Saturday, April 3, 2010

Two Meals - Friday 04.2.2010 - Great Tacos And An OK Burger

Hi there! Sorry for the lack of posts in the last week and a half but been swamped with a ton of things.. Great news is that my super friends Team G.R.A. is back in California for good this time. (Our fun Sushi Ota omakase dinner during the last temporary visit here.)

I will definitely miss receiving photos from their Tokyo food adventures but we share a lot of similar meal interests and so more content to post on my blog in the future with them will sure to grow. We've already done some celebrating the night before that involved a substantial amount of booze where the plans to drive up to Ramen California the next morning didn't go quite as planned. But more on that later..

The husband half of G.R.A. had grown up in Pasadena while I had also gone to school in the area so I tagged along on a trip up end of last week.

The El Taquito Mexicano Truck off Fair Oaks in the Nishikawa Auto Service lot is full of nostalgic memories for both of us.

Not much had changed with the still bargain price of $1.25. The familiar sound of the double cleaver "choppitty, choppitty, choppitty.." The meats for the tacos are chopped fairly fine here.

If anything changed since those days maybe it was my choice in street taco fillings. It used to be the straight and narrow of either Asada or Carnitas for me but I had one of each of Cabeza, Lengua, Asada, and Al Pastor. The four tacos were $5 even. :) I say yes to everything asked and answer "hot" at the end..

Onions and Cilantro? Yes. Radishes? Yes. Hot or Mild salsa? Hot please.. All on steamed tender mini tortillas.

It was visually hard to tell each apart. The first turned out to be the Cabeza. The most extremely fine mince of the bunch almost in "mystery meat" territory.. Very moist, slightly gamey.. quite the unctuous fatty..

Lengua was next which I learned not to inspect too closely cause you're bound to see some of the taste bud end of the meat that visually resembles the scratchy side of velcro, haha. Flavor wise was close to the Cabeza. The Al Pastor was on the salty side this night but had good flavor. I had never really thought about it much but their spicy and lightly smokey salsa that is on the tangy side really complement these meat fillings, especially the fattier ones.

A recipe good enough to have the truck running for at least 10 years now. Funny thing is that out of curiosity we visited the original location way up the street a long time ago but somehow the tacos at the truck taste better.

Maybe it has to do with enduring the cold temperature at night. I'm sure there are other intangible factors...

El Taquito Mexicano Truck, (Nishikawa Auto Service lot after 8PM?) 510 S Fair Oaks Ave, Pasadena, CA 91105

I had a mocha at Buster's just before closing time and heading back to SD.

Was really cool to see the place again. The people that work here are always very chill not to mention they make great drinks and treats.

So I try to share all my meals here on my blog, great or so-so average (but usually not the bad). Earlier in the day driving up we took a big detour through Torrance to check out Ramen California again but I seem to have a jinx with not being able to get there on time. They close for lunch at 2:30PM and arrived 10-mins after again. This time though since it was a weekday neither Eboshi nor Shin Mama was open either. Agh!

As hungry as we were we drove around semi aimlessly trying to avoid the usual traps and found 'Y'Not Burger.. Why Not!? My friend was probably spoiled by great ramen in Japan anyway, but maybe an authentically average So.Cal. burger will pass after these years of deprivation? haha.

The 'Y'Not was your basic non-mega chain local burger joint strategically located close to a school.

The burger was the typical California style burger with ample lettuce (shredded here), ubiquitous thousand island sauce and thinner wide patty that stacks for an easy upgrade. I had the single 1/4 lbs meal which was pretty basic stuff. Not particularly memorable (the patty was on the dry side) but wasn't bad. As we were starving at this point you can say it hit the spot. The thicker cut fries again were basic but came out piping hot.

The entire (and entirely legible) 'Y'Not menu below in extremely high res. (It's a 1MB photo.) Eh, I have a soft spot for places like these..

I noticed a plate of Chili Spaghetti on the menu and also for breakfast the Gyro Feta Cheese Omelet..

We were a bit tired from some traffic we hit on the way up and ended chilling for about an hour. I noticed the place was impeccably clean. I'd say the visit was definitely one of those random one time weird road trip type experiences. But documented and posting here onto my online food diary..

We did wonder why a lot of So.Cal. independent burger joints seems to be Greek run or influenced..

Does anyone out there know? We were very curious. As for finding out the reasoning behind the name of the place, that was quite easy. I was told that the name of the owner is Tony and 'Y'Not is 'Tony' spelled backwards!? Ha, why not? :)

'Y'Not Burgers, 22940 Hawthorn Blvd, Torrance, CA 90505


K and S said...

those tacos look really good!

Darlene said...

Yes! There is absolutely a thing as a California burger! And my, those tacos look mighty delicious.

Dennis K. said...

Hi K&S they're pretty good! Also this truck is very consistent in what they deliver.

Hi Darlene! I kind of thought so since I see these burgers everywhere! haha :)

Kirbie said...

I'm totally craving tacos now. The "Y Not" name is clever. hehe.

Anonymous said...

Woo boy those tacos look good! And that Y-Not burger doesn't look bad either.

Dennis K. said...

Hi Kirbie, I seem to be on a taco roll recently.. Had a few more last night in Logan Heights. Will post soon!

Hi CAB, sometimes simplicity is best. :) I think it was $7+ for the burger meal. I guess I was expecting a juicier patty from the 1/4 lbs.. But it definitely wasn't bad.

Wandering Chopsticks said...

You were in my neck of the woods and you didn't say hi? :(

Dennis K. said...

Hi WC! We drove all around the day and were honestly exhausted by the time we reached Pasadena.. Will twitter next time! Will be my fourth tweet ever maybe, haha. :)