Friday, April 29, 2011

7 Mares...1 GREAT Taco

One of the best things about living in Los Angeles is tacos. That sentence doesn't really sound correct, but it's probably the truest thing I've ever typed. Proximity to Mexico plus the large Mexican population in Los Angeles proper equals a million Mexican restaurants and taco trucks to choose from around town. I think I've tried about 500,000 of them and I have to say, I am pretty easy when it comes to Mexican (I know, that's what she said) so I've enjoyed most of them. I mentioned in a previous post my intense affection for the Silverlake taco truck and its pickled cucumbers (although it is not called the Silverlake taco truck and I have no idea where exactly it is in Silverlake; it just kind of APPEARS to me like a genie/wizard after I've had a cocktail or ten) and I could probably do an entire post about my love/hate relationship with Malo (love the salsas and dollar taco Mondays/hate the occasional smell of poop that wafts over from somewhere mysterious that is not the bathroom). However, up until two weeks ago, I hadn't tried the taco stand that is literally across the street from my apartment building: 7 Mares.

I asked my friend Anthony to go with me. So remember how I said Noelia Estrada was my cool, hip Eastside friend? Well Anthony Polcino is her boyfriend (Is it not right to say boyfriend? Her man? Main squeeze? Partner? Gentleman caller?). Together, Ant and Noey (they're my friends, I can use pet names) are an explosion of awesomeness, but what keeps me from getting completely overwhelmed and panicky around them is how damn NICE they both are. Anthony is a musician (again I could do an an entire post about his album, but you should just check out his solo project Soft Pipes at and aside from being almost sickeningly talented, he always looks like a million bucks (he can pull off tight red pants, just saying), and is one of the best conversationalists I have ever met. Ant also loves root beer as much as I do and discovered the most TASTY kind, sold at Trader Joe's and made with natural cane sugar:

Thanks Ant!

So 7 Mares is a legit restaurant with its own parking lot and everything and then NEXT to it is the taco stand, which kind of looks like an outdoor diner:

El 7 Mares

Cute, right? That's an old picture because now they have these little vinyl booths (I know, I should've taken a picture with my IPHONE which I don't have, BLAH BLAH), but you get the idea. Also, bring your hip sunglasses because the awning doesn't really cover some of the tables (but in a nice, get-a-tan way). So Anthony and I make our way to the little window to order and above it we see THIS:

That man is a stranger and I am sorry I have used his image without asking him. That "Help Wanted" sign is real if you're looking for work. Now let's be honest, that sign is fucking daunting. Like what the HELL is popular? What do you get? Ant immediately looked stricken, as it appeared they only had fish tacos, which he does not enjoy. Then I noticed the $4.99 special. 4 tacos, plus a drink of your choice (they mean like, soda; I don't think they have booze outside) for five bucks seemed like a pretty good deal. The lady behind the counter let me know that they do, in fact, have beef and chicken tacos, and she recommended beef and so I got 4 beef tacos with everything on them (I had no idea what "everything" entailed) and a diet coke (because I am obviously very healthy). I think Ant got 2 beef and 2 chicken tacos, which is smarter because if you're going to blog about a restaurant, you should try more than one thing on the menu.

I have to take a mini time-out to tell you I went back to 7 Mares on Tuesday with my friend Daniel Sweren-Becker who asked me to please not mention his name in my blog. You're welcome Daniel. Daniel tried to order 2 fish tacos and 2 beef tacos and the lady told him you can't get fish in the $4.99 special, so he just got 2 fish tacos and 2 beef tacos a la carte, with no drink. The fish tacos were HUGE and like, succulent looking and his whole meal cost only $4.25 and he got a free cup of water to drink. So, I am rethinking this $4.99 deal. Then Daniel told me my blog needed more pictures, but refused to let me take a picture of HIM. Then we walked to get gelato from Pazzo (GO EVERYONE, GO) and he made me stop at Undefeated (a very cool sneaker store) to look at "shoekers," which are sneakers that look like fancy shoes. He hated all of my shoe-picks (I am SORRY I enjoy a man in Converse). I am making Daniel sound like a precious, snarky recluse, but really he is a hilarious, kind TV writer from New York and we had a delightful time and I am just letting you know he turned me onto the fish tacos at 7 Mares.

But all of the tacos AT 7 Mares are fucking delicious. You get a number at the counter and then it takes them about 5 minutes to prepare your food; they are fast. The "everything" that 7 Mares puts on their tacos is this like dark, slightly spicy sauce and some onions and cilantro; simple, but lets the flavor of the meat shine and the tacos themselves have that hearty, thick texture that I love. I wolfed down two and then had to take a break. Then, after some diet coke, I stuffed a third taco into my face. I would've taken down the fourth, but it was hot and I was lunching with a dude who I knew could handle another taco, so I let Ant have it. I was really proud that I had taken Ant somewhere he hadn't been to yet and he liked it. Then we sat there for another hour chatting and laughing without a care in the world (okay I am very neurotic and ALWAYS obsessing about something, so I constantly have cares in the world, but it was still really fun).

Oh, sometimes your plate of tacos comes with a giant pepper. Daniel suggested I take a picture of this pepper:

Okay, actually Daniel took a picture of me with the pepper, but no one needs to see that. I am pretty sure I had the "everything" sauce on my face. But guys, this really is a great, cheap place to eat in Silverlake. It's also not ALL slender graphic designers in Ray Bans, but a mix of everyone in the area and I really like that.

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