Whenever I’m feeling tense I go out for tacos,sometimes to my local taco truck, sometimes I just drive, turn on the car stereo and go. It’s a stress reliever for me for some reason. Maybe because I forget about the love, the bills, the job and I enter some mythic taco wonderland.
But for whatever reason when I’m at the taco truck with a plate of tacos and a cold mexican coke the world just stops. This ritual of taco eating becomes at that moment more powerful than anything else. I’ve never practiced yoga but I’m sure it feels alot like eating a taco on the side of the road with the sun in your face.
I love east LA. The way the cities roll into each other seperated by the way the land slopes down or upward or the change in architecture. South Pasadena rolls into the suburbs of alhambra, alhambra tumbles into el sereno, el sereno into lincoln heights. Each neighborhood having it’s own identity.
On the east side the taco trucks become an extension of this identity.The generators roar like lions, meats grill next to chiles and onions and the air fills with smoke .It’s a cookout where everyone is invited, where a few bucks gets you a plate of tacos and a ice cold horchata and most importantly a slice of the taco lifestyle.
Driving east on Hungtington Dr I noticed a truck parked along the southern curb. The truck was halfway up the curb with the generator going strong and a row of chairs parallel to the truck. A couple of thugs hovered around like something big was about to happen. I’m still young enough that I like to see a good fight now and then but nothing happened aside from pushing and shoving.
What happened seemed pathetic at first. This one dude...we’ll call him flaco...he was upset at one of the thugs but they outnumbered the flaco 2 to 1 so the flaco left.Flaco had a really crazed look in his eye and for a moment I got nervous that the flaco would come back with friends or something worse , that some taco truck ultra violence was about to go down.
carne asada and al pastor
But everything calmed down and everyone got back to eating their tacos.
“Just like tijuana” said one of the thugs.
I nodded back in agreement.The greasy charred bits of asada and guacamole reminded me of tacos I’ve had in Tijuana and Rosarito. The kind you get from many of the corner taco stands when you need something greasy to soak up the alchoholic haze.
After eating my tacos I pulled onto Huntingon Dr heading west and what did I see? hah pinche flaco going back to the taco truck with two friends.
They were too late though. The thugs left before I did.
tacos El Paisa is at huntington dr and Poplar blvd, Alhambra. tacos $1