I’m not a taco guy at all. Tacos have always seemed like a boring food to me. But, somehow I end up going with people to taco places and ordering tacos alot. This is mostly my fault because whenever Jim Morrison comes up in conversation (which can be oddly frequent), I tend to quote my favorite line from “The Doors” movie.Val Kilmer (as a really out-of-it, stoned, overweight Jim Morrison) is sitting in a recording studio laying down some hot tracks. As he finishes, he blurts out “Let’s go get a taco!” For some reason, I love to repeat that line. But out of context, it really just sounds like a reasonable statement. Maybe this has created the impression that I’m a taco-person, I don’t know. Kind of like when your family notices a cow figurine on your grandma’s windowsill one summer, and suddenly she’s a cow-person and is soon buried beneath cow tchotchkes and bric-a-bric when she couldn’t have cared less about cows. But it isn’t like she hated cows, she just wasn’t that impressed with cows.
Guisados is JUST tacos. Granted, there is a lot of variety in their taco options. I wasn’t sure what ‘Guisados’ meant. At first, I thought that it must be Mexican slang for a ‘real cool guy’ (ex: ‘Este guey es muy guisado’). I soon learned that guisado actually translates to ‘stew’, which is coincidentally my name. So, I was right.
While we were sitting out on the patio, we had the pleasure of meeting the owner, “Old Man Guisado” himself, Armando De La Torre Sr. He doted on us as if we were treasured regular customers. He offered us free tacos for life if we helped him fix a hopeless heat lamp. Since we were sitting in an area of the patio that had no working lamp, he carried one over to our table from the opposite side of the restaurant. Como se dice… hospitality? I’ve never been treated like taco royalty before, and it didn’t end there. During the course of the meal, it seemed like every member of the Guisados staff came over to our table and asked us how we were doing.
I had the Chicken Tinga based on a recommendation from one of the regulars, and the chicharron based on how cute the name is (honestly, I was intrigued by ALL of the taco options). Both were actually incredible.The hand-made tortilla was worth the price of the taco alone: it seemed like a really rustic, honest tortilla (like if I was lost in Mexico and I wandered onto a ranch, hungry, the farmers would fling these at me). The chicharron taco blew my mind. Chicharron is like fried pork rinds, and since it is stewed the pork rinds feel squishy. This reminded me of Asian gluten dishes, which I like very much. That tortilla really is a game-changer, though.
I couldn’t have hoped for a more hospitable, welcoming atmosphere. The service made quite an impression on me, and you realize how jaded you are when the staff is so attentive to you and you’re just thinking, “but I ALREADY left a tip at the counter when I paid!? Why are they being so nice to me?” Thanks for reminding me of how satisfying a dining experience can be, Mr. Guisado. Now, I can truly say from the bottom of my heart, “Let’s go get a taco”.
From Downtown, get to Hill between Temple and Cesar Chavez: There’s a cool fountain and marble manny pad. Turn left on Cesar Chavez, past the freeway, and skate at the school parking lot for a little bit (manny pads, etc).
Where Cesar Chavez meets West Sunset, you have the amazing Orsini wall-rides (but be quick about it, security isn’t too friendly). Across the street, there’s a pair of perfect blocks on the corner of Figueroa.
It’s pretty much uphill from here, but you’ll still catch a couple of nice skateable ledges on the way. There’s a weird up-and-down corner ledge on the right-side, about a block away from Guisado. I’m pretty sure that there is some footage of it in “Yeah Right”. It’s nice to look at and fantasize about, but very gnarly.
“Light my fire.”