City Tacos offers unique twist ‘con sazón!’

Image of City Tacos Taqueria storefront.
City Tacos offers eclectic takes on typical Mexican fare, including mashed potatoes, raisins, almonds, strawberries and more in their new-wave tacos. (Twesha Dikshit | Daily Trojan)

Catching up with friends after a busy day at USC Village or eating at one of the various dining establishments is always a good time, but for anyone who wants to “Taco ‘bout a good time,” there is a new place in town — City Tacos. 

The taco place first opened in San Diego’s North Park neighborhood in 2014, expanded to seven other locations and took a trip to Hollywood in August with its first store at USC Village. Describing its food as “innovative, delicious and unique,” the eatery is anything but boring. With different flavor combinations such as mashed potatoes, raisins, almonds, strawberries and caramelized pineapples in its tacos, City Tacos is not afraid to experiment.  

“Our tacos tend to be authentic,” said Hector Aguirre, manager and part owner of City Tacos. “We’re very innovative, adding different types of ingredients into them and … different flavors on them.”    

For those who want to stick to the regular, the menu has more traditional options including homestyle tacos and a menu with vegetarian and pescaterian choices. 

“We have a little bit for everyone,” Aguirre said. ”If you’re pescetarian, even vegetarian … it’s not just isolated for one set of people. We want people to try a little bit of everything.” 

Located on West Jefferson Blvd., City Tacos replaced Trejo’s Tacos and already seems to be a popular option for students and community members taking a Tuesday afternoon lunch break. 

I ordered the “Pollo City,” one of the House Favorites, and the “Machaca De Pollo,” a white chicken “golden-fried rolled taco served with beer fondue and a semi-spicy, serrano-habanero creamy green salsa within a corn tortilla.”  

The small portion sizes allow you to try multiple dishes or eat with friends tapas-style. As a chicken-lover, the “Pollo City” hits all the marks and the meat complements well with the tamarindo aioli. The dish also included a combination of golden raisins and toasted almonds that I did not personally like.  

The “Machaca De Pollo” was unlike anything I tried before. As a fan of anything fried, I liked the crunchy texture of the corn tortilla, the well-seasoned flavor of the beer fondue and the kick of the serrano-habanero creamy green salsa. I would have preferred to have my sauce on the side instead of having my tortilla dunked in it which made it a mess to eat. The fondue also made the tortilla soggy if not instantly consumed. 

For Aguirre, his favorite taco is the “Mexicali” which is also one of the most popular offerings. He describes it as “[their] version of a carne asada” that includes melted cheese at the bottom, mashed potatoes and arrachera steak topped with crema fresca and cotija cheese. He recommends the “Pescado” for anyone with a sweet tooth with its fried mahi-mahi, cabbage and topped with a strawberry jam and chipotle aioli. 

“Basically [our taco is] like an art. For this type of art, you can actually eat it,” Aguirre said.

For burrito-lovers, City Taco serves a cheese crusted spinach wrap and a meat and vegetarian option exclusively for it’s Los Angeles location because of the city’s love for the food. The choice has been popular with the restaurant selling out of burritos, Aguirre said.   

Overall, I was surprised by the different flavor combinations I experienced and how the tiny portions gave me a chance to try multiple dishes. With fall break almost upon us, I would recommend the place for anyone looking to try a distinct take on tacos without breaking the bank.