I can still remember a moment after the Lamb Showdown when Wesley Avila, who was working for Walter Manzke that night, announced that he planned to raise the bar for L.A. tacos. A bold statement, for sure, considering L.A. has so many good tacos. Then again, the L.A. native certainly had the culinary pedigree. He spent years working for two of my favorite chefs, Manzke and Gary Menes, before striking out on his own with a Guerrilla Tacos street cart. At first, he fueled private parties like the Cognoscenti Coffee Culver City launch, and later set up residency outside coffeehouses like Handsome Coffee Roasters and the aforementioned Cog.
Avila mined farmers markets for prime produce, crafted flavorful, often fiery salsas, and gradually upgraded his corn tortilla game, eventually making his own (when lines were short enough). When my friend was in town from New York recently, we ordered everything on Avila’s menu at the new Guerrilla truck he runs with wife Tanya Mueller, including knockout tacos crafted with swordfish belly and leg of lamb. Less than a week later, I was back for more, and was once again impressed, this time with his chorizo taco ($4).
Avila is a master at breakfast, lunch and dinner tacos, and one of his latest morning creations features a smoky, griddled crumble of paprika-stained pork chorizo, premium, skin-on Weiser Farms fingerling tomatoes, cilantro and pickled onions, which balance the meat’s richness. Best yet, Avila spoons on fiery habanero salsa that left me scrambling for ice water relief. As I’ve learned, he can impress minus meat, but sometimes, it’s impossible to resist pork’s siren song. Either way, Guerrilla Tacos is indeed helping to advance L.A.’s taco cause.
Dose of Vitamin P spotlights my favorite pork dish from the previous week.