Monday, August 20, 2012

L.A. Taco Fest (Boyle Heights)


All you, Jessie.  Oh, and the shirt too (I kid).

I didn't get to try anywhere near all of the tacos they had to offer.  We arrived rather late and quite honestly, the line-up didn't excite me as much as I had hoped.  A lot of the heavy-hitters were left out of the festival for some reason or another.

  The first taco I had was probably my favorite.  It was the Chile Colorado from Candela Taco Taco bar & Lounge.  - 4.5

Another taco I tried from them was this Crema de Elote number.  It was good but not a filling I'd want in my taco.  This would be great stuffed inside a chile relleno though.  - 3

Next up, Yeyas.

Being a fanatic of fried tacos, I was eager to try Yeya's tacos.  Well, while waiting in line, I noticed a beverage I never knew existed.  Agua de Platano.  Yup, banana water/juice.  Well, I just had to try it.  I kinda expected to get an artificial powdery Tang type of flavor, but I was pleasantly surprised.  Not too sweet and definitely natural.  - 3.5

Unfortunately, that was the highlight for this stand.  We got a Taco Dorado de Camaron & a Taco Dorado de Papa.  The potato taco was small and really more of a flauta or taquito.  This shrimp taco is my least favorite of all of the shrimp taco places I've been to.  Again, the taco was small, the salsa was weak and these come without avocado slices.  - 1.5

Before I placed my order, I also noticed that they had something else I've never tried.  I ordered a Tostada de Cueritos (pickled pork skin).  Texturally, I can see it being off-putting to most people and also the fact that you're ordering skin...that's been pickled.  Those facts aside, the tostada was decent.  It's not something  I would crave or order again.  I'm glad I got to try it though.  - 2.5

I had heard of El Gallito Tacos Truck but I didn't remember what they were known for - if anything at all.  For all I knew, they weren't regarded highly amongst taco heads.  

"Beefs?" I should have taken this as a sign of things to come.

The menu.

 I ordered 2 tacos (pastor & asada) with everything on em.  Does this look like everything to you?  And I had to ask for salsa to top it off!  They had no salsa bar outside. 

Bummed out already that I was given a plate of just meat and onions and 1 speck of cilantro...I was further disappointed at how dry this was.  One of the worst tacos in recent history.  - 1  

The al pastor was a smidgen better.  It wasn't dry like the carne asada but the flavor was still absent.  This should have been tender, spicy and a little sweet.  It was leathery and the salsa didn't pair well.  - 1.5

 At this point I had grown weary of this whole event.  No Mexicali Tacos.  No Nina's.  No Antojitos Carmen.  No Tacos Leo.  No Tacos La Estrella.  No Ricky's Tacos.  No Guisados.  No Mariscos Jalisco, etc.  Where were all the top notch tacos??

 That's when I came across this stand.  The name stood out to me - but i couldn't place it - so I moved on,  Then, while eating sub-par tacos, I decided to google Balbina.  That's when it hit me.  I wanted to bookmark Balbina years ago but they had no website (they still don't). 

What caught my attention were there handmade flautas, pambazos, quesadillas, huaraches and sopes.  Excluding the bread for the pambazos, they make everything from scratch.

Among other things, fresh masa is what separated Balbina from the rest of the vendors.  From beginning to end (almost), our wait lasted about 30 minutes.  But I knew it was going to be worth it.  That is, until we we got within 2 feet of ordering. 

Although the event was scheduled to conclude at 8pm, they were instructed to stop selling food at 7:30.  It was 7:35.  More than upset, I was heartbroken.  Balbina has eluded me for 2 years now!  And just when I had her in my grasp...taken from me yet again.   Well, I vow to make you mine  - and soon!  Congratualtions, you are now officially atop my wanted list. 
¡Esto no se va a quedar así!


  1. Wow! What a bummer for of all places to have such a deflated event on the #1 thing lots of peeps travel to East Los for....some bomb diggity tacos!!

  2. That's what I'm saying!

    I hope next year's will be better thought out. I'm willing to give it another shot.

    And give us more options, will ya?!

    Bummer, I tell ya.