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Mexicali Taco & Co. moves indoors 

| Los Angeles   Dining | Willy Blackmore


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Carne asada tacos

The corner of 1st and Beaudry in Westlake was once a destination for far more than tacos.

Zupermans and Vampiros, names that recall Mexican pulp films more than taco-stand menus, were two unique specialties that drew crowds to Mexicali Taco & Co.'s former street-side location.

The loss of its parking-lot space last year doused the fire on the grills that charred the stand's famed carne asada, but last week marked the beginning of an era of permanence for Mexicali: The taco outfit has settled down at a brick-and-mortar spot on Figueroa.

Being indoors means less smoke, but the menu remains largely the same. There are the Vampiros ($3.75), garlic-sauce-laced quesadillas filled with your choice of meat, and sandwich-like Zupermans ($5)--two flour tortillas stuffed with cheese-covered steak, chicken and chorizo.

Cachetadas ($3) are Mexicali's other singular preparation, a kind of reinvented tostada covered with melted cheese and a scattered bit of meat. If you order one of these crisply charred tortillas with chorizo, go ranchero style and add a fried egg (75 cents). This is a new option, one that's available on any dish, but chorizo cachetadas are particularly well suited for the ovate addition--it transforms the dish into a handheld version of chilaquiles.

Mexicali Taco & Co., 702 N. Figueroa St., Chinatown; 213-613-0416 or mexicalitaco.com

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Mexicali Taco & Co. 702 N. Figueroa St. Los Angeles CA 90012 213-613-0416
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