Off Menu: A Tijuana road trip with the guys from Tacos 1986, L.A.'s most exciting taqueros

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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.

In the first episode of “Off Menu,” Food columnist Lucas Kwan Peterson and Jazz Singsanong, longtime proprietor of the Thai Town restaurant Jitlada, head to LAX-C, a vast, warehouse-like grocery store that’s sometimes known by its informal nickname, Thai Costco.
More Coverage

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These vegan tacos are ethereal
Tacos 1986 makes the best vegan mushroom tacos. Chef and founder Jorge Alvarez-Tostado shares the easy recipe for the seared mushroom filling and salsa macha.

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A salsa that’s more like a sambal
Salsa macha combines dried chiles and garlic with olive oil, and this Tacos 1986 recipe includes sesame seeds for a nutty richness and orange juice for brightness.

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