Shopper & Diner: A tribute to the king of tacos in Cypress Park; fresh details on Atwater Village’s Italian eatery; new Silver Lake vintage store stocks up on Mid Century goods

Photo courtesy King Taco

Photo courtesy King Taco

By Marni Epstein

This month, Los Angeles mourns the passing of a true food innovator. Raul Martinez, Sr., who opened the first King Taco in Cypress Park, passed away earlier this month at the age of 71, says the L.A. Times. Martinez started simply, selling late-night tacos al pastor outside a bar in 1974. Today, King Taco locations can be found across Los Angeles. Previous to Martinez, tacos al pastor (pork) were difficult to come by, but are now a common fixture in Los Angeles’ Mexican eateries. The family continue to operate the King Taco family and friends kindly look back on Martinez’s laudable leadership skills as his family continues operation of the chain.

Times food critic Jonathan Gold paid his respects by returning to the original King Taco on Cypress Avenue. He ordered tacos al pastor, of course.  Said Gold:

And while the marinated pork was scooped out of a bin instead of carved from a rotating trompa, and the tortillas warming on the flattop came from a package, the salsa was hot, the flavors were bright and clean, and the tortillas were crisp; the very model of a delicious late-afternoon snack.

In other Shopper and Diner News:

  • New details have emerged on what Adria Tennor and Claudio Blotta, owners of Barbrix in Silver Lake, have planned for a new  Italian restaurant set for Atwater Village’s old Acapulco location. Los Angeles Magazine says the menu will be crafted by Barbrix’s own Executive Chef, Don Dickman and that they will be doing wood-fired pizzas. The restaurant will also feature a full bar.

  •  Silver Lakers can take a bit out of more vintage goods at the recently-opened Vintage Nibbler. The micro-storefront at 572 N. Hoover Street opened just three weeks ago. The husband-wife owned venture is stocking all things Mid Century ranging from furniture to decor.
  • Long-time Eagle Rock burger joint The Bucket got tossed out earlier this year and has re-emerged as Dee Dee’s Dive, KPCC reports.   Dee Dee Baca, who had once owned the place with her brother,  is now back calling the shots. Dee Dee’s grilling up fresh burgers the way they were meant to taste. The name change comes after the last owner of the Bucket, George Eckley,  held onto the naming rights as well as the beer and wine license. It seems as though another Bucket may be in our future, but until that time comes, in Eagle Rock, you can dive into some great new eats.

Marni Epstein is a freelance writer and music journalist who has also worked in both the film and digital media industries.

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