Sunday, June 27, 2010

La Cabanita - 7th & Pine, Long Beach, CA

If any of you readers have been following my food posts for a while, you probably know that CantStayJose and I constantly run around Long Beach (and sometimes the surrounding cities) for el taco magnifico. I have to catch up eating all the god damn tacos I had missed out on, having grown up in Hawaii without tacos de authentico.

There are a few regular spots we go to that you might've read about before and many times of course we go back to them by default. This place on the corner of 7th St. & Pine in Downtown Long Beach is our new find... and what a find it has been.

On this side of the city 7th becomes a one-way street, so we usually pass by this corner at night only AFTER going to our local bar. Whoever is not driving, of course, is usually drunk and can get a real good look at what's been happening on this corner. One night Jose and I finally remembered this place and decided check this taco stand out BEFORE hitting the bar, which was one of the best calls we've made on tacos in a while. After thinking about this, we've actually seen this taco stand on the weekends for about 2 years without stopping by for a taco.

On this trip though, it was my 2nd round a couple of weeks later with my co-pilot Sasha.

So on Fridays and Saturdays, from around 8pm to 1am, La Cabanita serves tacos curbside. This gets a lot of foot traffic. Parking is always plentiful too.
I've witnessed a large bed of carne asada grilling here as we walked up but on this night we were early and they were just getting started.
The asada is good here. Unless very low quality beef is used, its hard to screw up the asada. This place uses some pretty good cuts and the asada is very high quality and tasty. Not too dry and not too fatty either. Just like a good steak, I usually like beef slightly on the "marbled" side. Too lean could easily mean too dry.
But I don't come here for mainly for the asada. I more or less never do with tacos. I'm always on the hunt for everything else besides asada. This weekend taco stand has served me the best taco de lengua (beef tongue) I have ever consumed in my entire life. I have returned, I will give this bovine tongue a French Kiss once again! oui oui!
The tortillas here are dipped in oil and grilled for a slight crisp... just enough to still be able to curl up the sides but still give you a crunch on your initial bites, before your taco's tortilla soaks up all the juices like a sponge. So eat quick! If you're going to order several tacos, it's best to order them 2 or 3 at a time. Trust me, I ain't being picky. It really is the best way to enjoy these Mexicano delights. Here's the man doing the dip before grilling:
I was already eyeing-up the fixings before our tacos were done.
Just a couple minutes...
And then here they are. I started with two tacos; cabeza (head meat - no, it's not 'sesos' which is brain) and a lengua:
I followed through with my plan and didn't over do the trimmings:
Cilantro & onions, radishes, a couple of limes, and a little salsa roja:
After those two were gone, within 60 seconds or so, I ordered 3 more tacos de lengua. Trust me, I don't go around eating beef tongue wherever its sold. I won't order it at any Asian/Oriental places and I never really liked it growing up... but if you've never tried it, you owe it to yourself if you ever make it here. Is $1.50 or $2.00 to try one REALLY going to break the bank? No. Get it, quit being such a fag.

Most people spend hundreds and even thousands buying the wrong vintage chopper parts off of eBay these days. They should be spending their money and buying tacos de lengua instead.

Although I have NOT eaten at this place when it's open during regular business hours, the Friday and Saturday-night taco stand get a rating of 8 out of 10 from me and CantStayJose.

Don't miss out. Make the trip, check it out this weekend.

You'll be stoked.



  2. funny! & thanks I'll have to use that "online" question in a future interview!