Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Las Delicias (22928 Lyons Avenue - Newhall, CA)

This gem of a place, hidden in a northern suburb of LA County, is one of my most frequented and favorite spots.  I don't just mean taco or hot dog places, or even restaurants, I mean most frequented spots, period.  When I lived in Santa Clarita I visited Las Delicias more frequently than I took a shower, it's that good (comments from the peanut gallery about my personal hygiene will be ignored).  The shop itself is nestled in the corner of a small strip mall about one block away from the entirely hispanic part of Newhall, CA, the staff is quite friendly and speaks little to no English; another sure sign of a taqueria's quality.

They have more than tacos of course, including a lunch buffet (that disappointingly does not include tacos), and breakfast, but the late night tacos are the real treat.  After a certain hour they only take cash, no longer charge tax, limit the menu to a few kinds of tacos, and charge $1 a piece.  
If you gesticulate wildly or speak enough Spanish to ask, they will occasionally condescend to make you a vegetarian taco with avocado and beans, but get there early as the beans don't last all night, and when they are out, they are out.

Ratings time:

The Item: 5/5
There are certain tacos in this world that make your very soul weep.  I still remember the first time I bit into a delicious carne asada taco dripping with delight from both ends of the tortilla, I felt a happiness I haven't experienced since middle school when the first days of spring hit and girls are suddenly wearing shorts again.  Think I'm exaggerating?  Try a bite, you'll become one of the many converts that frequent the place after midnight in the middle of the week.  And don't assume those tears are coming from the habañero salsa, they are tears of joy.  I went home and told my roommate about it and he said "it's just full of lipids, that's what gives meat flavor."  I looked at him dumfounded.  I told him straight up, "It wasn't lipids, these tacos were injected with rapture, smothered with good, and sprinkled with bits of kittens and rainbows."  Lipids my left foot.  Bah.  And that's just the carne asada.  The others are good too, just not quite as nice, though people like them.  Randomly, they don't have a pollo option late night.

Value: 4/5 
Dollar tacos in the late night, you can't beat it.  The only thing is that for some reason I rarely spend less that $10 when I go there.  Often this is because they are so damn good I have to eat at least half-a-dozen, and I'm usually spotting a taco or two to first time friends I'm looking to hook onto the place, but it's also because the tacos are a little on the smaller side.  That or they sprinkle them with crack.

Acoutrement: 5/5
Four different homemade salsas, cilantro, onions, grilled peppers, beans, and other...stuff.  Most of what I listed is always there, sometimes there are extras.  Occasionally they have this weird chili like mixture of left over meat products (ground beef, ham, bacon, etc.) mixed with beans, I think it's from the lunch buffet.  If you let it cool all the oil and fat congeals, but good lord it is delicious.  I personally recommend the orange salsa, it's habeñero based and worth killing for.  As a side note, the al pastor tacos also come with a slice of fresh pineapple; not only is that cool, but you should watch them deftly flick a piece of the pineapple spit with the tip off a knife and have it land directly in the middle of your taco.

Other: 3/5 
There are a couple of important things to mention in this section, the first is that Las Delicias in open until 2am.  Most nights anyway.  If it's dead or they've run out of food they'll close earlier, but if you've got a late night hankering for tacos and you're stranded in the Santa Clarita Valley, head here.  Also, they have probably some of the worst music I've ever heard in a Mexican restaurant.  It ranges the gamut of cheesy pop, to Ranchero, to repetitive electronic Latin dance beats.  There is one song in particular that has a regular high pitched beeping squeel that persists throughout the entire tune for a good 5 minutes, and they play this in the restaurant all the time.  I think it's the song they play when they want to clear out the gringos; if their tacos weren't so damn good it'd probably work.  The glaring florescent lights and late night college students do nothing for the atmosphere either.  They do, however, deliver. 

Final Score: 5/5 
Was there any doubt after my description of the tacos?  Ignore the crappy music and lack of alcohol, just go to this place and eat until you pop, then go back and get some more.  You'll thank me later.

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