Chef Ricardo Diaz is cutting a masa-fueled swath across L.A. County. The co-founder and former partner in Guisados now presides over Bizarra Capital in Whittier and teamed with Patrick Aguirre on Colonia Taco Lounge in freeway-friendly La Puente. Food writers have rained praise on the sprawling taco, craft beer and cocktail emporium, for good reason.
To find Colonia, just follow the goat, which appears on a sign and welcome mat. Inside the one-time outpost of the Diaz family’s El 7 Mares mini-chain, expect to find dark grey booths paired with wood tables, a square communal table with copper centerpiece, wrought iron chandeliers, and a bar with an above average craft beer program. Diaz lists a rotating taco selection on a blackboard menu by the counter, quite possibly including Pork & Pumpkin ($3).
A soft but sturdy, house-made corn tortilla comes topped with tender chunks of pork shoulder bathed in a smoky, burgundy-hued salsa garnished with crunchy pumpkin seeds. Where’s the pumpkin, you might ask? Diaz builds Kabocha squash into the sauce, along with onions, toasted pumpkin seeds, cumin, coriander, ancho chiles and always-magical manteca. That’s lard for people playing at home.
Dose of Vitamin P spotlights my favorite pork dish from the previous week.