November 6, 2008

down by the river, where the buffalo play...

"Did you know that Taco Bell isn't real Mexican food?" my dad asked. I was stumped, as I had no idea what was beyond my narrow world of Taco Bell's Mexican pizzas and nachos... He had heard from a friend at church who owned a taco stand (and ironically was Korean) that Taco Bell and Del Taco was not the real deal, and that he should come and try his place. (This is not a hate post on these chains. I enjoy both sides of the border.) So my sister, father, and I went to the suggested taco place, and hallejuah, my eyes were opened to the deliciousness of carne asada. This was roughly 10-12 years ago. While his friend does not own Taco del Rio today (although I suspect that another Korean owns it now), the quality has not changed, and I want to show a little love to Taco del Rio, my favorite taco place around the area.

I went there yesterday after having a rough day of physics. It is easily found by going on the 60, getting off Azuza and heading in the opposite direction of the Puente Hills Mall. I'm sure you may have seen it before while driving by, especially if you like to go to the driving range in Industry Hills.

Yes, this is one crappy picture of the menu. Damn glare. At least I brought my camera with me this time. If you click on the picture, you can see the prices and menu better. Your meat choices are listed on a separate laminated paper near on the window: carne asada, al pastor, carnitas, lengua, cabeza, pollo, chile colorado (beef with red sauce), and chile verde (beef with green sauce). I opted for the special tacos (special because it comes with sour cream and guacamole) with carne, lengua (tongue), and chile verde, as well as an Orange Bang and a small side of fries.

On the other side of the looking glass....
You can see the beans and carne asada ready to be ladled onto heated tortillas, as the man makes my tacos. That guy has been working there for a while.

What's in that pot? Your guess is as good as mine.

My three special tacos piled with cabbage, onions, cilantro, (cotija?) cheese, guac and sour cream. There is no salsa bar. Instead you have your choice of red sauce or green sauce. I asked for both. Special tacos $1.49 each. Regular soft tacos are $1.26. You can't see the meat very well because of the toppings, so I took some closeups.

Carne Asada was on mark.

Chile verde. This was the first time I ordered this. The meat was good, flavorful and tender. I thought it would be dry and stringy. I have tried it all except for the chile colorado and the pollo. The lengua was also very good. It was my second time trying tongue, and this was definitely a better experience than my first, which was at a taco truck in Bakersfield (the one on the 5 where you see all those signs for some Indian restaurant, and across the street from the AM PM).

You can also ask for jalapenos on the side. A must for me.

Hot and crispy Crinkle cut fries, which I believe are made when you order them. Small size $1.52.

My friend ordered the special all meat burrito. Sorry no cross section picture. I personally prefer tacos over burritos because that way you can have different kinds of meats. While I do not claim this place to be the best in LA county or California, it is a place that has been consistent over the years, and has some good carne asada. I also recommend their cheeseburger. It may seem a waste to order a burger at a Mexican place, but hey you never know. Primos in La Jolla (in the Vons plaza) also has a pretty good burger from what I remember. I asked the cook if it was good, and he told me it was, and whatdya know, it was! As you might be able to figure out from the pictures, it is all outside seating, and there is about eight tables total. There is a sign saying 30 minutes maximum for sitting down at a table haha.

Taco del Rio
445 S Azusa Ave (Near Valley Blvd)
La Puente, CA 91744
(626) 912-0703

Old Dan chowin down....


2 rah rah rahs:

Anonymous said...

Those look like some pretty loaded tacos. I totally remember you ordering cheeseburgers from the taco shop. Hilarious!

CAB said...

Whaaat? TB not real Mexican?? hehe. Those tacos look really good.

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