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L.A.’s next taco sensation is a mariscos truck in Silver Lake



#LAs #taco #sensation #mariscos #truck #Silver #Lake

Francisco Aguilar calls out the title on my order. By way of one of many home windows of Simón, the admiral-blue mariscos truck he parks six days per week at Sundown Triangle Plaza in Silver Lake, he arms me a plate with two tacos — a fish al pastor and a shrimp-filled gobernador.

The always-evolving choices for tacos whole 10 or so, and over the past couple months of standard lunches at Simón, solo or with buddies, I’ve began taking care to request tacos in even numbers. Aguilar and his small crew pair them by happenstance as they’re prepared. As a taquero, he leans modernist in his sculptural types and outside-the-box shadings of style and texture. Consuming his coupled tacos is as satisfying as contemplating a duo of work by the identical artist made in two very completely different moods.

Customers wait for their orders at the Simón mariscos truck parked at the Sunset Triangle Plaza.

Clients wait for his or her orders on the Simón mariscos truck parked on the Sundown Triangle Plaza.

(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Occasions)

Think about each aspect of the basic al pastor taco, subbing fish for pork: the pineapple sweetness, the deep ruddy stain of achiote paste, a slick of guacamole to easy and unite. There are additionally departures from custom. Onions seem two methods — fried for crunch and caramelized (splashed with soy) for umami. Cilantro, as on most of Aguilar’s tacos, seems as fronds with smooth, small leaves or tiny white buds. With all its shifting elements, the general impact is delicate, scrumptious subtlety.

For his tackle the gobernador — which is way extra overt than the al pastor, a still-life subsequent to an summary — Aguilar seems to be to the quesotaco craze. He griddles queso Oaxaca right into a exact, evenly bronzed circle and rolls it into a skinny tube full of grilled shrimp and bell peppers, which he units on high of a corn tortilla with a brambly crown of pickled purple onions. Melted cheese crackling between the enamel, adopted by the pop of just-cooked seafood? This factor is simple to like and devour.

A Pescadilla taco gets a topping of cilantro at the Simón food truck.

A Pescadilla taco will get a topping of cilantro on the Simón meals truck.

(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Occasions)

Relating to tortillas, and cooking typically, Aguilar is experimental. Presently he buys masa from El Mexicano Market in South L.A. Generally he makes use of yellow corn and generally blue, however currently he’s determined he likes the toothy-soft chunk that comes from combining the 2 of them, leading to fantastically mottled canvases on which to create. There’ll by no means be such a factor as oversaturation in L.A.’s taco tradition, however wild playing cards are at all times welcome, and Aguilar charges a categorical free-thinker.

He was born in the USA and raised in Oaxaca Metropolis in Mexico. After graduating from culinary college there, he labored in eating places that included Pitiona, a staple on best-of lists for its tasting menu centered on conventional Oaxacan components. He returned to the U.S. initially of this decade with a plan to open his personal restaurant. Aguilar’s cousin Alexis Chacon grew up in Los Angeles and believed in his abilities; final yr Chacon partnered with Aguilar on launching a lonchera to assist set up him domestically.

Chef owner Francisco Aguilar at Simón food truck.

Chef proprietor Francisco Aguilar at Simón meals truck.

(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Occasions)

The cousins test-ran early areas in Culver Metropolis, Venice and round West L.A. In April, pondering that Hollywood may be a greater match, they had been driving up Sundown Boulevard via Silver Lake after they seen the patch of park flanked by meals companies, together with ever-busy Pine & Crane, Espresso Memes and the Win-Dow Silver Lake dishing out burgers and fries. They pulled to the curb for the day to see what the response may be like. 9 months later, Simón feels settled in as a part of the neighborhood.

Why introduce himself to Los Angeles by way of mariscos? Aguilar says the medium looks like “a playground in my head,” a template receptive to his imaginings.

Amongst leche de tigre-laced ceviche and a basic, tangy coctel churning with fish and octopus, Aguilar tinkers with 4 variations of shrimp aguachile. Essentially the most conventional model ripples with the warmth of chiltepin chile and has a limey pucker to rival Gilberto Cetina’s tautest citrus marinades at Holbox. Meals obsessives have been zeroing in on Aguilar’s aguachile negro, made by charring tomatillos till they’re blackened after which pureeing them unpeeled with ice and Worcestershire sauce. Lime juice jolts this one too, however a whiff of campfire mellows the sting. Habanero and garlic additionally hang-out the sauce; their mixed flavors curl across the shrimp and half-submerged hunks of avocado.

Mixed cocktail at Simón mariscos truck.

Blended cocktail at Simón mariscos truck.

(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Occasions)

I return for the aguachile rojo, which hasn’t been the most well-liked of the bunch however which Aguilar retains on the menu as an evocation of Oaxaca. Its base is chintextle, a Oaxacan smoked chile paste blended with (amongst many components) avocado leaves, shrimp heads and plenty of garlic. The tastes are earthy and natural and in the end warming — a enjoyable paradox for a calming seafood dish.

The taco that for Aguilar most reps his residence state is the pescadilla, a folded fried taco synonymous with the Costa area of Oaxaca and the neighboring state of Guerrero. I bear in mind relishing the pescadillas on the heartbreakingly short-lived Tamales Elena y Antojitos in Bell Gardens, the place the Lorenzo-Irra household illuminated the Afro-Mexican cooking of Guerrero’s Costa Chica. Their pescadillas had been skinny and shattering; Aguilar’s are puffy, practically a masa empanada, encasing shrimp and tilapia in a marinade of tomato, onion, cilantro and oregano. He anchors it to the plate with a dense bean puree and showers it with finely crumbled cotija.

I urge you to order one, although the extra I strive from Simón the tougher it’s to breeze via the standout tacos in a single sitting. A duo of shrimp and bacon delivers easy pleasure. So does the taco impressed by enchilada suiza, condensing its wealthy comforts into grilled shrimp, swirling molten cheese and sharp salsa verde; it disappears in 4 bites. Palm-sized soft-shell crabs, after they’re out there, are fried and sparked with pickled onion, finely diced pico piña and dots of chipotle mayo.

Baja style fish taco at the Simón mariscos truck.

Baja model fish taco on the Simón mariscos truck.

(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Occasions)

Baja-style tacos, constructed from fried shrimp or fish, sport the telltale squiggles of mayo and the curly tuft of cabbage. They’re acquainted and exactingly fairly … and likewise the least attention-grabbing factor on the menu.

Aguilar drifts away from seafood with a carne asada taco; I like to recommend it largely as a automobile for his half-dozen prismatic salsas. He makes salsa macha stuffed with mulchy, crunch and nutty flavors; guacachile I may principally drink; and a carrot-habanero state of affairs that tastes as earthy-sweet and sizzling because it sounds. The latest addition is probably the most particular but: salsa de chicharrón, a conventional condiment smoky with morita chiles and winningly chunky with strips of softened pork rind. It’s wonderful on any of the tacos however notably rewarding on the soft-shell crab for the crackle-squish textural contrasts it lends.

The salsas stay in a cupboard alongside the truck’s facet panel. They’re onerous to overlook; the colours are magnetic. Use them liberally, whether or not you’re taking your mariscos to go or claiming one of many shaded tables within the plaza. Aguilar normally quotes you a time; if nobody else is across the turnaround is fast, 5 to 10 minutes.

Salsa bar at the Simón mariscos truck.

Salsa bar on the Simón mariscos truck.

(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Occasions)

I ought to disclose, although, that the phrase is more and more out on Simón. Final time I used to be there over the vacations, a crowd milled across the truck. I seen a frightening line of orders stretching alongside the metallic ticket holder above one window. It took practically 45 minutes earlier than I used to be having fun with my fish al pastor and gobernador.

Largely I didn’t thoughts. Thrilling, creatively assertive tacos like these by no means keep a secret for lengthy in Los Angeles. Nor ought to they.

 Customers peruse the menu at Simón mariscos truck on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2022 in Los Angeles.

Clients peruse the menu at Simón mariscos truck.

(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Occasions)


3667 W. Sundown Blvd., Los Angeles,

Costs: Aguachiles, ceviches and seafood cocktails $14-$16; tacos $4.50-$5.50

Particulars: Open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. Restricted seating in adjoining plaza. No alcohol.

Really useful dishes: Aguachile negro, aguachile rojo, fish al pastor taco, gobernador, pescadilla