5 Historic Tacos You Can Eat in Honor of National Taco Day

loscotijas-fishtacos.jpg
Great tacos, but not yet historic
Okay, so this whole National Taco Day is a PR holiday so people can get all trendy and taco-y. But if you're going to play the game, then play the pinche game, you know? A couple of years ago, I wrote this list of 10 great tacos in Orange County. I still largely stand by it. But since we at the Weekly believe in continual taco education as well, behold a list of five historic tacos that you can still eat today, tacos that fundamentally changed the course of Mexican food in the United States. Enjoy, and make sure to visit these treasures!

And full disclosure: I'm a Californian--hence the California angle. But Texans: as much as I love San Antonio's puffy and breakfast tacos, and the double order from Chico's Tacos in El Paso, your tacos didn't change the course of Mexican food in the U.S. Sorry!


5. Fish Taco from Rubio's

Thumbnail image for rubiostacosalceado.JPG
Photo by Das Ubergeek

Believe it or not, Southern Californians, fish tacos are still spreading across the United States, and we can thank the Rubio's chain for that. Before, fish tacos were a specialty of Baja California; if they were ever in the United States, it was mostly in San Diego County. But thanks to Ralph Rubio and his surf pals in the 1980s, the fish taco became commodified, then franchised, and now slowly spreading across the country. You're welcome, America.

4. Taquitos from Cielito Lindo in Olvera Street

taquitos_cielito_lindo.jpg

The first popular tacos in Southern California, where the taco first achieved popularity outside of the Mexican community, were taquitos, specifically the ones that came from Olvera Street, that fabulous project of gabacho projections of the Spanish fantasy heritage. And all those taquitos originated from Cielito Lindo, the stand at the northern spot of the tourist trap facing Cesar Chavez Boulevard. The recipe, which came from Zacatecas, hasn't changed since 1934, and is as delicious now as it was then: barbacoa, a corn tortilla made in the family's Lincoln Heights tortillería to ensure freshness, then fried in front of you and doused in their legendary avocado salsa. 23 Olvera St Los Angeles, (213) 687-4391; www.cielitolindo.org/


My Voice Nation Help
56 comments
lonhall
lonhall

My best memories of tacos, however, was when I was living in Las Fuentes, Jalisco. Every evening a school teacher would peddle over to his stand in front of the mercado and I would feast on his tacos al pastor, with the meat lovingly shaved off the outside of the vertical rotisserie. He would always tease me when it came time to add the minced cilantro. "Quieres más mota?"

lonhall
lonhall

I love the Korean tacos from Kogi! But I am also on the board of the Irvine Senior Travelers and we recently took a big group up north for "A Taste of LA". We started off at Olvera Street where they got to sample a taquito and Mexi hot chocolate (before heading off to Ocean Seafood in Chinatown for dim sum, etc etc). All the geezers loved their taquitos. As a side trip between Cielito Lindo and Ocean Seafood, we gave them a tour of the David Alfaro Siqueiros mural with complete history background. Also included the "history" of how Olvera Street came into being as LA Mexi culture (LMAO).

909Jeff
909Jeff

Personally for me I like Lupe's tacos over on Beverly Blvd in Pico Rivero OR around the corner on Rosemead is Tonia's. I had heard a rumor that Lupe and Tonia were married and after they got divorced they opened competing restaurants a couple blocks apart... Coincidentally the tacos are almost the same.

Tangaxhuan Wo'ilake
Tangaxhuan Wo'ilake

Amanda, I am talking about the tortilleria. Another good restaurant group though, was/is Lalo's

idoons4197
idoons4197

my Aunty  just got a nearly new gℝeen ℂheℝvolet Silveℝadℴ by working from a computer. take a look at  l­o­c­k­4­0­.­ℂ­0­ℳ­

Synthia Payne
Synthia Payne

but otherwise the best tacos i had out in denver were off a truck

Amanda Almonte
Amanda Almonte

I miss El Milagro! I use to go with Dad to the one on Halted. St when I lived on 18th St we go to the one 26 St Now there are a bunch of El milago's?

Ascary Morera
Ascary Morera

Do any of you fellow Mexicans know a good taco in Denver :(

Angela Bagby
Angela Bagby

My tacos got to be fried, Taco Nazi style.

Jim Haught
Jim Haught

Every day's taco day in San Antonio!

Paul Moreti
Paul Moreti

I love a puffy taco , nice way to end the evening.

Peter Illig
Peter Illig

then it's safe to say you are ... pro-taco?

Brian Christiansen
Brian Christiansen

Sorry Gustavo. Should have read more into it. Either way, Feliz Dia Nacional del Taco! AJUAAA!!!

Leo Smith
Leo Smith

Soft 'n Crunchy tacos from Oscar's Taco Grande in Anchorage, Alaska!!!

Joe Esquivel
Joe Esquivel

We do not need a freaken National Taco Day in Mexico WTF we eat this on an every day basis.

Debra Bolanos
Debra Bolanos

Mexico’s traditional cuisine is the first ethnic cuisine in the world to be recognized by UNESCO on its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Tangaxhuan Wo'ilake
Tangaxhuan Wo'ilake

I love this line. "The recipe hasn't changed since 1937, since the founders brought with them from Jalisco the recipe for their tacos dorados, so don't you be calling this a pocho creation, indigenazis!" For the record....Indigenazis are far from Indigenous.

Jennifer Castillo
Jennifer Castillo

Elizabeth Muñoz-Mastrorocco Mmm enjoy that Greek taco aka gyro!

Brian Christiansen
Brian Christiansen

Thank goodness they're all in Califas, a bit biased if you ask any Tejano.

Candice Martinez
Candice Martinez

Fuck and I just started my diet. "El Taco: One Serious Mexican weakness.

Tangaxhuan Wo'ilake
Tangaxhuan Wo'ilake

Dude, you always leave out Chicago. El Milagro tortillas cannot be beat. Their Totopos are flying off the shelves to be sold at restaurants.They are like gold, going for 10 dollars a bag, FOR CHIPS!

Jennifer Castillo
Jennifer Castillo

I think we're having tacos for din-din :-D Elizabeth Muñoz-Mastrorocco How 'bout yous two?

Pat Wood
Pat Wood

OC tacos, that has a strange ring to it if you don't live there. We are having a big noisy discussion here in San Antonio about which taco deserves to be featured on National Taco Day. Very glad to live in a place with such a large array of possibilities!

Jose Garcia
Jose Garcia

Prefiero los Tacos de Taqueria Laredo en Houston northside los demas pues ne vale

Adam Pastrano
Adam Pastrano

Mitlas cafe is my favorite! All their food is delicious

Ask a Mexican
Ask a Mexican

Sorry, but Taco Bell is still tacos--terrible tacos, but tacos nevertheless.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...