This hidden truck in SELA has some of LA’s best Carne Asada

The cold, hard truth about eating tacos in Los Angeles after eating your way through Mexico is that you will eventually begin to realize the differences between the American taco lifestyle and the Mexican taco lifestyle really quickly.

The latter tend to replace freshness for convenience or quality for cost-effectiveness; it is an understandable trade-off for the greater good. The reality is that it is good enough to appease most taco lovers. But for the sincerely taco-obsessed, the taco snobs, and anyone who is lucky enough to eat tacos aquí y alla, it becomes harder to achieve that sense of tortilla, meat, and salsa state of euphoria.

In LA, I am ecstatic to report that the list of taqurias achieving this dominance over tacos at the managerial level seems to be growing every year. El Ruso, Los Dorados LA, Sonoratown, Ditroit, just to name a few, sit at the top of this list. These are the kind of legendary taco places where you can take someone on a visit from Mexico and they would be hard pressed to find something worth talking about.

And now LA TACO recognizes new taquero for achieving this transnational expertise: Tacos La Carreta, specializing in Sinaloa-style carne asada tacos.

José Manuel Morales Bernal has been flying low in the southern and southeastern LA taco scene for seven years now, selling tacos everywhere from Compton to Paramount to Bellflower to the current super-industrial location in the northernmost region of Long Beach, where he now parks his taco truck .

What makes La Carreta float among LA’s sea of ​​amazing taqueros is Morales’ hyperfocus on asada. It’s the only carne the young taquero has on the menu, and its heavenly scent attracts those who know what’s going to happen from all corners of the county. One Thursday night there was one mamalona at the end of the street trying to make donuts while a group of four tacuaches recorded, laughed and ate tacos from their own flatbed. Families showed up ordering a jumbo-sized cup of La Carreta’s toasty, sweet -onebyg gua (like horchata, but made with toasted ground barley flour instead of rice; a Sinaloan specialty) for everyone in the family. Other taco-loving vatos who excelled at parallel parking their sunken cars with pronounced spoilers would greet Morales. “Al 100, viejo! Thanks.”

Everyone flocks to La Carreta for their simple tacos, chorreadas, vampiros, quesadillas, “papas locas” and their amazing toritos. But deeper than that, they return to La Carreta for reliably juicy meat, thanks to Morales’ dedication to only grilling tenderloin for his asada. No thin slices of chuck, known as diesmillo, in sight. Diesmillo is more affordable and tends to be the norm with most LA taquerías as well, and while it is undoubtedly delicious when choked in salsa, it is known to be harder and more turbid in consistency. “A mi no me gusta el diesmillo!” says Morales very matter-of-factly. In the northern states of Mexico, it can be a point of pride and class to bring diesmillo instead of arrachera (poppy or “ranchera” carving) or tenderloin. There is memes in Mexican pop culture stories that make fun of the homie who shows up at a carne asada with a packet of diesmillo but is the first to eat al arrachera.

“A good taco is really about the quality of the meat and the salsa,” Morales says.

For him, tacos are also a family duty and a cultural obligation. While born and raised in Paramount, Morales often returns to Sinaloa. Specifically, where his family is from: El Verde Concordia, a municipality of about 1,000 people about an hour away from Mazatlán, known to be an incubator of working-class taqueros and taqueras. The small town recently holds the record for making “biggest carne asada taco”In Sinaloa. Morale’s father is also a taquero who continues his lineage. He’s just returned from a trip there, which is why his tacos taste so damn good right now.

An ideal order at La Carreta is one sprayed, which are two crispy tortillas layered with delicious asiento (roasted lard drizzle that tastes like browned butter and carnitas, combined), cheese and the magnificent juicy asada. Then a vampire, which are similar but without asiento and instead dressed with a creamy dressing, a crazy dad, which is a “crazy” baked potato stuffed with carne asada, cheese and sour cream, and finally a Torito, which is an absolutely beautiful charred Anaheim chile that is butterfly, and layered with a small amount of cheese and asada.

The little details that Morales puts into his tacos do not get enough love. Like the fact that instead of dipping his tortillas in oil to roast them, he instead uses a greasy piece of beef as a paintbrush to gently brush each and every tortilla and boost each tortilla with an extra dose of beef umami while they become crispy. Morales also does not serve coriander on their tacos. Instead, he grinds super fine cabbage, as is done in Sinaloa. This adds a nice vegetable contrast and makes it a valuable rare taco in LA, like all the people born with taste buds who perceive coriander as “soapyCan confidently stick to. Finally, the salsa is not diluted.

By the way, Morales’ tortillas from the family-owned Diana’s Tortillas are also out SELA.

When not making amazing tacos worth making a destination out of, he is a do-it-yourself importer of Sinaloan and Sonoran products such as frozen seashells known as “callo de hacha”, chiltepin-dried chilies, frozen jumbo prawns, frozen ahi-tuna “medallons” (medallions) and sacks on sacks of dried beef wire, bottomed with a real machaca, a popular guisado in northern Mexican style. Home Sinaloans is known for coming for tacos and leaving with handfuls of mussels as a souvenir and reminder of home.

Morales is a full-time taquero, but he is only open Thursday through Sunday nights. He has big dreams of having a few places soon. “El sol sale para todos,” says Morales, relying on the powerful Mexican dicho, as full of wisdom as his tacos are full of juicy steak, to guide him through his career.

Tacos La Carreta is at 3401 E. 69th St., Long Beach, (562) 377-2819. Follow them further Instagram to find out approximate hours for the day you plan to visit.

All photos by Memo Torres.

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