The duo behind street food sensation Evil Cooks, Elvia Huerta and Alex Garcia, debuted Los Angeles’s first-ever trompo tricycle last Friday, November 4, at Sara’s Market in East Los Angeles. Dubbed El Perro Negro (the black dog), the trompo triciclo attracted first-timers and locals alike with its unmistakable scent of grilled meats and spicy smoke. Sara’s Market was a fitting location for El Perro Negro’s introduction, as the family-owned store has been serving the community for decades and regularly plays host to notable pop-ups and food trucks, including the launch of Evil Cooks, which now appears at Smorgasburg on Sundays, in 2018. East Los Angeles is also Huerta’s hometown.
For its inaugural event, the trompo was stacked with sliced pork marinated in recado negro, Evil Cooks’ signature blackened marinade made of dried chiles, herbs, spices, charred tortilla, and roasted cacao. Large flour tortillas warmed on the griddle alongside the trompo. On the evening’s menu were burritos filled with al pastor, pickled red onions, salsa, and avocado in a cheese-lined flour tortilla. Garcia instinctively rotated the trompo as the crowd gathered and the fire roared on. “It’s always great to be back at Sara’s,” says Garcia. “No better place to show a new version of us.”
Inspired by street vendors in Mexico City, El Perro Negro was designed by Garcia and features a vertical rotating spit with a custom 12-by-16-inch comal. With help from a welder, the detachable trompo was fitted and mounted atop a repurposed cargo tricycle. “I just want to bring people the kind of things I loved growing up in Mexico,” says Garcia.
In addition to its rotating trompo, the tricycle is equipped with interchangeable stations that can serve tacos, tamales, and even pizza from a specially fabricated oven made just for the cart. “El Perro Negro has many tricks to show,” says Garcia. Huerta and Garcia see the trompo triciclo as the next phase of their mobile business and look forward to showing off all its features at future catering events and front yard pop-ups on Fridays and Saturdays in El Sereno (2461 N. Eastern Avenue Los Angeles). El Perro Negro will not be serving at Smorgasburg.