Yes my friends, I am still alive and kicking , and still eating tacos!
I was told I had blog fatigue. I had all the symptoms : no new posts, not responding to email, curling up in fetal positions and listening to the Arcade Fire.
But I'm out of it now..and I am back and I have plenty of tacos to report about. Even while i have not been blogging I have not sworn off the taco. On the contrary my friends, I have been absorbing the taco. The city has swallowed me, and I have ran through her streets naked with jubilance with each taco wagon that came into view.
So I got an email.
"Don Chente is the fastest growing taco chain in Los Angeles,10 locations and 6 more on the way!"
It sounded like an advertisement. But if it was true it could change the balance of power in the taco business in LA. Sure, King Taco is the king, they have 18 locations, they have name branding, they have the loyal following, and of course they have the hot sauce that can rip the backside off Beelzebub. They are King Taco. But who is Don Chente? And why did this email feel like a manila envelope sliding under my door?
Sixteen taquerias is nothing to sneeze at so I had to investigate. I checked the website and noticed a Long Beach location. It was time to hit the LBC.
By the time I made it to long beach it was well into the night. I figured I'd stroll into Don Chente order my tacos and relax for a bit. But inside it was a madhouse. Niños running everywhere, people dancing, and every table occupied by families. It was a fiesta.
After some initial confusion on my part( they offer traditional tacos for $1.25 as well as what they call tacos don chente which come on homemade tortillas but also contain cheese and beans on them(wtf?))
I ordered my usual- carnitas, al pastor, asada and filled up some salsa containers from the salsa bar.
All the tables were occupied so I sat on the hood of my car away from the frantic crowd and dug in. With a cold bottle of orange jarritos in hand I tore through each taco, holding them in my palm and devouring them. The meats were pilled into soft toasted corn tortillas topped with a firey salsa roja with a burnt chile aftertaste that burned at my tongue. But it was a good burning, the kind you look forward to when you have an ice cold beverage waiting to quench the heat. The sweetness of the al pastor, the juice from the asada and the salted fried pork all meshed perfectly with the chile salsa.
Don Chente is indeed LA's fasted growing taco chain but I don't think King Taco has anything to worry about just yet. The King cannot be dethroned from LA taco royalty that easily.
Tacos Don Chente
101 W. Pacific Coast Hwy.
Long Beach, CA 90806