5 Historic Tacos You Can Eat in Honor of National Taco Day
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!
Great tacos, but not yet historic
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
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
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/