Taco of the Week: This Cocktail Bar – Taquería Hybrid Makes Handmade Tortillas on Melrose

Los Angeles is the city of tacos, with new tacos popping up on street corners across the county on a weekly basis. To help us get past them all, LA TACO presents the Taco Column of the Week, where we celebrate the last taco we ate that blew our minds.

Sometimes your friends do the most ridiculous shit.

Like coming into town and staying somewhere like Hollywood, against your most urgent advice.

Next thing you know, they’re asking where tacos meet between shopping for gas masks and latex underwear on boutique-studded Melrose Avenue.

So you’re like “uuuuuuhhhm…” despite thinking you know something about something.

From now on, you will ask them to meet you at Melrose Umbrellas Companywhich is no longer just an atmospheric spot for creative, well-crafted drinks, but is now the centerpiece of tacos for pairing excellent antojitos with “Mezcali Mi Banana” cocktails from Attached taco, taco umbrella. It’s a bright, skinny, sunny taco shop right next door, which connects to the bar to save the lunchtime and afternoon crowd with a menu of Mexican recipes in taco form.

Melrose Umbrella owners Austin Melrose and Zach Patterson opened this arm of the hospitality business in October 2020, amid the early death spasms of our pandemic shutdown, in a concept the partners have been envisioning for many years.

To compose the menu and lead the kitchen, they chose Chef Juan Catalan Moreno, an Acapulco-born Koreatown chef with a long history of Japanese restaurants and his childhood selling his family’s tamales on the streets of Los Angeles. His time-tested resume includes a cooking role at Katsuya Hollywood and later Lono, Umbrella’s famous Hollywood tiki scholar, as well as running his own catering business.

Los Hermanos Catalan at Umbrella Tacos, Photo via Umbrella Taco / Instagram

After experiencing bar and restaurant closures in 2020, Lono was forced to suspend operations, resulting in the embodiment of the Umbrella Taco, which initially originated as a pickup truck ready to be praised by Postmates pop-up lauded for its Taco Tuesday specials. The restaurant officially opened as a stand-alone take-out space on October 1, 2020, with Catalan siblings, Felipe and Evren, helping him implement a menu of chef-enhanced versions of regional Mexican recipes. Today, Umbrella Taco stands as a company occupied by Melrose pedestrians, types of Instagram models, and street salespeople.

Order tacos inside the custom Umbrella Taco space or next door at the exquisitely designed Melrose Umbrella, a bar set in an actual old umbrella factory packed with old-fashioned luxury, among them quaint stuffed goose, antique drugstore shelves, tile-arched ceiling covered with iron chandeliers and antique awnings. Hanging along the walls.

We opted for the bar side, seated in a parade of meaty tacos that didn’t include vegetarian menu options with wild mushrooms or jackfruit mole. Umbrella Tacos’ strongest assets, besides the Catalan, are the soft, but sturdy, cornflakes pressed to order masa from a local company we’d put our money on being a Masienda. Depending on the size of your mouth, each golden tortilla is 3-4 bites out of rustically jagged edges and nicely rough skin, thick on the palate, but thin on the teeth.

Umbrella Taco With Chicken An Teloloapan Mole

We started with two tacos from Umbrella Taco, which rolls out a traditional Catalan grandmother’s recipe from Guerrero’s mole stronghold in Teloloapan, one he’s been making since he was seven with separately roasted ingredients including pepitas, sesame seeds, and galetta.

Reddish-brown mole strikes a balance between chocolate sweetness and earthy taste, with a slight chili-flavored heat, the crunch of pepitas on top, and the salt flavor provided by a sprinkle of Cotija cheese. We’d like to try it tacos and without the liberal franchise of cream for a purer taste, we’d probably drown in some form of protein or a row of enmolidas.

chicken taco umbrella taco

Next came the chicken tinga taco, the crisp, chicken-infused flavour complemented by Chipotle’s signature smoky signature. We tasted the quality of the home-cooked chicken, although we had funny feelings about adding shredded iceberg lettuce and cream to the mix. Through each bite, the tortilla was standing in front of its contents, grabbing it before gently melting in our mouths.

Taco Umbrella Taco De Pasteur

Our favorite tacos featured Umbrella’s most upright curation, featuring large chunks of pork with smaller, creamy scraps marinated together in a rich adobo, backed by a sweet pineapple bud and a huge chunk of creamy guacamole. This more straightforward, slightly smoky, buttery taco hits divinity with dueling bars of ultra-fresh green salsa and salsa rojo, which isn’t just cooling down the heat for the Melrose crowd.

Umbrella Taco’s Baja fish taco

As would be expected of a Mexican-American chef passionate about Japanese cuisine, the Baja-style fish taco (the shape itself is a culinary contribution from the Japanese fishing community in Baja back in days, we’re told) is excellent. A large lobe of fish is wrapped in a deep orange dressing, extending beyond the confines of its tortilla under a pile of guacamole and pico de gallo batter. The mixture shattered crisply in the faint muddy magic of what tasted like tilapia, its soft, pearly, and lush flesh under the protection of a tempura force field.

it was there Lots of other attractive descriptions We didn’t have the ability or budget left on the digestive system to try at the Umbrella Taco, such as the dashi-and-yuzu-assisted aguachile, the mole rojo fries, the taco de loin de loin steak asada, and the taco specials we’re looking forward to coming back for taste.

For now, with our ability to steer lost loved ones toward a rocking taco spot deep in the Melrose shopping district and the outskirts of Fairfax High, our satisfaction has been made to come back.

taco umbrella ~ 7461 Melrose Ave West Hollywood, CA 90046 ~ (323) 879-9948

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