Friday, July 06, 2007

Carnitas Michoacan - Los Angeles (Lincoln Heights)

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One night we were at The Comedy Store (one of Norwegian cousin's requests of things to do in L.A.) with a line-up that included a very funny Steve Rannazzisi, a slightly perpetuating-Asian-stereotypes but sometimes funny Bobby Lee, a surprise appearance by a somewhat belligerent Carlos Mencia, and a vaguely creepy Charles Fleischer (he of the voice of Roger Rabbit fame). Well, after 10 comedians (the last three of which were truly, truly awful) with three left to go, I think we had seen enough for my cousin to experience American stand-up comedy.

It was close to midnight at this point, and as our dinner had only consisted of the Le Croissant Dore fruit tart, one of my other cousins suggested nachos. Over the years, whenever my cousins went to east L.A. for their nacho runs, I could have sworn they told me they got their food from a taco truck. Maybe they did at one time because I remember my cousin telling me about his attempts to find it, as if it had moved. Or maybe my memory is just really faulty. I mean, it wasn't like I had to know where they got their food, I just made sure I was around when they brought it home. :P It turns out their nachos didn't come from a taco truck after all. Which is great for me because unless that taco truck was permanently parked in one spot, I'd be hard-pressed to drive around looking for it.

Carnitas Michoacan is open 24 hours. As I pulled into the parking lot, I noticed a homeless person asleep across the street. Look! Another thing you haven't seen in America before! (There are few homeless people in Norway as the social welfare system takes care of the poor, old, and young.) Anyway, even at 1 a.m., there was a Mercedes or two parked in the lot. From the parking lot, we walked through the sticky floors and very bare-bones eating area with Spanish-language television in the background. As far as I can tell, everyone gets their food to go. Or they do at 1 a.m. anyway. We passed the pick-up window and iron doors.

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To the front where there was already a small crowd waiting to place their order.

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Here's the entire menu.

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My cousins always go for the nachos especial for $5.85 served on a large styrofoam container, heaped with crunchy nacho chips, jalapenos, pickled carrots, chunks of beef, and drizzled with liquidy cheese.

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My cousins all wanted carne asada tacos. All tacos are only $1.25. These are roughly the size of my palm but packed with meat.

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I tried the al pastor and lengua (tongue). The al pastor was richly flavored with the perfect char from the spit rotisserie. The lengua was incredibly tender. Although, whenever I eat tongue, I always think I'm tasting something that can taste me. :P

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The radishes and hot sauce also come free with your order.

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On another night, I decided to try the last two tacos on their menu - buche (pork belly) and cabeza (literally translated as head, but in this case, they mean beef cheeks). The buche was overly salty. And while it was OK, I'd rather get my pork in the form of al pastor. As for the cabeza, I thought the meat was a bit fatty and gamey.

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I also decided to experiment and ordered a cheeseburger for $2.85. I was hoping all the carne asada juices might have crossed over to the burger and flavored the patty. I don't think that happened. But the meat was really crispy, charred. Lil' sis took a bite, and then another, and then another. So whatever they did to the burger, I guess it worked!

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Next time, I'm going back for the al pastor, carne asada, and lengua tacos. But hey, if you want to experiment so you can say you've eaten pig belly or beef cheek tacos, go right ahead. This post may also be found on Los Angeles County Mexican Restaurants.

Other Mexican restaurants:
Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen - Orange
King Taco Restaurants #11 - El Monte (Garvey Ave.)
Los Cinco Puntos - Los Angeles
Old Town Mexican Cafe and Cantina - San Diego
Senor Fish - Alhambra
Tacos Baja Ensenada - (East) Los Angeles
Taqueria Chihuahua - Los Angeles (Mar Vista)

Carnitas Michoacan
1901 N. Broadway St.
Los Angeles, CA 90031
Open 24 hours.


  1. I remember the first time my SIL and her boyfriend brought us to this afrian restaurant in LA, it was dark and deserted. We were wondering why we were stopping at this place - there isn't any restaurants in sight except some quick diner restaurant and it was a burger stand. In fact, the restaurant has iron windows and bars. :)

  2. I actually just read about cabeza tacos in the LA Times this week. The Times said Taqueria Chihuahua have cabeza tacos "good enough to make you cry."

  3. seriously, that is the worst place to go for mexican food. yuck! bruce used to live by there and always get us food there and its never good!

  4. CN,
    That's always the nicest food surprise huh?

    I saw that too and added it to my already long list of places to try.

    Anon (or t),
    It's good! The rest of us like it just fine.

  5. Know of any good taco joints in Studio City and NoHo?

  6. Chili peeper,
    Sorry, no. I'm never in that area. You can try The Great Taco Hunt and see what he has.

  7. thanks WC. will do & let you know. BTW, if you have family/friends/readers who wants to open a vietnamese restaurant, you should do it in the NoHo, Studio City area (actually NoHo). they're gentrifying the area and lot's of new lofts/condos are springing up. lots of young people...actors,trainers,musicians,etc...worried about their weight but ready for fresh good affordable cuisine. check out lankershim & the area btn magnolia & burbank. also, metro station is smack dab there. i'm very serious about this, 'cuz i'm sick of driving to SGV or eating at the terrible Pho Hoa and Pho 999 in Van Nuys.

  8. Chili peeper,
    Thanks for the tip. Sounds like you should open a VNese restaurant in that area. :P

  9. i know how to eat vietnamese food but not cook it. incidentally, i am a chef, but my focus is fine dining, classical french. maybe one day i will incorporate vietnamese flavors into my menu. some chefs are already doing it, but i haven't had any that is elegant, yet authentic in flavor. but seriously, if anyone out there has family in the businese they should really open something nice in NoHo, or at least somewhere in the SFV; there truly is no competition, and like i said, i really think that people are ready for this cuisine. heck, i'll even help you plan your menu.

  10. Chili Peeper,
    Classical French cooking huh? I definitely think you should open your own restaurant. :)

  11. Next time you're here for the nachos, get the special nachos with rice and onions. It makes things a whole lot better.

  12. Geo,
    With rice huh? I rather like the carne asada nachos. :)

  13. This place is amazing.. my boyfriend introduced me to this place.. And sometimes I ask him to drive me out there from palm springs just to get the mexican flavor Im looking for..we always go for al pastor or carne asada burritos, carne asada tacos and carne asada NAchos..i dont want to try anything else because I love the flavor they come with. The salsa is great too..yumm 1901 N.BROADWAY. is the one I seen other CARNITAS MICHOACAN restaurants around LA..but I wint try any stuck to this one...

  14. NataliA,
    When I get carne asada nacho cravings, only Carnitas Michoacan will do. Then a get a taco or two for the road as well.


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