To those in the know, 1st and Beaudry was the place to be for late-night deliciousness. Mexicali Taco Company was a landmark in the form of a taco stand in a parking lot at the toes of downtown Los Angeles. (Read their story here, or just look at the photos. Go now, look at those photos, I’ll still be here when you get back.) I will never forget how it felt to take my first bite, salsa dripping down my chin as I stared and the scintillating lights of the skyscrapers above me. It was magical. I couldn’t think of a more perfect way to eat the best Mexican food I’d ever had. I almost didn’t brush my teeth before bed that night because I didn’t want to wash away the flavours. It was that good.
Not long after my initiation they were voted LA’s Best Taco.
I was not alone in my dismay (and hunger!) when they had to close up after their lease changed. Finally they have opened up a brick and mortar store only a mile from where they started.
Our family was invited to attend their “Friends and Family” soft opening this week. Street parking is available, but instead of hoping for that coveted “right out front” spot, do yourself a favour and park a block or two away. You can enjoy the city lights as you work up more of an appetite. You’ll thank me for this one.
The decor is a great blend of modern and rustic with a good wink to their own roots, keeping a casual feel without the chill of eating on the bumper of your car in a parking lot. The wood slabs are a tribute to the wood chopping blocks they use to mince the meat, with a black-and-white photo of the skyline at the back of the restaurant. The seating is communal, of the picnic bench variety, which is perfect when you’ve got young children who just can’t sit still. It also makes it easier to steal a bite from your husband’s plate. (Many photos here of facility and food.)
The food is the same and they’ve added more menu items. We started with those famous tacos, and while we weren’t hungry afterwards we somehow ended up with my beloved vampiro and their all-new nachos. They feature Mexican Coke (which is sweetened with cane sugar and my husband swears is far superior) and horchata and two horchata-like beverages, in addition to standard beverage fare. Not all horchata is good, but this is, and your children will love it.
Remember when I said you’d thank me for parking a block or two away? The prices are so reasonable, the service so quick, and the food so good, you’ll overeat and be glad for that little bit of exercise you get walking back to the car.
Grand Opening is February 15th so you can enjoy your Valentine’s Day without the garlic breath of those amazing vampiros.
Follow them on Twitter. “Like” them on Facebook. Most importantly: go there in person, and take your kids; it’s important to expose your children to good food from an early age.