Ricardo Diaz — the chef behind highly acclaimed Eastside Mexican establishments such as Guisados, Cook's Tortas, and Bizarra Capital — is at it again. Colonia Taco Lounge has been quietly in the works and is almost ready to softly open to the public on August 1. Of course, it's no surprise to any of his loyal followers that he has chosen to launch this latest venture on the farthest fringes of Eastern Los Angeles, La Puente to be exact. On a somewhat desolate stretch of Valley Boulevard, about a block east of the 605 freeway, and not too far from his J. Gold applauded Bizarra Capital.
Colonia Taco Lounge (with live music concept) is a joint project between Diaz's sister Stephanie Aguirre, who is responsible for the consecutively Michelin-rated fish taco establishment up in Napa, La Taquiza Fish Taco, along with her husband Patrick Aguirre, who worked as the head baker at Yountville's Bouchon Bakery for two years and had a stint with Suzanne Goin at AOC a while back. They both moved back down to Los Angeles to work as a family unit, just as they did growing up under their father, who founded the popular 7 Mares family Eastern Los Angeles restaurant empire. Which probably explains their bold, yet simple aim: Home-style tacos de guisados, craft beer and unfussy cocktails. Just as their black and white signage underneath the silhouette of a goat's head advertises.
Tacos will be filled with slightly cheffed up takes on classic homemade Mexican guisados like a spiced birria made from both braised goat and pork, a Sonora-style Carne Asada taco on flour tortilla with charred onions and a fried cauliflower version with a Veracruz —style salsa and lemon vinaigrette. All tacos will only be served as is described on the menu with substitutions or modifications "politely declined." They will be in the $2.50 to $3 range each. In addition to tacos, expect side dishes like Patrick's popular homemade pickles and "Nachostadas," which is exactly what the conjoined root word infers, tostadas treated like nachos topped with Ricardo's homemade chorizo and melted cheese. On the beverages front, look for artisan sodas and fun cocktails like "A Street Cart Named Margarita," which is a watermelon Margarita with whole fruit spears, chili rim and Stella Rosa wine for $11. As for the beer, there will be the Mexican basics but also a rotating tap list of local breweries plus one or two Belgians. Oh yeah, and "Beer Sangria" that Ricardo is working on with Monkish Brewing. [EaterWire] — Javier Cabral