Friday, April 06, 2012

Taste of the Eastside: A preview at Hugo's Tacos

Hugo's carnitas taco with salsa negra
The near-Eastside got its own tasting event last year at Barnsdall Park. This year's Taste of the Eastside, set for May 6, promises to be even bigger, with lots of restaurants and shops already signed on including Xoia, Auntie Em's, Cookbook, Intelligentsia, Guisados, Yuca's, Canele and Good Girl Dinette. Silver Lake Wine, Eagle Rock Brewery and Golden Road Brewery will also be on hand to stock the beer and wine garden.
I stopped by Hugo's Tacos in Atwater today for a tasting of some of their menu items and to hear about what the healthy taqueria is bringing to the event, which benefits Silver Lake's Rose Scharlin Preschool and several local organizations devoted to sustainability. Hugo's Tacos, of course, is an offshoot of Hugo's Restaurant, which was one of the early L.A. restaurants focused on well-being (and one of the few places to get a cappuccino at the time!).
Vanilla and chocolate vegan Frozata
Chef Nabor Diaz enjoys incorporating the Mexican flavors he grew up with into menu items that will also please vegans and vegetarians. So alongside a meaty carnitas taco, we also tried a soy chorizo and potato taco. A steak torta that isn't yet on the menu had a full-flavored chile-spiked sauce and was topped with the chef's housemade vegan cheese. Many local taquerias are lacking in the salsa department, but Hugo's has seven choices including a Salsa Arbol with a good fiery finish. Diaz has also invented one of the better vegan frozen desserts I've had. His Frozata incorporates cashews, Japanese sweet potatoes and dark chocolate and is worth a try even if you aren't vegan. For the Taste of the Eastside, Hugo's is thinking of doing a vegetarian taco and a chicken taco for maximum crowd-pleasing.
So get your tickets for Taste of the Eastside now, to benefit local organizations and taste all that the area has to offer. But if you want the Frozata, you might have to go straight to Hugo's Tacos.

No comments: