Within months of opening, Tacos 1986 ascended to the ranks of L.A.’s most popular taco spots. Run by Victor Delgado and charismatic taquero Jorge Alvarez-Tostado, Tacos 1986 became known for its Tijuana-style tacos de adobada — juicy marinated pork sliced from a rotating trompo and served with a dollop of smooth guacamole.
What began as a streetside stand in Highland Park, and then on Western Avenue in Koreatown, developed its strong following due in no small part to Alvarez-Tostado, also known as Joy, a larger-than-life character who emphasized the relationship between the taquero and the customer — a relationship he felt was lacking in typical L.A. taco spots. Tacos 1986 now occupies a storefront on Spring Street downtown.
In this second episode of “Off Menu,” Food columnist Lucas Kwan Peterson followed Victor and Joy to their hometown, Tijuana, to go on a tour of the childhood friends’ favorite taco spots and learn about the different styles of tacos and tortas just south of the border — tortas ahogadas, tacos dorados, carne asada, pork carnitas and, of course, the juicy adobada Tacos 1986 is known for.
At street stands that sell Tijuana-style tacos de adobada, the eye-catching centerpiece is usually a trompo — a vertical rotisserie stacked with marinated pork.
Tacos 1986, the pop-up taqueria known best for its guacamole-smeared mushroom tacos and charismatic taquero, is opening in downtown L.A. near the corner of Spring and 6th streets.