Thursday, September 01, 2005

Cactus Taqueria: An Oasis in Hollywood


Cactus is another well known taqueria for los angelenos. It's a small hut on the corner of Vine St and Willoughby in Hollywood. It's open til 3am on the weekends so if you like to get drunk in hollywood and then eat tacos look no further than Cactus. If you are like your humble taco correspondent and you like to stand with the sun at your back on a lazy sunday afternoon and eat your tacos with a rice orchata and let the day slowly melt away you will feel at home at cactus taqueria.

Cactus has a heavy lunch crowd from noon til 1pm from alot of locals as well as workers from the local studios. They do pretty steady business throughout the afternoon but you wont wait anywhere near as long as you will during peak hours . At night they wheel out a salsa cart that contains vegtables such as radishes, marinated carrots and jalapenos and cucumbers as well as a salsa verde and a salsa roja that perfectly compliments their tacos. During the day time you can ask for salsa roja or verde but if you dont specify you will get verde on your tacos. I prefer the verde when I order a burrito but with tacos I go with roja. Sometimes I get crazy and put both verde and roja on my tacos.

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al pastor and asada tacos

Cactus has several meats to choose from: carnitas, carne asada, al pastor, lengua, cabeza. The al pastor is tender and melts in your mouth. Try them all my friends. Tacos are only $1 each and if you're out of cash you can pay with your credit card.

While I was eating my tacos a homeless man tried to sell me a dirty lord of the rings mug. I dont know much about lord of the rings but this homeless dude knew quite a bit. He named all the characters on the mug to try to persuade me to buy it. I wasn't going for it though, I saw him pick it up off the ground in the parking lot before I ordered my tacos.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com Four tacos out of five for Cactus Taqueria's al pastor tacos


Cactus Taqueria is at 950 Vine St, Hollywood 90038

30 comments:

  1. My absolute favorite. No place is better. Stop your hunt, you've already found the best taco. The orange sauce, I believe it's chipotle, is deadly. I spilled some in my car long ago. Several days after that, I had forgotten about the spill and saw an orange stain on my seat. I scratched at it, saw a little disappear and vowed to attack it later. About five minutes after that, this was during my morning commute, I rubbed my eye with that hand. Bad, bad idea. I was blinded and in pain for about 10 minutes. I had to pull over.

    As for the homeless vibe at this taco stand, that's not all: it's just down the street from the Hollywood mental health clinic. The last time I went to Cactus, I was approaching the seating area when I saw a pretty normal looking latin guy with long hair walking along the sidewalk. He was approaching the ordering window but was clearly going to walk past it. Two well-dressed young guys were seated at the tables, enjoying their tacos. A family was there as well. Suddenly, one of the well-dressed guys starts yelling and has a look on his face of total disbelief. "WTF!? W. T. F?! That's fucken blood, man!" Sure enough, he had blood all over him. In fact, there was a trail of bright red blood all along the sidewalk right behind the long-haired guy. His arm was pouring blood and he was waving his it to and fro, lazily splattering blood from side to side. He had gotten some all over the now angry diner. The family fled and the blood-covered guy said "get the crowbar". They went to their car and got a tire iron. The long-haired guy was now across the little street just south of Cactus. The blood-covered guy was threatening to make the long-haired guy bleed some more. The longhair got on his knees and begged to not be beaten. He acted rather out-of-it and crazy (duh). Mr. Blood realized that he was dealing with someone missing all of his faculties and spared him. I'm guessing that he put his fist through a window on his way down from the clinic. He didn't look homeless at all. The two guys complained about how they wouldn't be able to return to work covered in blood. I ordered, had a seat, and enjoyed two wonderful carne asada tacos.

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  2. wow

    the mental health clinic being down the street explains alot

    nice story

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  3. officedumps: that is an amazingly fantastic, totally believable story. I have yet to hit cactus but have walked by it dozens of times. i will go asap after reading this.

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  4. Okay, I've seen the line outside Cactus, but the one time I went there, excited, the sewer on the corner was having issues, and the whole place smelled like s#@%. It took about 15 minutes for our orders to come up, and when they did they were wrong. A polite request to get the order fixed was met with "no comprendo" shrugs.

    But I'm willing to try any place twice.

    Is Cactus #2 just as good, and possibly less sewer-y?

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  5. jess,

    yeah the cactus on beverly is the same. The only difference being the Vine location is busier which makes for fresher tacos.

    both locations have exploding sewers though

    just kidding

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  6. The asada at Cactus is rather boring. However, the Chorizo Quesadilla is amazing. You'll go through 3 napkins just to wipe the grease off your mouth.

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  7. i dunno. the tortillas were tasteless. the asada was as good but not better than run of the mill taco truck. the lengua was good. but the al pastor was dry. they had run out of avocados (9pm). maybe the sopes and tortas are better. but, a "four"? i would say a two or three, tops.

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  8. Cactus used to be my local "Authentic" taco stand when I lived in the area. The strangest thing about this place, and their sister stand on Beverly, is that they only bring out their self-serve condiments after dark. Avoiding health inspectors maybe?

    Another interesting thing about this stand is their "Hollywood" Mural with the totally botched one-point perspective. I remember there was this local homeless guy who painted it about five years ago. I think he also did the mural up the street at the surplus store. Anyway, the image of this poorly exicuted mural can now be found on bootleged T-shirts at tourist gift shops!

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  9. Appearance on Flickr and a little discussion with an added story.

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  10. I just got home from stopping by Cactus on Vine after a beer at 3 clubs. If you haven't tried it, you must order the Chicharrones (pork skin) tacos. The meat is stewed and fatty and I haven't been able to find it like that anywhere else. A unique treat. Other tacos are good too (they offer chicken for those that prefer fowl), but that Chicharrones is hard to beat.

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  11. I got a chicken burrito there that had almost every part of the chicken but the meat in it. I was looking for beak before I threw it away.

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  12. Cactus has the best Al Pastor I've had so far...it's of the barbequed on a spit and crunchy in places variety not the stewed in a sauce type...no pineapple on top but hey...the orange sauce is actually liquidized Habanero so beware...this shit is HOT...I usually go for five Pastor only one of which gets the Habanero salsa treatment, the staple salsa for me is the browny/orange one that usually sits next to the Habanero, spicy but not not ridiculous on your fourth taco...if anyone can direct me to another roasted on a spit Al Pastor place I would appreciate it, I've only found the stewy type which I'm disapointed with...ALso try the Al Pastor Sopes and the number 4 Al Pastor burrito...DE-licious...!!!

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  13. New job in Hollywood and I'm so glad to now have Cactus in my arsenal of lunch options, thanks to your recommendation.

    Yes, I was approached by a homeless person. Yes, I waited 20 minutes in line during the lunch rush. Yes, it was worth it.

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  14. My veggie burrito was lacking...

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  15. I absolutely LOVE this place. They have the best tortas in town. I usually get the carne asada.

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  16. This famous restaurant is seen in the season 2 finale of House MD.

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  17. i love cactus i highly recommened their nightmare burrito it consist of asada,al pastor,and chicken. I had the worst nighmare of my life that night, i cant wait to go back.

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  18. shane flipside1/28/09, 3:31 PM

    For the guy who noticed that the pastor at Cactus is cooked differently than most places; if you still are open to trying the stewed pastor try Gran Burrito's down the street (more or less).

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  19. theres another cactus that i used to live next to. its on beverly just west of normandie. ive never eaten at the one on vine but the beverly one is awesome. always had great burritos from there - they have a carne asada fajita burrito - amazing. never seen any crazy people there or exploding sewers. also never had to wait in line.

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  20. These people are crooks and treat their workers like crap because they're all illegal. Oh and btw one of the owners is illegal and a drug dealer.

    P.S. These are facts, I know these people. We've acquaintances for years.

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  21. Having a good friend in the neighborhood (Gower/Romaine) for years, I often visited Cactus when the taco urge gnawed at my stomach. The food is average taco truck fare 24/7, but the shifty eyed manager (?) often times tries to nickel-and-dime on little things, like salsa cups and cucumbers. He'll also mess up change and "wet his beak" in your money. Stay away!

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  22. No longer accepting credit.

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  23. yeah, no longer accepting credit and taco prices are way up

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  24. yeah, no longer accepting credit and taco prices are way up

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  25. Having a good friend in the neighborhood (Gower/Romaine) for years, I often visited Cactus when the taco urge gnawed at my stomach. The food is average taco truck fare 24/7, but the shifty eyed manager (?) often times tries to nickel-and-dime on little things, like salsa cups and cucumbers. He'll also mess up change and "wet his beak" in your money. Stay away!

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  26. No longer accepting credit.

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  27. I absolutely LOVE this place. They have the best tortas in town. I usually get the carne asada.

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  28. My veggie burrito was lacking...

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  29. Appearance on Flickr and a little discussion with an added story.

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