Cacao Mexicatessen doesn’t just have one of the most phonetically satisfying words in the English language in its name (Mexicatessen is our personal "cellar door"), it’s also a Northeast LA staple that has been serving delicious and inventive tacos for over a decade. The famed duck carnitas here are a must-order, which has much to do with how the sweet fattiness of the meat soaks perfectly into the warm blue corn tortilla. We also love the Ensendas fish tacos, which come with a giant piece of golden fried fish topped with cabbage, crema, and pickled onions (add sea urchin if you want to go big), as well as the sesame-topped Korean short rib and the guisado de pato, duck cracklings and nopales stewed in a savory chile arbol salsa. The place is technically order-at-the-counter, but there’s a large adjacent dining room with TVs and a full menu of interesting cocktails if you want to hang out.
photo credit: Jakob Layman