Written by Calvin B. Alagot
Photo by John Gutierrez
Location: 8709 Corbin Ave Northridge, CA 91324
There are a few El Taco Llama locations in the San Fernando Valley, but the Northridge location is undeniably the best.
Parking is terrible, seating is scarce during rush and there are plenty of homeless people roaming about, but once you have tried this Mexican fast food gem none of this will matter.
Cruising around the Valley you would be able to find dozens of taco joints serving similar carne asada goodness, but something about Llama sets it apart from the rest. There have been numerous occasions when I have seen patrons enter the joint carrying a pot or pan and all they purchase is their meat. This must mean something.
Upon entering the restaurant the first thing you will notice is the mural to your right. It illustrates a simpler time when farming and cooking over an open flame was a part of everyday life. Written across the top is “Horas Feliz,” which if I am correct, means “Happy Times.” I failed Spanish twice.
While you ponder their menu, which has a wide variety of options ranging from chicken to shrimp, you will get a whiff of their asada sizzling on the grill. This is what you want, be it in taco or burrito form. I find that three tacos is the perfect number, but if you’re exceptionally hungry a burrito should do you well.
My friends often order other things such as the torta or quesadilla, but all that matters is that you order it with their delicious, delicious asada.
Now, as good as their asada may be, it’s the details that bring me back. Llama’s red hot sauce has a kick and there is nothing more disappointing than sitting down to eat a burrito without decent hot sauce. Theirs is my favorite.
Llama also provides jalapenos, carrots and onions on the side. You want this. I’m not sure what it’s called, but if you ask for jalapenos they will give you plenty. The experience is not complete without it. The deliciousness is in the details and I have yet to find a Mexican restraint that does it like Llama. Perfection.
But it’s so hot! You should’ve ordered a drink. With a 7-11 only two doors down, you have options, but what you want is their horchata. This milky cinnamon drink tastes like liquid churro and as disgusting as that sounds, you’re wrong. Llama’s horchata is the best around, 3 out of 3 of my friends agree.
If you’re looking for something different, their California Fries will hit the spot. Imagine nachos, but replace the nachos with French fries. What you have is a pile of French fries covered in asada, cheese, guacamole and sour cream. What more could you ever want in life?
Unfortunately, Llama doesn’t have much in their desert department, but with Dragon Donuts and 7-11 next door it really shouldn’t be a problem.
Tacos: $1 something Burritos: $5 something Torta:$ 5 something
California Fries: $7 and some change Large Horchata: $2.50