas layered with delicious asiento (toasted lard drops that taste like browned butter and carnitas, combined), cheese, and that wonderful juicy asada. Than a vampire, which are similar but without asiento and dressed instead with a creamy dressing, a crazy dad, which is a “crazy” baked potato filled with carne asada, cheese and sour cream, and finally a torito, which is an absolutely beautiful charred Anaheim chili that has been buttered and layered with a scant amount of cheese and asada.

The little details Morales puts into his tacos just don’t get enough love. Like the fact that instead of dipping his tortillas in oil to toast them, he instead uses a fatty piece of beef as a brush to gently brush each tortilla, giving each tortilla an extra dose of meaty umami while turning them crisp. . Also, Morales doesn’t serve cilantro on his tacos. Instead, he shreds cabbage super fine like it is done in Sinaloa. This adds a nice vegetal contrast and makes it a worthwhile rare taco in LA that all those people born with taste buds perceive cilantro as “soapy” can have fun. Finally, the salsa is not watered down.

By the way, Morales’ tortillas are from the family business Diana’s Tortilla’s, also from SELA.

When he’s not making great tacos worth making a destination out of, he’s a DIY importer of products from Sinaloan and Sonoran, such as frozen scallop shells known as “callo de hacha,” dried chiles , frozen jumbo shrimp, frozen ahi tuna “medallones” (medallones), and bagged-on-bag dried beef silk that is the basis of a true machaca, a popular Northern Mexican-style guisado. Homesick Sinaloans have been known to come for tacos and leave with a handful of mussels as a souvenir and reminder of home.

Morales is a full-time taquero, but he’s only open Thursday to Sunday nights. He has big dreams to have a few locations soon. “El sol sale para todos,” says Morales, relying on the powerful Mexican dicho who is as full of wisdom as his succulent steak tacos to guide him through his career.

Tacos La Carreta is located at 3401 E. 69th St., Long Beach, (562) 377-2819. follow them up Instagram to see the estimated hours for the day you plan to visit.

All photos by Memo Torres.

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