Welcome to the first installment of my food and drink life on the road. I’ve been a touring musician for 20 years now and in those two decades I’ve been around the country dozens of times as well as the UK, Australia, Japan, Western Europe, and South America. There is so much good food out there just waiting to be eaten and I’m doing my best to try new foods as well as visit iconic eateries in every city I go to.
Traveling as much as I do, I have the pleasure of eating at some of the tastiest and most unique places and often I’m able to visit certain cities more than once a year. This is helpful because when you’re craving a certain meal, but don’t live in the city that the meal comes from; you’re able to scratch that craving itch. Los Angeles is a prime example of one of those cities.
When you think of the food of Los Angeles the first thing that probably comes to mind, and deservedly so, is Mexican food. Everywhere you go around this city there is probably a Mexican restaurant, stand, or food truck within 100 feet. This is a good thing. Unlike most of the rest of the country, it’s fairly hard to find bad Mexican food in L.A. Finding the right match for your taste is the only tough part. For me, there is always one place that calls my name every time I’m here, Cactus Taqueria.
These days there a handful of locations but the one that I first ate at, and that I still go to, is the original location on Vine St., just south of Santa Monica Blvd. A tiny little stand that barely has enough room for the three employees that work there, this little gem pumps out my favorite tacos and burritos in all of LA. Their specialties in my opinion are the carne asada and the al pastor. Whether in taco or burrito form, these are my go to proteins. Their typical taco comes on a fairly small corn tortilla with cilantro, onion, and their salsa verde that sits atop my list of favorite salsas anywhere. The burritos come in a flour tortilla with your choice of filling with rice, beans, cilantro, onion, and salsa verde.
The thing that I crave more than anything from Cactus Taqueria, however, is their spicy carrots. Pickled in vinegar, onions, jalapenos, garlic, bay leaves, and some other magical ingredients that I wish I could figure out. I’ve tried to make them at home and I ask for them all the time at every Mexican restaurant I go to and I’ve never found better than what the Cactus offers.
Rarely does a trip to Los Angeles happen for me without a trip to the Cactus Taqueria and also a Korean BBQ dinner but I’ll save the Korean BBQ for a later blog.