Sometimes you’ll be at a food event – a good food event, like Le Fooding at MOCA this past weekend – where one Parisian chef has figured out how to trick out a shot glass of oregano and lovingly extracted tomato water to taste like carnival pizza, and another to make a bowl of beans with brown butter taste like the most delicious thing you’ve ever encountered.
And then you realize that there are more than a hundred people lined up to get a taste of carrots at the Trois Mec concession, and you’d had those carrots just a few evenings before, at which point you may find yourself nosing your car east across the river once again, in search of the tacos that fortify the Eastside night.
If you are lucky, your nose may lead you to the El Pecas truck more or less permanently stationed on the north side of Cesar Chavez near the corner of Mednik Avenue, which as any self-respecting Angeleno knows, is a shortcut between the gastronomic pleasures of East Los Angeles and those of Monterey Park.
There will also be a line at El Pecas, but it is shorter and faster moving than the line for the carrot. El Pecas has many kinds of tacos -- lengua, tripas, buche, the token carne asada -- and you can try them all because the tacos are tiny and light and cost only a dollar apiece. A two-bite El Pecas taco is a lot of pleasure for a buck.
But if it’s getting late and all the pork al pastor has already been cut from its spit, you may as well get some tacos de cabeza, made with bits of meat from a cow’s head, because it tastes like well-done roast beef, it has the kind of slipperiness that makes friends fight for the last bit of tendon in a communal bowl of pho, and it is drizzled with a green tomatillo salsa that hits your mouth like a joy buzzer. Sometimes, the taco de cabeza on the way home is the best bite of the evening.