I was killing time in West LA, so I went to my favorite taqueria, Taqueria Sanchez. I discovered the place a few years ago while searching through old Chowhound threads.
From outward appearances, Taqueria Sanchez might look like any other fast food Mexican restaurant. However they do a good job with their street-style tacos. In particular, they do very good al pastor (marinated pork), but I've found their cabeza (head) and buche (pork intestine) to be quite good as well.
Today I ordered a minor feast: dos tacos al pastor, dos tacos de cabeza, un taco de buche, y un taco de chicharron (pork rind). Each taco was $1.35, but they're quite generous. When my food was ready a few mintues later, one customer thought it looked so good he asked for the very same thing.
I started with the al pastor, which was one of the reasons I had gone here in the first place. Their al pastor is very moist, which I've found to be exceptional when compared to most other Mexican restaurants, and it is bursting with flavor. Though unusually this time, they served the pork with the pineapple pieces they used to marinate the meat. Surprisingly, the pineapple wasn't overpowering, and was just as good as the pork.
I next had the cabeza, my second favorite at Taqueria Sanchez. The cabeza is tender and sopping with stew. Unlike it's name, cabeza, or head, is more like a stewed headcheese, using the cheek meat and other bits. As such, there's plenty of tender meat and soft connective tissue. Whereas the al pastor is a little savory and a little sweet, the cabeza is savory and more straightforward. It can be a bit messy, but it's worth having the tasty juices from the stew.
Next, I moved onto the buche. Like you might expect, the buche was chewy, but not to the point of being unappetizing. Intestine is always a little funky, kind of like how lamb or goat is a little funky when compared to beef or pork, but it's never off-putting. Compared to the rest of the tacos, it provided a good contrast in texture. Like everything else, it was well-flavored, but different from the rest.
Lastly, I had the chicharron. This was my first time trying it here. I've been to some restaurants that used pre-packed pork rinds, and others that used meaty chunks with a little bit of rind. The chicharron at Taqueria Sanchez appears to be prepared on site, with less meat and more rind. They're quite soft as they're stewed in a smoky, spicy sauce. It's similar to a barbecue sauce, but without the overwhelming sweetness. It was actually pretty delicious.
It turned out to be a good mixture of different flavors and textures. Six tacos was perhaps a little more than I needed to eat, but I don't regret finishing a meal that was so good.
Some other notes on Taqueria Sanchez:
- 5 out of 7 on my mess-o-meter. You will need napkins.
- 5 out of 5 on my tacometer. This is seriously good stuff.
4541 S. Centinela Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90066