Pablito’s Tacos, a new Tijuana-style taco stand, opened in Burbank last week, in the parking lot of Pablito’s Kitchen restaurant on Burbank Boulevard.
While the stand may look like the ones that seem to be sprouting up all over L.A. parking lots, the tacos at Pablito’s are made with a South American twist.
“It’s about 70% traditional Tijuana taco stand, with a 30% Peruvian touch,” says co-owner and self-professed “taco aficionado” Daniel Rodriguez, who devised the stand with chef Flor Oropeza.
Pablito’s Tacos sets up nightly in the lot of Rodriguez’s two-year-old Peruvian restaurant that comes with its own vending machine offering Peruvian snacks. Many of the preparations available on the menu inside the restaurant are also now filling the soft corn tortillas being made by hand outside.
Here, you’ll find tacos featuring lomo saltado, a Peruvian marinated steak. As well as a smoky, brined and dry-rubbed pollo a la brasa.
There’s also chicharrón, the Peruvian version of a crisped and juicy pork that has more in common with Mexican carnitas than the fried rinds. The latter was the signature dish of a food truck where Pablito’s has its origins, Rodriguez says.
A beef heart anticucho taco was also featured early on as one of the stand’s ongoing taco-of-the-day specials.
Traditional Mexican options include an intensely peppery pastor carved in thick slices from the spit, as well as an asada and vegetarian taco with nopales and mushrooms.
To drink, there’s café de olla and three daily aguas frescas, which could include an acai, guava or maracuya lemonade. And there’s Inca Kola too.
All tacos are also available in mulita and quesadilla-form too. Tying everything together is Pablito’s version of the customary Peruvian green sauce known as ají, only here, made with jalapeños in place of ají chiles, and cilantro for huacatay.
“We try to make everything so you can really feel the difference,” Rodriguez says, recounting the six months of testing he and his partner conducted for the recipes. “So no one can say, ‘Oh, you can get these same tacos down the street.’ We’re really trying to stand out.”