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Opt for the Mulitas at Tacos El Korita in East Los Angeles

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[Photographs: Paul Bartunek]

It can be tough for taquerias to make a go of it in East LA, where the standard for tacos is higher than perhaps anywhere else in America. It's even harder for late night taco trucks, considering their proliferation in the area, particularly on that stretch of Olympic Boulevard that shoots east of downtown.

So what can a single truck like Tacos El Korita do to stand out in the crowd? Paint their truck bright purple, for one. The brightly lit lonchero is decked out in a very regal looking hue, with even more flash and color on the ordering side of the truck, where glossy pictures of your potential meals are highlighted in saturated colors. But the real eye candy is inside the truck. That's where you'll find a pile of raw masa, ready to be hand-slapped into a thick, warm, satisfying corn tortilla—right before your eyes.

Now, El Korita is certainly not the only taco truck making their tortillas by hand (Tacos La Fonda, anyone?), but the simple satisfaction of freshly griddled corn tortillas is no less magical because it's not entirely unique. A bit thicker than their pre-bagged counterparts, and much less dense and dry, tortillas a mano are simply a superior delivery device for the stewed or grilled meats you're looking for.

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Speaking of El Korita's carne options, you can choose from the regular slew of Mexican favorites. Carne asada, carnitas, al pastor, chorizo, buche, cabeza—El Korita sticks with the hits, and performs them all with grace and simplicity. Expect to love the carne asada, which comes chopped into salty, well-griddled nubs pair perfectly with the housemade salsa roja. If you're after something with a little more spice, the chorizo is a fine substitution. Offering a touch of peppery kick without being overly wet, the addition of some raw white onions should round things out perfectly.

If you need a drink to wash it all down, head for the La Potasina Market that El Korita sits in front of. Apparently the agreement is to let Korita's customers use the market parking lot, so long as they buy their drinks inside instead of off the truck.

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But the real inside tip for El Korita is to opt for the mulitas instead of the tacos. Take two taco-sized tortillas, made fresh in front of your slobbery face, and toss a handful of meat in the middle along with a healthy dose of cheese. Griddle the whole thing up like a mini quesadilla, splash some of the subtler salsa verde onto each bite, and it immediately becomes apparent why El Korita is still standing among such serious East LA competition.

If you're looking for freshly prepared tortillas, straightforward meats and a pitch-perfect mulita or two that might make you rethink all those tacos you've been foolishly ordering for years, Tacos El Korita is the truck for you. Even in the impossibly taco-laden neighborhood of East LA, this is a truck that stands out. And not just because they're painted in Barney purple.

About the author: Farley Elliott is a writer and comedian living in Los Angeles. He writes about food, beer and entertainment at OverOverUnder.com.

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