Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Taquito Revisitado -- Rodolfo's


8 Olvera St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 625-8501
Google Map

You may recall that some time ago, I posted a near-encyclopedic review of the numerous taquito stands lining the East side of Olvera Street. I concluded that while Cielito Lindo is the most famous, the best was Juanita's Cafe. I apologized at the end of the review for having mis-calculated my taquito intake on the way up the street, and being therefore indisposed to check out Rodolfo's at the top of the street.

Perhaps some of you saw the comment that appeared on the post a few weeks later:
you can't write a taquito review of olvera street without eating at Rodolfo's. Juanitas is good and you are right about the other restaurants, they suck (Luz del Dia excluded) but you started on the wrong side of the street cuz you would've eaten 10 straight up had you eaten at Rodolfo's and your review would have been totally different.i guess what i'm saying is you have yet to eat the best taquitos at Olvera Street... our taquitos kick ass. so come back and ask for Daniel and i'll give you the goods.
I went back to Rodolfo's. Now, even though I'm a blogger, I at least pretend to have some journalistic ethics. I rarely post about a place after only one visit, and I never let an establishment comp me a meal. Not that any have offered. But still, I would never have accepted special treatment from Rodolfo's, despite the invitation. That would not be fair you, my humble readers, who might not receive such preferred taquito treatment.

Besides, "Daniel" wasn't there when I asked for him.

But you know what? Rodolfo's taquitos do, indeed, kick ass. What sets them apart from the other tubes of greasy goodness on the block is the delicacy of the shell. Where Cielito Lindo's taquito is positively chewy, at Rodolfo's the tortilla itself manages to be crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, like a pastry or a perfect french fry. That's no mean feat to achieve in the 1/16th inch width of the flattened-maize medium. Only one small gripe: the stand's photographic menu tantalizingly shows taquitos served with a chunky, fresh guacamole, but it is in fact topped with that very different beast, avocado sauce. But it's a tangy, creamy one with a nice kick so no points deducted.

Add to that Rodolfo's delicious beef filling -- yes, it passes the whole-thing-wants-come-out-in-the-first-bite litmus test for stringy beef -- and Rodolfo's has clearly earned its spot at the top of the Olvera Street.


  1. Those taquitos remind me TOTALLY of the first ones I ever had, at Woolworths lunch counter. With that tangy, wonderful "guacamole". I'm not sure what the red sauce on top of the ones at Rodolfos is (sri racha sauce?) but it looks pretty.

    I must try these.

  2. Jim Kelly1:53 PM

    Funny you should talk about taco night at home... My mom is from Southeastern Arizona and in Mill Valley in the 50's (when I was a child), she introduced us to tortillas and tacos and we had a family tradition of taco night long before they were readily available; she had to go to a specialty store to get tortillas. All of our childhood friends learned about tacos from us; our family table often included extra kids from the 'hood. Alas, my Mom is hopelessly gringo when it comes to taste and our red sauce was tomato sauce - one step away from ketchup - so it wasn't entirely Mexican, but it was as close as we were likely to get.

    Jim Kelly

  3. I'll have to try those. Stumbled across your blog because of NaBloPoMo. Have you ever tried Tito's tacos in Culver City or Eduardos in Westwood?

  4. Elaine, some of the first taquitos I ever had were at the K-mart lunch counter in Thousand Oaks. One of these days, I'm going to post about the VERY first. That'll be a long post indeed. The red at rodolfo's was just a splattering of their house salsa roja, which is very good.

    And Melissa, I like Tito's Tacos. You'll find I don't post much about the Westside, though, because I never go there!

  5. Aha (re: the salsa roja. I actually thought as much. Though somehow the idea of sri racha on taquitos is oddly appealing. But I have a cold.)

    Have you tried, by the way, Trader Joe's Mexican Red Sauce in the bottle? Man is that good. Perfect fare for your Taco Night and makes a brilliant marinade for chicken or beef, too!

  6. In fact, I've been looking for a decent house salsa to keep in the fridge. Is the TJ's a Tapatio-style pepper sauce, or a salsa? I'm currently using their salsa especial, in a tub, plus Cholula.

  7. TJ's red sauce is a hot sauce of the texture of something like Del Scorcho sauce.

    I think you would like it!

  8. so is rodolfo's better than cielito lindo?

    i'm trying to surprise my boyfriend for his birthday this weekend and wanted to take him to olvera - a hole for lunch (rodolfo's or cielito) and a sitdown place like La Golondrina (got any better suggestions?) for dinner.

  9. Jenn, I assume your boyfriend joneses for Mexican food? The time between lunch and dinner is an awfully long time to spend on Olvera St.! To your question, yes, I think both Rodolfo's and Juanita's are better than Cielito Lindo. But why not conduct your very own taste test? Get two at each place, and let us know what you think. I love La Golondrina. The food is solid, the margaritas are excellent, and the history and ambience are fabulous. Of course, if you don't want to do Mexican/Mexican, you could stroll over to Chinatown and go to Ocean Seafood for some Peking Duck and Crab in Chili Garlic sauce. Hope you have a great surprise birthday with your beau!

  10. Yeah, my boyfriend LOVES Mexican food more than anything on the face of this Earth (probably me included!). Your blog inspired me to exactly that - a taste test. In fact, I was just working on a "tasting menu" for this Saturday. Cheezy, I know. :) Thanks for the Chinatown ideas too!