I have undying love for tacos, and during a leather workshop hosted by Toni I overheard one of the attendees talking about an artist they found while visiting a taco stand in Echo Park. Me being me, I immediately had to know where this place was as the artist mentioned creates portraits based on your spirit animal. So right up my alley. The hunt was on as the person did not remember what taco stand it was. I love a good challenge. I would make it my mission to find said taco stand and artist.
Fast forward to one boring day a month later, I remembered this mission and took my electric car out of a joy ride to Echo Park. Talk about going out on a limb here. The reality was that it could be a cold chance in hell I would find this gem, especially since I didn't realize how many taco stands were in Echo Park. Realizing I better eat soon, as my blood sugar was dropping rapidly to bitch mode, I said eff-it and stopped at Guisados. At first glance, I thought to myself if this place has this mythical artist then I've got to buy a lottery ticket. As the walk-up stand didn't give me much hope for a huge interior space showcasing art, I really couldn't care at this point. I was STARVING. The chalkboard menu was calling to me. All the taco options had me saying a pig out session was going to happen. Luckily I was solo so I could keep that secret to myself. But the one thing that caught my eye before anything else was a taco called Chiles Torreados. Curious I asked for more info as this bad boy had 10 chile pepper icons drawn next to it. Being someone who's addicted to spice and thinks of it as multitasking (when your mouth is on fire aren't you burning more calories?), I ordered the taco despite all warnings. I know me. I can handle spice.
Full of confidence and being a complete fool, I didn't waste any time bitting into this crazy vegetarian taco filled with chile peppers and habenero salsa. BIG MISTAKE. I went into Homer Simpson crazy chile mode. You know the episode where he loses his shit? If not, here's a refresher. I think it took about a solid minute for me to break out into a full sweat, nose running like all hell and tears galore but what happened next threw me for a loop....
As I'm a complete mess, a man walks up asking me how I'm doing. My first thought was: seriously dude? Can't you see I'm in complete spice hell??? Being polite, I kept to niceties but communicated that I was completely spiced-out of my mind. Well, this didn't stop the dude from asking for my phone number and if I had a boyfriend. Yes on the boyfriend and hell no on the phone number. Now I knew something was wrong with this dude because who on earth would hit on someone while they look like they are having a shit fit? I quickly jumped to my feet to get the hell out of there and gather some peace so I could sweat out this pepper hell but was left with one last zinger from the random dude: an invite to do shots of Patrón. Where on earth was this guy going to find Patrón? As Guisados doesn't serve alcohol. Well, from his jean pocket of course! I think I can honestly say, that I have now seen it all. LA is an interesting place with lots of "interesting" people. I shouldn't expect anything less. But one thing is for sure, Guisados is amazing. The tacos are delicious and that weird encounter was just a fluke. Be weary of the taco as I'm sure most of you are thinking I just couldn't handle it. Truth is I have some friends who thought they could hang only to be assed-out for a few days after trying it themselves.
Oh, and about the artist. I did find him there at Guisados but since my experience with the random dude and his bottle of Patron left me in flight mode, I completely forgot to get his info. Luckily the staff there is awesome and hooked me up after a quick call. Check out Dan Everett here to see samples of his spirit animal portraits and other work.
- 2 locations in Los Angeles: Boyle Heights / 2100 E. Cesar E Chavez Ave. Los Angeles, CA. 90033 / 323.264.7201 and Echo Park / 1261 W Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA. 90026 / 213. 250.7600
- New location coming to Downtown on Spring Street. Can't wait!
- The aguas frescas are out of this world. My personal favorite is the Armando Palmero which is a mix of Jamaica and Limon
- If you do order the Chiles Torreados I recommend eating it last and be prepared not to do much afterwards.
- Try the sampler option if you are indecisive on which tacos to get but seriously all of them are great.
- Parking is limited especially if the place is jumping. Also, be sure to keep track of the time to avoid any tickets.