Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tacos at Ana Marias

Ana Maria's taco stand has been in the Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles for decades, at least. On a busy weekend day, people crowd around the high glass display counter for a look at what's cooking.

There's no method here, no tidy line-up. You just crowd up to the counter with your cash in hand and try to get someone's attention. Then you order.

Ana Maria's serves tacos with lengua (tongue), buche (hog maws), machaca (shredded stewed beef), al pastor (seasoned rotisseried pork), carnitas (roasted and chopped pork shoulder), pollo (chicken) and carne asada (grilled beef).

In 2008, the L.A. food world was abuzz with consternation. The price of tacos at the Market had gone up, from $2.00 to $2.50!! All three of the Mexican stands - Roast To Go, Tacos Tumbras a Tomas, and Ana Marias - had coordinated a price raise. Scandal! Inflation!

Even so, Ana Maria's is known for its generous tacos. Two tortillas, piled high with meat - onions, cilantro and salsa if you get it with "everything" - a chunk of lime, and an extra tortilla on the side.

Here's two carnitas tacos - with the amount of meat and the extra tortillas, it's like having four tacos. How does it taste?

Tender pork, nicely roasted with alternating crispy and meltingly soft bits. Crunchy white onion and the bite of cilantro. The salsa, an earthy golden color, is hot! Wow! Time for an agua fresca to cool off your mouth!

At $2.50 apiece, it's still one of the best bargains in town.


Anonymous said...

I can nearly smell it (I'm ignoring those first 2 meat choices) and wish I could take a bit right now!

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

That looks awesome... wash it down with horchata and you're set.

Tacos al pastor were inspired by the Middle Eastern shwarma, introduced to Mexico by Lebanese immigrants (Salma Hayek's people). The world is a lot funkier than a lot of people realize.

Max Sartin said...

Mmmmmm, good food is always welcome, even in photo format. Now I'm hungry all over again!

Sharon said...

Now that is a delicious-looking bargain!

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Looks delicious...needs plenty of hot sauce!

Glennis said...

Believe me, Thunder, it has plenty of hot sauce!!

21 Wits said...

Oh so yummy looking and priced just for the taking!