Garth Trinidad: Tacos, Por Favor

Recently I sat down for tacos with Garth Trinidad, host of KCRW’s Chocolate City. We discussed his current projects, his ten-year tenure with the station, the art of mixing songs and, of course, tacos. The following is part one of a two-part interview/food review.

Garth TrinidadLet’s talk about Tacos Por Favor. Chihuahua was located just down the street. They were squeezed out, but this place seems to be picking up the runoff.

GT: I was just going to ask you about your tacos.

Tacos aren’t bad. I’ve had better asada. Haven’t touched the pastor yet but the carnitas taco was pretty good. They seem to have a specialty here, hardshell but that’s not my game. Didn’t try one. One of the sites I pointed you to -the taco blog, he seems to know his tacos -the guy gave it a four taco rating. He raved about the chorizo, but I’m not up for chorizo right now.

GT: Yeah you gotta be up for chorizo to hang with chorizo.

I can’t hang. Chorizo is hangover food. Kind of a morning…hangover…stain your hands type of affair.

GT: The burrito is good.

You got mahi mahi?

Garth TrinidadGT: I love mahi mahi. I wanted to see how it tasted in a burrito. They’ve got something they did with the seasoning in this sauce or sour cream or whatever that is, that’s just…it’s pretty stellar. Usually I don’t eat stuff like this without salsa, but I’m cool. I’m cool without it. I mean it’s not crazy flavorable, but…my mouth is tingling, it’s nice. And, I mean, my god, the way they wrap their burritos is an art form. I’ve only had to use one hand.

That’s true now that you mention it, it’s totally stayed together.

GT: For me the little things make the biggest differences. I hate having to resort to a fork. There’s a place called Chabelita right off Western and the 10.


Chabelita. They’re hit and miss, you know, right off the freeway, everybody goes there. The food is cool, it’s nothing crazy spectacular but like I’d rather eat that than Taco Bell. Their burritos are really massive and they put ’em in foil. They usually fall apart about 3/4 of the way through though and you’re eating foil. So, this is good. Flour tortilla is nice. You know? They cooked it pretty perfect. I gotta say I may have to do this again sometime.

What’s the worst intersection in LA?

GT: (thinking for long time) My God. Um, I’m going to say because I have to go through it so often, Crenshaw and Florence. I live in that area which is on the borderline of the Crenshaw district and Inglewood. Crenshaw Blvd and Florence Avenue. They just don’t know how to act. I’ve seen accidents on average… once every couple of months, somebody gets hit. There’s a Blockbuster video rental, a Chinese restaurant and a laundromat all owned by the same owners in one mall. Just this year I’ve seen three or four cars get nailed trying to come out of the driveway, because it’s right at the intersection and people are trying to make the light. Sad stuff. There’s all kind of drama, bus stops, homeless people standing around, drunk people giving people a hard time… drama in the intersection. It’s a good intersection to avoid. The one cool thing about it is there are no cameras there yet, but I’m sure they will be there in the next couple of years.

You know all cameras were off for a while this year.

GT: (eating burrito) What about yours?

I live by the Farmer’s Market. Fairfax is never an option. I drive the alleys. I’m an alley man. But I hate anything on San Vicente. San Vicente screws me every time, never fail. And then there’s this giant five-way intersection at Virgil, Silverlake and Beverly. It’s a five-way completely screwed-up intersection.

GT: Oh yeah.

And there’s also Hollywood/Sunset/Vermont.

GT: I know that one too (laughs.)

Best cup of coffee in LA?

Winchell’s donuts on Orange and 8th. I like the cafe au lait shit. Basically coffee that hasn’t been burnt. Peets and Starbucks have branded their coffee on … something else. More of the brand and the marketing, whereas your 7-11s and donut shops usually have the less burnt coffee.

I gotta agree with you here. I like to get coffee at a place called Magee’s Donuts in Hollywood.

GT: I know that joint. Highland and… Santa Monica?

Yeah. Little dive but cheap.

GT: Good?

Yeah, good coffee.

GT: When I’m in the neighborhood I’ll have to check it out.

Strange characters there. Transvetites like to hang out there. There and Benito’s.

GT: (laughs) A good friend of mine calls that corner ’Babylon Square’… “Yeah, going down to Babylon square… gotta run an errand over there…” It’s all the trannies, man. Throws you way off.

Last time I was at Magee’s there were three or four of them hanging out right outside. We actually sent a food reviewer to talk to the trannies, buy them donuts and find out why the hell they’re hanging out there. She went five or six times and still came back empty-handed. She could never find any. Said they weren’t there.

They’re always there! If they’re not there, they’re at the taco stand like two doors down.

Yeah, Benito’s! We’re going to have to send somebody else out there.

GT: (laughs) Somebody with some balls…

-Full interview coming soon-

Tacos Por Favor

1406 Olympic
Santa Monica