Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Tinga (Mid-City, Los Angeles, CA)

With so many authentic, hole-in-the-wall taco spots in Los Angeles, it may be easy to dismiss a "hipster" taco place like Tinga, but this spot on La Brea is popular for a reason.

Even though the price is higher, Tinga provides a great option for tacos that Mid-City lacked before. The taco fillings may not always be "authentic" but owner Jerry Baker stays true to tradition where it matters, which you can see in the freshly made tortillas and great salsas.

Appetizer options include shareable plates like Chorizo Fundido (oaxaca cheese, chorizo, roasted corn, pico de gallo, hand pressed tortillas, $12.50)
The listed price on the menu is for two tacos, although you can order single tacos for $5.25 each. It's a bit pricey compared to taco trucks, for sure, but they're pretty generous with the meat and you are in Mid-City after all. I was quite surprised by how much I actually liked the tacos here!

The one you definitely need to try: The Genesis (grilled cumin and garlic rubbed pork loin, roasted and grilled with poblanos, pepper jack cheese, ahogado salsa)
Jerry Baker has been perfecting the recipe for The Genesis since high school, back when he used to make it for his friends. It's easy to see as it was definitely my favorite taco there. Even though it looks the simplest, it had the best flavors from the pork rub, which complemented but not overwhelmed by the simple additions of cheese and salsa.
Another popular taco: Mexican Coca Cola braised carnitas with chicharrones, guajillo pineapple salsa, avocado serrano sauce

Ginger and shiitake marinated braised short rib, salsa verde, pickled red cabbage, suegras salsa, papas bravas, pickled peppers, queso fresco, crema
Again, it's not conventional, but that's why Tinga stands out in the first place. The ingredients he uses are great, the flavors are bold and those tortillas are great. If you're craving tacos and can't go far from the area, you can't go wrong with Tinga.

For dessert, churros with homemade caramel sauce.

Tinga takes traditional preparations of the basics, like handmade tortillas, and uses it to create innovative tacos. They also serve craft beers along with dirty horchata and aguas frescas (also made fresh daily).

142 S La Brea
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 954-9566
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