I have eaten a significant amount of tacos since moving to California. In fact, I was on a streak for nearly two weeks where I consumed an adult beverage and/or a taco every day. The final College Football Playoff Rankings were recently posted and were somewhat controversial. Why not make the logical comparison between the Final Eight College Football teams and #tacos? Who should earn the title of Best Greater Los Angeles Taco?
(1.) Taqueria Las Comadres (Alabama) vs. (8.) Leo’s Mexican Grill (Michigan State)
Taqueria Las Comadres (TLC) is the best local authentic taco joint I have frequented thus far. It has all of the traditional items you would expect to be served and has not succumbed to trendy, fusion cuisine. I thoroughly enjoyed my Mexican street style chicken tacos double wrapped in corn tortillas and served with cilantro and onion. TLC is the conventional, classically simple Crimson and White uniform with the numerals on the helmet. Leo’s Mexican Grill (LEO) may be the bottom seed in this tournament, but is sure to bring a fierce battle to TLC. Leo’s offers deep discount specials on Tuesday and Friday with $1.25 tacos and $1.00 draft beer. You’ll step out of Leo’s with a full tummy and a decent buzz for less than ten bucks. Just call ahead to make sure it’s still open. Much like State went through an early season reputation renovation following their loss at Oregon, LEO is changing management and undergoing repair to update the interior of the restaurant. This 1 vs 8 match-up may look lopsided on paper, but both squads are fiercely competitive and either side could win on a late score.
(4.) Rubio’s (Ohio State) vs. (5.) Taco Beach (Baylor)
Rubio’s (RBO) is another historic power that is to be reckoned with. RBO is most well-known for its fish tacos but also serves a variety of chicken and steak options if you’re afraid to dip your toe into the water. Its variety of sauce and salsa and spicy vegetable are the flash to match the alternate uniforms Ohio State dons in rivalry and bowl games. Taco Beach (TB) is a hybrid sports bar and Mexican restaurant on Pine Avenue that is known for Sunday Funday Football Specials. However, on a recent Saturday visit, TB was showing soccer and swimming on its TVs with no college football in sight… Kind of like how the committee properly paid no attention to Baylor’s candidacy for the Four Team Playoff. Despite questionable customer service and struggling to handle the lunch time rush, Rubio’s walks over Taco Beach with little difficulty.
(3.) Tequila Jack’s (Florida State) vs (6.) Chronic Tacos (TCU)
Florida State has been a polarizing team all season, winning many close games over portrayed inferior competition. However, their long winning streak cannot be ignored and they have shown plenty of moxie to win games late in the fourth quarter. That same strategy is shared by Tequila Jack’s (TJ) who offers a fantastic, late-night happy hour menu. The quesadilla with guacamole and simple Mexican-style chicken or asada tacos pair perfectly with a margarita schooner. Be careful not to fall into Rainbow Harbor after too much tequila. Chronic Tacos (CHT) is a brash southern California chain whose restaurants are brightly decorated with graffiti and stickers from local vendors and skate shops. The marijuana theme is hard to ignore. Perhaps someone was under a similar influence when designing some of TCU’s football uniforms. Tequila Jack’s packs surprising flavor with fantastic value and wins another contest with clutch late performance.
(2.) Lola’s Mexican Cuisine (Oregon) vs. (7.) Islands (Mississippi State)
Oregon is my faux alma mater and favorite college football team to follow… Both because of their success on the gridiron and their prowess and creativity in uniform combination. Lola’s Mexican Cuisine (LMC) is on Retro Row in Long Beach near Cherry and 4th. It’s an area that not long ago would have been completely undesirable to dine or be seen. Similarly, it wasnt long ago that Oregon was a doormat of the Pac-10, but has become a national football power. The LMC barbacoa lamb tacos and addictive green sauce are sure to soon be a national title contender. Islands (ISL) is a chain restaurant most known for burgers and tropical cocktails. I sat at the bar for the yaki tacos; chicken mothered in teriyaki with pineapple and jack cheese. I may have been taco’d out by that point Saturday night and have no strong memory or feeling about my Islands experience. Similarly, I have no strong opinion regarding Mississippi State or Starkville or their Heisman contending quarterback. Lola’s wins this match-up in convincing fashion, leaving your mouth-watering until the next visit.
It’s Taco Tuesday! Enjoy your lunch…
A tortilla is a type of soft, thin flatbread made from finely ground wheat flour. Originally derived from the corn tortilla (tortilla in Spanish means “small torta“, or “small cake”), a bread of maize which predates the arrival of Europeans to the Americas, the wheat flour tortilla was an innovation after wheat was brought to the New World from Spain while this region was the colony of New Spain. It is made with an unleavened, water based dough, pressed and cooked like corn tortillas.
In appearance and use tortillas are rather similar to the South Asian chapati and Roti. Tortillas are also very similar to the unleavened bread popular in Arab, eastern Mediterranean and southern Asian countries, though thinner and smaller in diameter. In China, there is the laobing, a pizza-shaped thick “pancake” that is similar to the tortilla. The Indian Roti, which is made essentially from wheat flour is another example.