>> Betty's Tacos Y Quesadillas | Eat the World Los Angeles

Monday, 3 May 2021

Betty's Tacos Y Quesadillas

MÉXICO 🇲🇽
(PUEBLA)

COVID-19 UPDATE: The stand is operating normally and there are tented tables to sit at. The areas to order, pickup food, and use the condiment tables are quite crowded. This spot is not recommended for those that are still at risk.

On a sunny day when the San Fernando Swap Meet is in operation (Tuesdays and Thursday-Sunday), an approach on Glenoaks Blvd. from the south will reveal quite a few tents and so many options for eating even before you get to the largest swap meet in the Valley. One operation in front of and basically blocking a business called Battery Power, is a Pueblan barbacoa specialist that goes by the name of Betty's Tacos Y Quesadillas.

The multiple tents and crowds gathering in and around them are the type that make you immediately need to stop your vehicle and join in. There is not so much of a system or "right" way of doing things here, but finding anyone to make eye contact with along the long line of grills and prep areas usually leads to getting an order in. Then keep your eyes on seats freeing up and your ears directed towards the planchas as they may have questions and confirmations directed your way.

The rare moment the crowd disperses.

There is no shortage of people walking down these blocks of Glenoaks on swap meet days. The company that runs it boasts of 1000 vendor spaces and a weekly attendance of 26,000 people. Because of this, purveyors of Michoacán-style carnitas, elotes and esquites, freshly-macheted coconuts, and much more line the boulevard tempting passersby.

You may see some old signage that says "Bety's" and focuses more on barbacoa, but the extra T in the name seems to be permanent now, as well as putting more weight on their quesadillas. This makes sure that those that are not fans of the lamb dish are well taken care of also.

In the end the rebranding hides two things that everyone you should make sure to sample from here: barbacoa estilo Puebla and huaraches, of which more will be spoken later. No matter what you want, the ladies at the far southern end of the operation will pull masa from buckets and make an appropriate batch of tortillas for your order after it is placed.

The barbacoa can be ordered by the pound or thrown on huaraches or inside cheesy quesadillas, but on a first visit they were ordered on simple tacos ($3 each, above). Each of these will have one of those fresh tortillas made for it, slightly puffy and thicker than a standard version and adequate for holding everything. An enormous amount of lean goat meat is thrown on, after which you can take them to the salsa bar.

Los Angeles barbacoa is not cooked overnight in earthen oven pits, but this feels close. The meat is tender and wonderful, so be sparse with your salsa adornments as they are not so necessary. The three tacos above could not be finished immediately, the last portion of meat enjoyed later in the evening.


On that first visit, huaraches were made with blue masa and so many were being ordered that a return was necessary to give them a try. These are so large that they require a couple passes through the tortilla press to make sure it flattens out on each side. Blue masa was not on offer the second visit, but the tortillas were still impressive. Maybe a bit thinner than a standard huarache, but filled with whole black beans and griddled nicely to a crispy state.

A huarache mixto ($12, above) easily feeds two and is a good way to sample more than one meat. Other customers all seemed to be using the cecina, so that was an easy choice and wonderful, while unfortunately the carnitas is just so so. Grab that from the vendor down the street when you are in the mood. The meats are placed on a base of salsa, onions, cilantro, and a sprinkling of crumbly cheese.

While not the size or shape of a sandal (maybe a snowshoe though!), the tortilla is so enjoyable here to tear off pieces and wrap around bits of meat. Grab some more salsa if desired, and one of many aguas frescas they offer, and dig in with your friends and family after a morning of bargain hunting in the swap meet.

📍 11818 Glenoaks Blvd., San Fernando, San Fernando Valley

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