In the face of the swine flu drama, I felt the need to stand up for Mexican food and pigs. In their time of adversity someone needed to show strength and understanding. And although no reported cases had been found from eating pork, I would do my part by consuming pork tacos at fine Mexican establishments across the west side of Los Angeles.
So the taco marathon began at Tacos Por Favor on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.
This was my first trip to the highly rated and heavily trafficked west side Mexican food haven. We waited in a short line before ordering. I should add that this was the first marathon where I was the only male. I was joined by three not-so-pork-friendly females, so most of the fish ordering was on their behalf.
I had a chorizo/cheese taco and a carne asada taco.
They had mahi mahi tacos and a chicken taco. One jamaica and one watermelon agua fresca washed them down.
At first I was concerned because Tacos Por Favor’s clientele was 100% white. In the end the food was really good, even if it didn’t reach taco truck levels of authenticity (read: lard).
Next up was another busy purveyor of Mexican street food, Mariscos Guillen La Playita.
A simple street-side stand, this seafood-slinging shop supposedly had good ceviche and fish tacos. I was on a pork run so threw in tacos al pastor.
The fish tacos were mushy and bland. The ceviche wasn’t very good either- no defined citrus flavor, just liquid and shrimp chunks. The pork tacos were fine, but didn’t rival Tacos Por Favor. Overall a very poor showing- actually enough to dissuade us from continuing on the Mexican taco tip. (Sorry, Pancho’s Tacos and Taqueria Chihuahua, you have Guillen to blame.)
To finish the run, we opted for a west side restaurant I’d heard about many times but never visited- Cha Cha Chicken. With a six-pack of Pacificos in hand, we ordered their famous jerk chicken with dirty rice and spicy fries.
The girls had jerk enchiladas
It was a swine-less stop, serving Carribean chicken, but it fit the day perfectly and now I can check it off of the places that I’d never been. Not sure if I’ll rush back as I thought the chicken was itself was bland, despite tasty sauce and skin.
I was asked how this marathon differed from marathons with my usual cohorts, and this definitely was healthier. First, most marathons lack the requisite mural of naked sunbathers who’ve eaten too many jerk chickens.
Also, there weren’t any food comas, no need for the Burn-be-Gone Box and overall it was an easy run. So far I haven’t shown signs of deadly swine flu either, so I guess it was a success.