Acosta Taco – Lennox, CA, United States

As anyone knows who travels a lot for work, eating at the chain restaurants gets old after awhile.  Thus when I travel, I first check to see if Anthony Bourdain, host of No Reservations and Adam Richman, host of Man v. Food on the Travel Channel feasted on any local delicacies from the town that I’ll be visiting.  Plugging Los Angeles into the Travel Channel’s website from my Droid, (yes I still have an original Droid) I searched for the closest place to El Segundo, California that Adam or Tony consumed some local cuisine.  So what gem did I find?…  Acosta Tacos located at 4539 W Imperial Hwy, Lennox, CA 90304.

This little staple of the local community was exhibited in the No Reservations episode where Tony ate carne asada tacos with some of the local LA gang unit police officers.  I didn’t have the entourage that Tony had, but instead a colleague where we decided to get a late lunch before attending another local meeting.  As with all restaurants I focus on three things, appearance, service and quality of the food.  So let’s begin..

Cruising down Imperial Highway searching for this local establishment, we drove right past it.  Pulling a u-turn we pulled into the empty parking lot in the rear of the shack…I mean restaurant.  I would have sworn it was closed since no one was around, but the wide open windows and doors and the ‘Yes, we’re open’ sign convinced us otherwise.  So the place wasn’t full of eye candy, but that means either the food is really good or really poor.  Since it was on T.V., the odds are in favor of the former.  It did have character though being a small, older local place characteristic of that area.

Walking up to the window in the front we studied the diverse menu full of various beef (beef tongue anyone?), pork, chicken and fish options while we waited for someone to show up from the back.  The gentleman was friendly and politely said “Don’t have any” to the first two things I tried to order, the barboboas and fish tacos.  Call me crazy, but if it’s on the menu I expected it to be available?  Maybe he just didn’t want to make any since we were after the lunch crowd, but not the best start.  So my colleague just ordered 12 tacos (at $1.28 each), 4 carne asada, 4 carnitas and 4 al pastor for the two of us.  The kind gentleman got right on our feast of these little munchkins and 5 minutes later or so, we got our little foil wrapped delights.  It’s important to note, and I do mean important, that this place is CASH ONLY.  Thankfully between the two of us, we just had enough.

Partaking of these morsals ontop of our red Chevrolet Traverse hood was a great change of pace from the subpar airport food we have been eating as of late.  The tacos were small, ~5″, with the standard double layer corn tortillas containing the taco goodness.   The tortillas were really good though, soft and newly steamed for sure.  All of the meats were well marinated and full of flavor.  In addition, all of the tacos were topped off with a mild tasty fresh tomato, cilantro, onion salsa.  I felt that the carnitas were my favorite with the carne asada being a bit chewy from possibly being cooked too long.  My colleague was the complete opposite as he liked the carne asada the best.  Everyone is different, so I’ll let you decide.  You can’t go wrong with any though from our experience.

Neal’s Ratings:

  • Atmosphere = B    (local, old building, nice change of pace)
  • Service =  C    (food was prepared good, but cash only and not having menu items was a downer)
  • Food = A    (good tasty food with soft tortillas and flavorful meat)