While I don’t frequent Eagle Rock enough, any time I’ve dined there for Pasadena Weekly, or just for my own enjoyment, I’ve discovered hidden gems that thrive because of the eclectic and charming presence of the community they inhabit.
Around 3 o’clock on a Sunday afternoon, a friend and I decided on a late lunch and made our way to the little LA neighborhood tucked into the sprawling city’s scenic northeast corner. It isn’t difficult to narrow down a place to visit since many are unique to the community or boast great reviews online. This week, Taco Spot caught our attention.
Located on Colorado Boulevard, the little Mexican restaurant is located in a prime area with plenty of visitors (at least on the day that we were there), and it’s in good company; two of my previous reviews are located in the same block.
Near the cash register, where customers order, the restaurant itself appears to be small, but it opens up with much more room in the main dining area. The interior is painted bright orange and the walls are lined with portraits of Mexican families or paintings exhibiting Mexican culture. I loved that the table numbers are loteria cards, a traditional game of chance from my childhood that uses images on a deck of cards and is a staple as big as Monopoly in Hispanic culture. Taco Spot is modern and nostalgic all at once.
We grabbed a couple of menus and pondered what to order while the helpful and pleasant cashier answered our questions. What’s great about Taco Spot is that while it has a large variety on the menu and caters to diets of all kinds, it’s not overwhelmingly frilly with way too extreme dishes, which often occurs in Americanized Mexican cuisine.
We decided to order the shrimp burrito ($8.95) which turned out to be slightly different than what we were expecting. My dining companion and I failed to look at what was inside the burrito. There was rice, cheese, and fresh guacamole, while we had expected a lighter combination to compliment the seafood. Still, it was pretty good. I ordered a potato taco ($2.95) which is listed with a heart next to it to signify that it is vegetarian friendly. It’s served with tomatoes, lettuce, cream, guacamole and cheese. Other vegetarian friendly and intriguing tacos to try are the veggie (sautéed spinach, kale, zucchini, mushrooms, onions, corn, bell peppers, cheese and guacamole), as well as the tofu taco, which I’d never seen at a Mexican restaurant. The tofu taco can only be ordered as a plate ($7.95) and comes with marinated tofu topped with cheese, cilantro, onion and guacamole.
For my entree I tried the chicken torta ($8.25), labeled a “favorite” on the menu, it comes with lettuce, tomato, guacamole, cheese on a toasted roll and is served with a side of chips. Although I wish the bread was just slightly thicker to withstand all of the components of the sandwich, I loved it. Oddly enough, the chips and pico de gallo were probably my favorite part of my meal. Their salsa bar is a match made in heaven for those who are indecisive or love layering sauce on their meals, and the chips are fried to a perfect golden color and crunchy crispiness.
To share in addition to our entrees, we ordered the mole fries ($6.25), which are also vegetarian friendly. This was another item on their menu I had never seen before, yet not too over the top. I don’t like mole in general, but it’s a classic Mexican dish that many people enjoy.
Taco Spot also serves traditional Mexican staple dishes such as enchiladas ($10.25) and fajitas ($10.25), as well as breakfast favorites, like chilaquiles ($8.75) smothered in red sauce and served with scrambled eggs and beans. They also feature huevos rancheros ($8.95), served with beans and a side of potatoes. In addition, they also have all around favorites, like a breakfast burrito ($8.25), made of scrambled eggs, cheese, bacon and beans, and served with guacamole, sour cream, and breakfast potatoes.
Of course, they have a kids menu, and best of all, every single one of their plates are under $12, which sounds unbelievable given the portion sizes.
While many Mexican restaurants don’t cater specifically to vegans or vegetarians, or even to families of all ages, this one does, and in the most humble way possible.
Perhaps that’s why Taco Spot really is the spot for casual Mexican dining in Eagle Rock.
2006 Colorado Blvd.,
Major Cards Accepted/