Girls on Food

Taco Tuesday

Tacos with an Asian Twist: Rakken Tacos in Commerce, CA

Are you in the mood for some yummy food? Let’s taco ’bout it!

Guys, I love puns just as much as I love food. I just had to get that out of the way. Ok! Now let’s begin.

Rakken Tacos is a very unassuming restaurant in the middle of a strip mall in Commerce. I admit, I had no idea how far Commerce was when I volunteered to go to a tasting here. But let me tell you, it was worth the drive.

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Rakken Tacos
 2444 South Atlantic Boulevard, Commerce, CA 90040
http://www.rakkentacos.com

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Black Rose Tea

The décor is so cute. A large chalkboard with the menu items is the first thing you see when you walk in. There are beautifully stained wood trim, counter tops, and tableschalkboard As I approached the counter top, I was overwhelmed at what to try, so Ken, the owner, recommended that I have a little of everything. I did not argue. First, he encouraged me to try one of their teas, they are native to the east coast and are shipped in just for Rakken. They will soon have an exclusive west coast list of teas. I tried the black rose flavor. They are unsweetened, so it’s perfect for those who don’t want sugar overload. And there are no calories. Trust me; you’ll want to save that for the food.

After taking my order, Ken insisted I try the homemade jerky. His mother makes it especially for the restaurant. How cute is that? And it’s just as delicious. Not too tough and seasoned just right. I decided to look around while I waited for my order. A beautiful mural caught my eye at the other end of Rakken.

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Rakken’s custom mural

 

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Garlic Crab Fries

The rest of the walls were left simple, with the exception of the taco joint’s clever slogan on the adjoining wall that says, “Play hard. Eat harder.” Now for the food! First up, was the crab fries. Oh man, I could have easily filled up on these bad boys, but I showed restraint. Definitely a dish worth sharing.

I tried four different tacos. The Rakken al pastor taco, their namesake, had grilled Vietnamese lemongrass pork, sriracha mayo, onions and shiso leaves. The Pho taco had flank steak simmered in pho broth, onions, basil leaves with a hoisin-sriracha drizzle. Buttery shrimp taco had, you guessed it, buttery garlic shrimp with lemon and purple pickled onions. And lastly, but certainly not least, was the yuzu carne asada taco with marinated steak, Japanese citrus sauce, onions and shiso leaves.

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From left, clockwise: Al Pastor, Pho, Shrimp, Yuzu

It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I have to say the Pho tacos were mine. It was such an interesting take on a taco and just the right amount of crunch. But, a close second was the butter shrimp taco. For dessert, I chose the Oreo churro with Vietnamese coffee drizzle. This is the stuff of angels. Rakken is a hip place and an easy drive from the east side of LA. I recommend making stopping here on your way to the casino, before a trip to the outlets, or just anytime you are hungry for a little something different.

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Pho Taco
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Oreo Churro

 

Ashley Visits Taco Spot in Los Angeles, CA

tacospot2Taco Spot in Eagle Rock, CA is one of my favorite taco places in Los Angeles. A little over a year ago I came across Taco Spot on Groupon. The Groupon was good for 2 visits, which was just enough to get me hooked! Taco Spot is located on Colorado Blvd. in the heart of Eagle Rock. The restaurant is often filled with families, young couples from the neighborhoods and obvious regulars. Taco spot offers a variety of amazing Mexican food from taco plates, to carne asada fries and so much in between. Taco spot is gluten free, vegetarian and budget friendly.

Taco Spot
Address: 2006 Colorado Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90041
http://www.tacospot.com

On Tuesday’s, I often head to Taco Spot for my Taco Tuesday fix. While I’ve tried every taco they offer my favorite plate is the 2 potato taco entree which included rice, beans and chips. The tacos come in hard shell corn tortillas, are packed with fresh potatoes, lettuce, cheese and sour cream on top. The restaurant also homes a great fresh salsa bar which offers fresh cilantro, minced onion and a fantastic selection of salsas providing an array of salsa combinations to compliment the already delicious food.

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Taco Spot feels like a very small town restaurant. The staff is friendly and the service is exceptional.  I definitely recommend this place if you are looking to grab some tacos, check out a new Mexican restaurant or if you are out exploring Eagle Rock.
Taco Spot Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Taco Tuesday and Craft Cocktails at Harlowe in West Hollywood

My friends and I are bar quiz junkies, so when a new quiz set up shop at Harlowe Bar in West Hollywood that coincided with their Taco Tuesdays, I knew we had to go. And, as it turns out, Harlowe has both delicious tacos AND great drinks. Score!

Harlowe Bar
7321 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90046
http://www.harlowebar.com

harlowe3Tacos are $3 a piece, and while they are more like h’orderve tacos (the shrimp taco has exactly one fried shrimp on it) they are DELICIOUS. They are the perfect snacks for later in the evening and at $3, they are well worth it. Choices include chicken, beef, and a killer ceviche and each has delicious sauces and vegetables to top your tiny taco. All the ingredients are top quality and each taco packs a bunch of flavor into a small package.  If you’re seeking something a little heartier than a couple tacos, they have a full menu that is also delicious and wroth investigating- but come on, it’s Taco Tuesday!

harlowe2But you don’t just come for the tacos- oh no! Taco Tuesday includes a margarita special as well as a special on a horchata porter than is not to be missed (think the Blue Moon Horchata beer, but richer, chocolatier, and just generally better). But if you feel like going from something off the beaten path (or an old classic with an upgrade) take a look at their draught and specialty cocktails. I have yet to meet a Harlowe cocktail I don’t like. My very favorite drink on the menu might just be the Barrio Sour, which mixes mezcal AND tequila (so you can really get your Taco Tuesday on). However the Slow Dance (St. Germain, sparkling wine, and some other tasty liqueurs) and the Swipe Right (yup) are both winners too. Plus, they have fantastic makeovers of classic cocktails. The updated Aperol Spritz is oh so refreshing and the Sazarac is just fantastics. All their drinks use top shelf ingredients too, so you know you’re getting good quality for your money (or you can play quiz and win them for free!)

harlowe4The bar itself is also just super cool- the whole place is decked out with vintage portraits and has an old fashioned antique vibe. There’s a beautiful porch you can sit on out back and enjoy the nice weather while you feast on your tacos. While Harlowe might not be your typical Taco Tuesday place, it’s work visiting if you want to try something different and get some killer drinks while you snack on some unique tacos.
Harlowe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Taco Tuesday at Joyride Taco House in Gilbert, Arizona

I have lived in Arizona my entire life; born and raised. Which, I would consider pretty lucky. With thousands of authentic and delicious Mexican style restaurants around, it is pretty easy to always find a place to try something new. Enter, Joyride Taco House.

Joyride Taco House LogoJoyride is a part of one of my all time favorite companies in the valley; Upward Projects. Upward Projects are all about creating inspired restaurants that are connected to the communities they serve. Upward Projects began 11 years and has since grown into something many Zonies still get excited about when they announce a new location or restaurant.

Joyride Taco House (two locations)
302 North Gilbert Road
Gilbert, Arizona 85234
http://www.joyridetacohouse.com

Joyride Taco House, set in the ever growing and vibrant downtown Gilbert, Arizona, has an insane atmosphere. The good reviews, the location, and of course, the delicious food draws you in. It is the music, the employees and the house made cocktails that make you want to stay.

Joyride Taco House mealBoth locations of Joyride Taco House (Gilbert and Phoenix) have some really great deals on Tuesday nights. From 2:00 PM to close you can get $2 tacos such as braised beef, chicken tinga, crispy fish and more.  The chicken tinga taco is one of my favorites. It includes avocado, cabbage, cilantro and white magic. White magic is essentially just a house lime aioli sauce, but it sure is delicious. The Tuesday night specials also include great deals on their house made margaritas or pitchers of your favorite Mexican beer for $5. One of my favorite margaritas that they offer on special is their blood orange margarita. It is a blend of tequila, triple sec, house blood orange sour and hibiscus syrup. To make things even better about Joyride Taco House, from 2 to 6 p.m you can double up on deals by taking advantage of the their weekday happy hour. Those specials include $4 quesadilla or $6 ceviche. But you don’t have to stop at what is on special that night. Why not splurge on some of their other delicious items including burritos, enchiladas or one of their agua frescas, which are made fresh daily. You can order pineapple, ,cucumber mint or almond horchata; virgin or spiked. And the best part? You get to decide what type of booze you want to add. You can choose from tequila, vodka, rum, gin, amaretto or frangelico.  I would highly recommend the pineapple with tequila. It is absolutely delicious.

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I am telling you guys, they know what they’re doing. So when you get a chance to visit Arizona, make sure you hit up Joyride Taco House. I would recommend visiting the Phoenix location over the Gilbert location. Phoenix doesn’t seem to have quite as long of a wait time as the Gilbert location does. Either one you chose, you are sure to enjoy!

We also recommend you check out our friends at the Village Bakery for more cooking tips and recipes.
Joyride Taco House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Brooklyn’s Finest: Taco Tuesday at Rocco’s Tacos

IMG_4227-e1439948760880So, it’s Tuesday…what are you doing today/tonight? I’ll tell you something you should do (or plan to do on any future upcoming Tuesday). You NEED to get over to the Rocco’s Tacos closest to you for Taco Tuesday! Roccos’ Tacos boasts an impressive six locations; including one in here in Downtown Brooklyn! I’ve been here a bunch of times, both for Taco Tuesday, as well as other nights of the week, and I’ve never had a disappointing experience. I work literally a half a block away, so my friends and I love to go here for some post work munchies and drinks.

Rocco’s Tacos
339 Adams Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718) 246-8226
http://www.roccostacos.com

Wall art inside Rocco's Tacos Brooklyn
Wall art inside Rocco’s Tacos Brooklyn

The décor is so colorful and funky, with burst of oranges, purples, and blues everywhere. The crowd is fun & hip, and the energy inside that place is ridiculously infectious; like a constant party complete with a modern twist on Mexican Dia De Los Muertos artwork and skeletons that grace the inner walls.

 

 

 

The Mercado
The Mercado

Taco Tuesday is an all day thing here; $15 per person for an “all-you-can-eat” fest of various tacos, with drink specials beginning at 7:00 p.m. Be adventurous and order Guacamole, which they prepare tableside according to your heat tolerance. I’ve never been the biggest fan of Tequila, but from what I hear, their selection of over 400 different ones is impressive. If Tequila isn’t your thing, they make a mean Margarita. You can have it classic, or opt for flavors such as pomegranate, strawberry, or prickly pear, just to name a few. Love mojitos? Pair one of those with your tacos if that’s your thing.

Shrimp Taco
Shrimp Taco

Whatever your poison, just get yourself to Rocco’s Tacos ASAP. See you there! 

Rocco's Tacos Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Indian Taco Tuesday: California Chutney in Pasadena

I have a confession to make and I must come out clean about this so there are no questions about it in the future I’m addicted to tacos: soft, fried, corn or flour. I am a tacoholic at heart. I love them in all of its forms and presentations. So when I heard that California Chutney was serving naan tacos I had to have it.

California Chutney
45 N. Raymond Ave
Pasadena, CA
(626) 396-6947
http://www.calichutney.com

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California Chutney is located in the heart of Old Town Pasadena just north of Colorado Blvd. The place is modern, bright and minimalistic. It is introducing a new approach to traditional Indian food by adopting the “ordering in line” kind of method that we all know so well. You stand in line and order exactly what you want in your naan taco, bowl or roti burrito.

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I had the Cali Naan Duo and for my first taco I went with the braised chickpeas and tandoori chicken with cucumber yogurt raita. It was so flavorful. The tandoori chicken was spicy and well balanced with the cucumber raita. For my second taco I had the Paneer Tikka with the roasted chili chutney. I was delightfully surprised to see that the Paneer had kale instead of spinach. The chutney was spicy almost like a Mexican salsa. It was delicious.

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One of the things I liked the most about this place is that they make naan to order. They have a modern tandoor oven where they carefully bake the naan for the tacos. You can see the whole process through the glass window.

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The place also has a chutney bar. There you can help yourself to all the chutney that you want I certainly spend some time trying all the flavors. My favorite chutney was the fresh cilantro and the mango ginger.

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California Chutney is a nice alternative to Indian food in Pasadena. There is nothing like this in the area and the food has all the Indian flavors you want with a modern twist. The place is vibrant, the servers are super friendly and most importantly the food is really good at a reasonable price. Who knew that naan tacos could be so yummy definitely a good option for taco Tuesday.

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California Chutney Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Nashville Taco Tuesday: Mas Tacos Por Favor

If you ask any local where to get the best taco in Nashville they might hesitate before they answer. They might look at you to determine if you are worthy. Because the best taco place in Nashville is just that, a local spot. It’s nestled in a cozy, sleepy neighborhood in trendy East Nashville, which is far from the neon signs and honky-tonks of touristy Nashville. But Mas Tacos is THE place, hands down, to get the best taco in Nashville.

Mas Tacos
732 McFerrin Avenue
Nashville, TN 37206
615-543-6271
https://www.facebook.com/mastacos

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On the day my friend and I went for lunch it was rainy and gray in Nashville, and while days like this take an extraordinary amount of motivation to leave the apartment, it was Taco Tuesday and what more motivation does one need?

When you drive up to Mas Tacos you will wonder if you are even in the right spot, but the line out the door will confirm. Yes, you are indeed in the perfect spot. When you walk into Mas Tacos there is inside seating for about 50 and a cute little outside patio area for about 20 people. There are Christmas lights strewn on the ceiling and a mismatched bunch of tables and chairs. The menu is written on a chalkboard above the kitchen window, which doubles as the register. The kitchen is slightly bigger than a walk-in closet and had a staff of about five that you could watch assemble your lunch.

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My friend and I both ordered the pulled pork taco, the fried Avocado taco, Elote and an order of fried sweet cream plantains.  Our food came in shifts, but our entire meal was ready in 10 minutes, which was surprising because we started standing in line outside the door.Food3

The Elote was sweet corn rolled in queso, spice, and lime. The summer corn was so fresh it tasted like it was just picked this morning. The sweetness and the spiciness mixed together like a perfect party in your mouth.

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The braised pork and tomatillos taco was topped with cabbage and a spicy onion and yogurt sauce. The pork was tender and full of flavor; it tasted like it started slow roasting long before I even thought about opening my eyes this morning. As for the fried avocado taco, I think this might have been my favorite. The avocado was battered and then deep fried, it was not greasy and the avocado had a crunch before you got to the signature smoothness of eating a ripe avocado. It was topped with shaved cabbage and a spicy onion and dill yogurt sauce.

 

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The plantains were also deep fried, soft, and so sweet that they were considered our dessert.

Our entire meal cost us $18.00 plus tip.  When we pushed our chairs way from the table we both declared ourselves stuffed and wondered why we didn’t come more often, like every Tuesday, and promised it would be a new tradition.

Mas Tacos Por Favor Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Highway 395’s Taco Tuesday: Whoa Nellie Deli in Lee Vining, CA

Recently I had two jobs back to back – one in North Lake Tahoe, and one in Los Angeles. I commute between Northern and Southern California fairly often, but I had never before had the chance to drive on Highway 395 to do so – a drive I had heard was quite beautiful. I wasn’t disappointed. Lakes, mountains, lush greenery, several weather changes, and then the Mojave Desert kept me quite entertained on my seven-hour drive. I didn’t have time to stop at every little place that caught my eye, of which there were many, so I wanted to find a place to at least sit and enjoy lunch somewhere interesting before continuing on my way. For that, trusty Yelp came in handy. As I was approaching Mono Lake a few places popped up that looked promising. Being short on time I opted for Whoa Nellie Deli in Lee Vining, a place that boasted outdoor seating, a view of Mono Lake, and a Mobil Station. Perfect.

Whoa Nellie Deli Mono Lake, Lee Vining, CA

Whoa Nellie Deli 
22 Vista Point Rd.
Lee Vining, CA 93541
760-647-1088
http://whoanelliedeli.com

Whoa Nellie Deli Mono Lake Lee ViningWhen I got there I realized that I had indeed stumbled upon a travelers oasis. The restaurant is located just off the freeway, yet manages to have a large outdoor picnic area with green grass, flowers, and lovely views. Inside Whoa Nellie Deli there was both a convenience store and a restaurant. The convenience store had a wide array of drinks to choose from, including beer, wine, and self serve coffee, which you can pay for as you order your food at the restaurant. I opted for a Bundaberg Ginger Beer, one of my favorites. It has a little kick but isn’t too spicy. The menu above the counter at the restaurant listed café style drinks, smoothies, salads, as well as a good selection of entrees – definitely enough options to satisfy any traveler. I ordered up the two fish tacos with beans and waited for my number to be called.

Photo Aug 01, 6 06 29 PMAll the employees at Whoa Nellie’s were super nice. The bus boy made a couple jokes with me while I waited for my order, the chef’s smiled, and the manager skirted about cleaning up and making sure everyone was doing okay. It was a very nice energy to encounter after being on the road for hours.

 

 

 

Photo Aug 01, 6 11 31 PMMy tacos were ready in about 5-10 minutes – so I wouldn’t say it qualified as fast food, but definitely a quicker option than going to a sit down and order restaurant. My plate of food was literally daunting. For $12 I got enough food for two people to easily split. The fish tacos were big! Time to wander outside and eat! It was sprinkling a bit outside, and while there was ample covered seating I opted to go out to the lawn tables instead. It was just too pretty to not sit right dab in front of that view.

 

The fish tacos plate comes with two different kinds of tacos – one with shredded lettuce and cabbage slaw with a ginger cream sauce, and the other with sweet fresh mango salsa. Both tacos were crisp and had fresh ingredients. I absolutely loved the mango taco. The fruit chunks were so big and delicious. I honestly think they put an entire mango on that one taco. You won’t catch me arguing with that! The beans were also very good – savory and topped with a little cheese and cream sauce.

Photo Aug 01, 6 23 14 PMBy the end of my meal I was stuffed and happy. I couldn’t have asked for anything more for a quick break on my drive. I look forward to stopping into Whoa Nellie Deli again when I can make another trip up that way to simply do some sight seeing!