>> Guerrilla Tacos | Eat the World Los Angeles

Thursday 24 January 2019

Guerrilla Tacos

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EDITOR'S NOTE: An updated version of this article (06 December 2023) is available as part of the Historical section of our Substack page. Check that out here:
The beloved Guerrilla Tacos food truck kept rolling right up to the time the bricks and mortar was ready to open here on 7th Street in the Arts District. Last service for the truck was one week before the doors opened last summer, hardly any time to relax, much less take a vacation. Since the concept began as a food stand in 2012, much had happened and presumably not many vacations were in the offing.

Sometimes part of the fun, or at least the experience of a taco is where you buy and eat it. Longtime patrons of Wes Avila's gourmet tacos were of course ecstatic for his move to a restaurant, but also nervous for their own selfish interests (myself included). The restaurant taco can be a beautiful thing and worth every penny, but that of course means going to a restaurant to eat it rather than standing beside others under the stars. But Mr. Avila never wanted to make tacos at a stand or in a truck. Since July 2018, his dream has come to fruition.

Besides excellent skills in the kitchen, some of the success was always intertwined by the fact that Mr. Avila's food was beloved by Jonathan Gold, who is paid tribute in the corner booth along with his fifth rule of dining in Los Angeles: "The taco honors the truck." A wonderful LA Times article from 2014 even told the story of his phone getting stolen with a crazy percentage of photos on it of tacos from the Guerrilla truck.

For the casual connoisseur of the Los Angeles taco stand, it does take a leap of faith to trust someone to make these Alta California tacos, but if there is anyone to change your mind in favor of adding restaurant tacos into your life, it is probably Mr. Avila.

The taco that might have started it all, and what they will tell you is a signature option at the register is the sweet potato taco ($4, above), perfectly roasted and smothered in fluffy clouds of feta. A surprising crunch is in there too, courtesy of some fried corn kernels. Everything gets tied together with a mild almond chile.

Another favorite from the truck is the Baja fried cod taco ($5, below), battered and fried like tempura and covered in a medium chipotle crema and red cabbage. Both of these two are definitely recommended as an entry to the restaurant.

The pork char xui taco ($5, below) was often available at the truck as well, and seems to have made permanent rotation here at the restaurant. Most interesting about this one is the salty pickled persimmon which adorns the top and would be lovely if turned into its own side dish.

Mr. Avila is also proud of his bar, offering very economical craft cocktails using good liquors and fresh fruit. During our last mid-afternoon visit at the peak of slow time, the bar already had patrons who knew each other and were in good cheer. There is a small little garden area to chill outside when its not January. The Arts District is definitely better off with this new taco restaurant taking roots.


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