Just when it looked like L.A.’s carnitas pecking order was pretty well pegged, Bill Esparza reported on the ascendancy of Carnitas El Momo in his LA Mag column. Could Romulo “Momo” Acosta scale to the peak of Carnitas Mountain? He certainly has the pedigree. Momo hails from Salamanca, Guanajuato, where his father, Felix, started serving Sunday carnitas out of his Mercado Tomasa Esteves butcher shop. He’s personally been cooking pig parts in a copper cazo for 53 years. Daughter Adriana recently starting running a truck near LACC on weekends, and son Juan “Billy” Acosta runs a stand in South L.A. They typically serve pig skin (cueritos), cheek (buche), foot (patita) and shoulder (masisa). My friend arranged a special order of ribs (costillas), liver (higado), kidney (riñón) and tongue (lengua). The color of the meat took me by surprise, since I’m used to rosy pink Mexico City style carnitas. Momo’s meat is brown since he infuses the molten manteca with either brown sugar or Coca-Cola, traditional flavor agents. Still, the meat stays tender, especially the tongue and ribs. [Yes, despite what the photo conveys, you of course de-bone and dress the ribs.]
Steaming corn tortillas and accompanying condiments are fairly straight forward: spicy salsa roja, less spicy and even tangier salsa verde, minced onions and cilantro, and still tangier vegetables like jalapeno, onion and carrot en escabeche. These weekend carnitas are well worth seeking, even if you can’t typically find offal on-board the truck or stand.
Hours: Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
The truck also runs on Friday nights at the corner of Soto Street & Fairmount Street in Boyle Heights.
The stand operates at the corner of S. Avalon Boulevard & E. 61 Street. Hours: Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Dose of Vitamin P spotlights my favorite pork dish from the previous week.