1901 North Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90031
We try to hit up as many restaurants as possible when we visit LA. We had just had a big barbecue lunch up the street but could not let the chance to try another spot pass us by. Since Katie and I were both full, we decided to take our food to go and eat it once we got home. We were facing an hour-and-a-half trip back to OC, so we'd have time to digest some of the excellent barbecued meats and sides we partook in at Moo's Craft BBQ.
Less than a mile away, just west of the 5 Freeway, is the original Carnitas Michoacan. This 24-hour spot is a favorite of baseball fans before and after the games at nearby Dodger Stadium. Located on the corner of 19th Avenue and Broadway, the yellow building with red awnings is almost impossible to miss. Their sign states proudly that they have been in business since 1977, and their website is adamant that this is their only location, even though a quick Yelp search yields six other restaurants with their exact name spread far and wide through LA County. So, be aware of the copycats.
There's a small parking lot behind the restaurant entrance off 19th Avenue. However, I'd imagine there is little chance of snagging one of the coveted 8 parking stalls in the cramped lot during mealtimes. So street parking might be your best bet. Ordering is done at the window alongside Broadway. Once you place your order, you pick up your food in the covered eating area to the right of where you placed your order. The lady who called the order numbers out was pretty quiet, so stay alert and close to the pickup window, so you don't miss getting your food.
The menu at Carnitas Michoacan is straightforward. There are 11 kinds of tacos and a taco sampler that includes 5 of their most popular tacos for less than $9. Burritos, tortas, sopes, quesadillas, and nachos dot the rest of the menu. Numerous combination meals include the meat of your choice with beans and rice. Most combos are under $10, tacos will set you back on average $2, and only the lengua, tripas, and wet burritos will cost you more than $10. Grabbing our well-packaged food, we returned to OC during the afternoon rush hour.
Since Michoacan is the birthplace of carnitas, and this dish is in the name of this restaurant, it was a no-brainer that I'd be getting this Carnitas Combination Plate ($8.50). First off, this to-go container was stuffed to the gills with food. Well worth the money for the amount of food that you get. The carnitas had a good flavor and were moist without being too wet. The drawback for me was that it was chopped too finely. I like variety in my carnitas, some big and little pieces and fatty and lean slivers. This was all chopped the same size and was mostly all lean pieces. Both the rice and refried beans were, and I enjoyed switching forkfuls with all the shredded pork.
Taco Time! After eating up the street, I only ordered two tacos for later, which was a big mistake. I should have tried more than just their Pastor ($1.85) and Carne Asada ($1.85). These were bigger than regular street tacos and full of meat, like the carnitas plate above. The pastor taco was the better of the two. Little chunks of pineapple studded the delicious pork, while the faintly added red salsa added another layer to this taco. The double corn tortilla did an admirable job of keeping everything together. One of the better corn tortillas I have had in a while. The asada taco was decent too. The beef was nicely done and dressed simply with red salsa, onions, and cilantro. An excellent asada taco that has tempted me to try an asada burrito on my next visit.
Even though we didn't get to enjoy our food from Carnitas Michoacan until we battled the freeway on our way home, I found their food to be quite good, especially when you factor in how little everything costs. It's not only their modest prices, but they also give you lots of food, and their meats are nicely done, especially their pastor and asada. Since they are so close to the freeway, I can see us stopping here frequently on our way home from LA. I'm glad we took the tie to stop on this trip, even though we were full from our meal up the street.
Out of five avocados (because Michoacan is the only location in the world where avocados can bloom any day f the year, thus making Michoacan the avocado capital of the world), five being best to zero being worst, Carnitas Michoacan gets 3 avocados.
For more information about Carnitas Michoacan, head to their website by clicking here: https://www.ogcarnitasmichoacan.com/