El Flamin Taco + Xoia Vietnamese Eats
The Skinny: On April 8, 2011, I was suppose to go on a food crawl with some TMF247 people and end the night watching The Naked and Famous perform live at the Echoplex in Echo Park. However, one by one, people started to drop out and so I ended up going there by myself.
While I was at Echo Park waiting for the show, I hit up El Flamin Taco Truck and Xoia Vietnamese Eats since they were close by. I usually drive by the El Flamin Taco Truck when I’m on Alvarado Street and on the way towards the Dodgers Stadium. It would be my first time eating there that day. Xoia is a fusion style restaurant that serves up Pho and Vietnamese influenced Street Tacos.
The Good: The truck that wears “El Flamin” decals proudly all over it’s body, was quite impressive. It had television sets playing Napoleon Dynamite, a LED lit sign greeting costumers in different languages, a rotating spitfire for their Al Pastor, and a full open salsa bar. They obviously must be doing something right to have their colorful truck to be pimped out like that.
While I was at El Flamin Taco Truck, I ordered the Buche and Al Pastor tacos, 2 of each. From the Salsa bar, I added the red sauce and some of the Cilantro Onion mix on all of them. I definitely liked the Buche because it was clean tasting, had a nice texture, and was flavorful. The red salsa was nice, but for me it didn’t really add much to the tacos themselves. Their hand made fresh tortillas were a first for me, but unfortunately I couldn’t really taste the difference.
At Xoia Eats, I got the 3 Chicharones Tacos combo and Vietnamese Iced Coffee. The Chicharones Tacos were tasty and the Iced Coffee was Vietnamese style strong. The red salsa that came on the side was a good palette cleanser.
The Bad: First off, I’m just not a fan of Al Pastor at the moment. I just don’t get it or at least I haven’t had some where I understand that “that is what Al Pastor is supposed to taste like!” Not too long ago, I had some that tasted like Chinese style BBQ Pork, and I liked it. The first Al Pastor Taco I had at El Flamin was kind of bland, crunchy from a piece of gristle, and greasy. It reminded me of Korean Pork Bulgogi that is void of sugar. However, for some reason the second serving of the Al Pastor had better pieces of meat and it tasted much better than the first. The grease became greasy in a good way and the marinated pork was tastier. Weird.
At Xoia Eats, the Chicharones Tacos was disappointing because I was expecting pieces of Crispy Pork in it. Instead, the Pork seemed to be regular cuts of meat fried up in a pan. If there was Vietnamese style seasoning on the meat, I didn’t notice it. The tortilla the Chicharones came bedded on had the texture of thinly sliced re-hydrated stale corn chips and I just wasn’t a fan of it.
The Fail: So after killing 2 hours of time in Echo Park and waiting in line for 2 more hours for the Naked and Famous show, it turns out my ticket was for the following night. I did see them the next day, and they didn’t disappoint as a live band.
Would you come back? Yes on both accounts. I’m sure the taco meats and other items at both locations are worth exploring, especially since I’ll be coming back to The Echo/Echoplex for other shows.
Xoia Vietnamese Eats: www.xoiaeats.com | 1801 W Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026 | Cash Only