Saturday Nov. 25 was Small Business Saturday. American Express, in partnership with the non-profit National Trust for Historic Preservation, created this shopping holiday which follows Thanksgiving to support small business and to shop local merchants. Through my social media feed, I discovered Taco Window and I decided to support them on Small Business Saturday.
Boyle Heights, South and East LA is typically where you find the best Mexican tacos and I was surprised to learn that Taco Window is located in Jefferson Park, a neighborhood where I spent my early childhood.
The chef and owner of Taco Window is Basile Bouhadida. He grew up in Northern France and previously was the pastry chef at Mauro’s Cafe on Melrose. I asked him why tacos? He replied that after he found a space to call his own, he checked out the neighborhood and tacos seemed like the logical choice.
Taco Window sits between an auto repair shop and a laundromat. Its bright red exterior definitely stands out among the other stark buildings. Two small windows face the street and two high top tables on the sidewalk serve as their dining room. Chef Basile and I were chatting when a car stopped and double-parked in front of the restaurant.
“Where is your parking?”, shouted the lady from her car.
Basile replied “in the back” and motioned with his arm.
She volleyed back “I have a walker.”
Basile said “You can park in front of this driveway”
She parked in front of a driveway that belonged to a business that was closed at the time. He returned to the kitchen and a few minutes later he brought a bag containing two tacos to her car. Now THAT is great customer service!
Taco Window’s menu is mounted to the exterior of their building. Looking at the menu, I was surprised to find that everything is under $4. What is even more surprising is that everything is scratch made: handmade corn tortillas, hot sauces and churros.
Because the food was so reasonable, I ordered almost everything: 2 pork, 2 carne asada, 1 fish and 1 red chorizo taco. I also ordered a side of chips and guacamole and of course I had to try their churros.
When you bite into a soft taco, the first thing your taste buds pay attention to is the tortilla. It is a bit on the thick side which eliminates the need to use two tortillas on a taco. It is slightly scorched on the edges and mildly sweet. Chef Basile told me he created a French version of masa.
I didn’t inquire about the meat they use, but it is obviously of top quality. There was no noticeable amount of fat with the pork, carne asada or the chorizo. I’m accustomed to seeing a bit of grease disseminate from chorizo when it has been sitting for any length of time. Even after opening the box at home, I was impressed at how little grease I observed.
It seemed to me that the pork was prepared with a delicious citrus based marinade and was braised so that it was extremely tender. The housemade salsa verde was the perfect topping for this taco. A generous size piece of tilapia is breaded and fried. The sauce they supplied tasted like it was made from crema, lime juice, jalapeño and garlic. It was hard to believe that these tacos were only $2 each!
Given that Chef Basile worked as a pastry chef, I had to order the churros. Instead of a confectioners sugar coating, an extremely coarse white sugar was used. After my wife and I took bites into it, we both thought that it was a bit unusual. She quickly said, “it’s a cronut” and while it isn’t injected with cream, it was crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside. They were quite tasty and I’m sure they were quite remarkable if I had eaten one fresh while standing in front of his restaurant.
Taco Window, 2622 W Jefferson Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90018