Yesterday I checked out Takosher, the world’s first kosher taco truck. It was parked on La Brea just north of Third, by the Trader Joes.
I was expecting some guy hoing to score a quick gimmicky buck off the captiv kosher market. Jaded, much? Instead, I found Lowell Bernstein.
Bernstein is a tall, soft-spoken middle aged man who loves taco. He lived in Mexico City, and grew especially fond of the clean, sharp flavors of the small simple tacos there. Back in LA, it occurred to him that Day-effay tacos were perfectly suited to the kosher marketplace: long simmered or grilled meats, dressed with some pickled onion, cilantro, peppers— not covered in a haystack of shredded cheese and white-washed with sour cream.
He developed his recipes over numerous taco tasting parties, then brought it to the streets in a brightly painted blue and white food truck.
Watch the Flip video I took. Bernstein is a guy who has given this new phase in his life a lot of thought. Just deciding whether to spell Takosher witha c or a k was agonizing (I assured him he made the right choice).
Bernstein explained that his motivation behind Takosher wasn’t just tacos—he wanted to create a food truck that would bring new flavors to the kosher-observant community, and something original to the taco loving Anegelenos. He wanted, he said, to bring people in his city together around his truck. It doesn’t happen when we pull into fast food joints, or even in restaurants, when we usually mix just with the people we walked in with. But a food truck? It’s a kind of traveling public table.
“Food has the power to do that,” Bernstein said, “to bring people together. That’s what I wanted to do.”
See: I thought I was going to get a kosher fast food spiel—instead I got a bit of Foodaism. That’s why Bernstein prefers to park in a location like the one outside Trader Joes—it’s a place where people of all backgrounds can mix, and nosh.
How are the tacos? Good. Inexpensive, flavorful and original. The brisketaco combines a traditional Askenazic recipe with traditional taco fixings: it’s the Jewish Kogi. There’s a carne asada with beef, a chicken, a tofu fajita style, an a latkes taco, which reminds me of the potato tacos at La Playita on Lincoln, only more fried.
If you have your heart set on a spicy, oil-licked food truck taco, this isn’t it. The flavors are a bit more subdued—some of Shiloh’s habenero-citrus salsa on the side would take it where it needs to go. But for around $3, you will eat a well-made, filling and kosher taco.
And don’t forget the Dr. Brown’s in the ice bin. Because what says, “Mexico City taco” like Cel-Rey soda?
To find out where the Takosher truck is, go to their web site at http://takosher.com/. Check back at jewishjournal.com in a week when we’ll have a full article on Takosher by Edmond Rodman.