Some badger Hugo's, citing tons of other places to acquire taco authenticity in L.A. They're right, of course; go down the street a bit to Tacos Villa Corona, or over to El Tapatio #2, or to the guys open on Fletcher, and that's without leaving Atwater.
But you don't come here for the things you can get elsewhere: carnitas, al pastor, et al. Engage yourself in healthful pursuits, experiment with your vegan side.* Hugo's has played with fillings and salsas and other Mexican-influenced assembly, and has been successful at it.
Gape at the menu in its glory. Pick an item, pick a filling, pick a salsa. Our quick recommendation here is either the Grilled Fish, still with a silvery sheen from being freshly scraped, or the Soy Chorizo with Potato and Zucchini, chopped so finely it's like salsa. There's also chicken, steak, carnitas, and a zucchini/corn/string bean mix. Pass on the not-terribly-interesting al pastor, which has a little too much of a steaky toughness.
You'll just have to go through all seven choices of salsa until you've figured out your perfect taco/salsa pairing. A basic Pico de Gallo, a thick green Jalapeño & Tomatillo, Salsa Cruda, the Honey Chipotle everyone raves about, a moody mole-style Salsa Negra, Salsa Habañero, and a belligerent little red Salsa Arbol. I kinda wish I could sample all those separately; I'll have to ask about that.
I'm still figuring out the soft corn tortillas. They're oddly firm, almost elastic, not the pale, easily-split white fabric that jeopardize so many taco-eating experiences. They're also quite stuck together, so I can't do that taco-filling-shuffle I like to do**. The tortilla chips, though, are crisp, golden and shiny, so I'll try the hard shell tacos next time.
They also do tortas in a comforting way; the torta ahogada has white beans, guacamole, tomatoes, onions, whatever filling you picked (the soy chorizo is the best bet here), and then griddled with honey chipotle.
The other gripe some visitors have is that it's expensive... for tacos. They're a deuce fifty for one, six-fifty for three. Hugo's expects you to go for combos.
The Atwater location has a large parking lot for the stand's size. Hugo's is open from 10 to 10 every day.
* But don't get soy cheese. Vegan cuisine hasn't figured that one out yet.
** I'll explain. Soft tacos almost universally come in two tortillas. I like to slide one tortilla downward a bit and even out everything, so I get a longer bed for my filling. ... what?
( Categories: Cuisines (by Region), Mexican, Vegetarian/Vegan, Healthy/Organic, Glendale/Atwater/Eagle Rock, The Valley )
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