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Food

Taco Tuesday: Tacos de chicharrón prensado

Lifestyle and LeisureCooking

If you are in South Gate, and you have commanded a table at Tacos DF, you are probably here for the Mexico City-style antojitos, which is to say the broad huaraches piled high with chicken, the quesadillas stuffed with squash blossoms and melted cheese, or the saucer-size sopes stained black with musky huitlacoche. If you are a fan of pambazos, the soaked and griddle-crisped sandwiches that are what the devil’s mother-in-law might fry up for breakfast if somebody asked her for a plate of French toast, you will find these here too.

Tacos DF, decorated with splendid murals, including a reworking of the Last Supper with classic Mexican movie stars in place of the disciples, is also the only place in town I have run across tacos made with chicharrón prensado, a gooey, porky, slithery meat with overtones of head cheese, scarlet and chunky in appearance and as dense as molten lead. Chicharrón prensado is usually described as pressed pigskin, and there are certainly bits here matching that description, but it is clearly more than that – escaped scraps of carnitas meat, perhaps, or cartilage stewed into submission, or fat that didn’t quite render the first time around, but is now ready for its closeup.

The meat is spicy, the cilantro fresh and the tortillas at that ideal nexus between crisp and pudding-like. They are the kind of tacos that are less chomped at than they are inhaled. Is chicharrón prensado Mexico City’s answer to scrapple? I’m betting it’s something like that, but there are no Amish here.

3342 Tweedy Blvd., South Gate, (323) 564-3221.

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