I stumbled on to the La Tienda carneceria on Inglewood Ave in the city of Lennox by accident. Perhaps the taco gods were looking over me this sunny afternoon because I had every intention to get on to the 405 north. But as luck would have it I missed that onramp and found myself on Inglewood Ave staring down this taco cart.
The sign read "stop ya estan listos los pollos" which translates to- stop! the chickens are ready.
I watched as whole chickens were lifted from the large smoker style grill and then met with a cleaver on the cutting board. Every so often the lady manning the grill would lift the hood to turn the chickens and the smoke would chimney out followed by the most incredible smell of chargrilled pollo.
There wasn't an organized method to order and the two women were so busy manning each others stations that people just started announcing what they wanted . "torta de cabeza!" someone shouted,"burrito de pollo!" said another.
I figured I better get in the game so I just belted out my order "tres tacos, dos cabeza, un de pollo!"
But for about 3 seconds I felt like the most desperate gabacho in all of LA. Who am I to belt out my order? I'm a soft westsider, I'm not local, what was I thinking? But those fears were quelled when one of the girls looked up and smiled and acknowledged my order.I was safe from any embarrassment.
There were tubs of salsa(verde, roja) on a table adjacent to one of the grills and tubs with jalapenos, limes, radishes. After topping my tacos with the onions, cilantro and salsa roja I dug in to the pollo first.
The tender cubes of pollo had that perfect charcoal taste with a citrus marinade that was just the right balance to the salsa roja. Each cube of chicken had a peppery crust and a soft juicy center. Oh man...this was the pollo that I've been looking for.
And the cabeza? Excellent as well. Very soft and not fatty or waxy like alot of cabeza. No gamey aftertaste either which I have experienced with some cabeza. This cabeza was comparable to the excellent cabeza from Tacos Chatos
Salsa was homemade and a nice blend of chiles. Some spice but nothing that will make you sweat it out. That's what the jalapenos were for.
I ordered three more tacos de pollo for the road intending to wait until I got home to eat them. But I couldn't resist and I opened one of them up while I was driving and just went for it. I held the taco in the cup of my palm and devoured it ,the juice from the pollo running down my wrist as I got back on the 405 onramp heading north.
Tienda Latina Carniceria/Taqueria Morelia
10333 S INGLEWOOD AVE