L.A. Taco truck turns out authentic Mexican ‘street food’ in the Alle-Kiski Valley | TribLIVE.com
Valley News Dispatch

L.A. Taco truck turns out authentic Mexican ‘street food’ in the Alle-Kiski Valley

Joyce Hanz | For the Tribune-Review
Look for the L.A. Taco truck weekly in Saxonburg, Ford City, Kittanning and Sarver.
Joyce Hanz | For the Tribune-Review
The L.A. Taco truck makes stops weekly in Armstrong and Butler counties.
Joyce Hanz | For the Tribune-Review
The Flying Pig is a specialty taco featuring Buffalo chicken, Chorizo, cheese, fresh salsa, blue cheese, bacon and ranch.
Joyce Hanz | For the Tribune-Review
Ford City residents and frequent customers Emily and Mike Toy, with daughter, Braelynn, order take-out from L.A. Taco in Ford City on April 23, 2019.
Joyce Hanz | For the Tribune-Review
Customers in Ford City visit the L.A. Taco food truck, parked next to Ford City Park near the clock tower,for authentic street style tacos, burritos and quesadillas from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays.
Joyce Hanz | For the Tribune-Review
L.A. Taco Manager Haley Walker with a Flying Pig taco.
Joyce Hanz | For the Tribune-Review
L.A. Taco food truck owner Amy Aguirre and daughter Hayley Walker take a break from working a lunch rush on April 23, 2019 in Ford City. L.A. Taco opened in 2012 and is based in Kittanning.
L.A. Taco repeat customer Bear the dog from Kittanning waits for his doggie taco at Kittanning Riverfront Park.

Taco Tuesday can be yours.

L.A. Taco, a food truck primarily serving the Alle-Kiski area since 2012, rolls into Saxonburg, Buffalo Township, Ford City and Kittanning weekly, selling authentic Mexican tacos, burritos and quesadillas.

“My husband, Walter, is Latino and from L.A., moved here, and was a student at IUP,” said co-owner/operator/chef Amy Aguirre of Kittanning. “He said he wanted tacos one day and I suggested Taco Bell and he said, “No, real tacos. He missed having street tacos.”

Walter, who has Mexican and Salvadoran roots, began cooking the West Coast-inspired tacos he craved.

Walter sold chicken and steak tacos at a fraternity event during his college days at IUP.

“It went over so well we bought a trailer and opened up outside of the frat house and the Wicked Saloon in Kittanning,” Aguirre says. “Once it caught on, we were offered other locations, which now is our weekly schedule.”

The Aguirres began selling their Mexican fare seasonally (no winter tacos!) from a tiny 4×6 foot trailer in 2012.

Walter is employed full time so Amy reigns taco supreme these days.

“I was nine months pregnant and we used every last dime we had to buy everything for the first night (of business) prior to the trailer in hopes that we would make our money back,” Aguirre says.

L.A. Taco’s Facebook page describes what customers can expect: street meat, Mexican tacos, bar food, drunk food and specials — and varying locations such as Pittsburgh and area festivals.

But this food truck is, for the most part, an Armstrong County darling.

Customers count on L.A. Taco for their weekly Mexican food fix.

The homemade salsa is made daily.

Meats are purchased several times per week to ensure freshness.

Josh Lipkin of Kittanning Township brings his dog, Bear, every week for supper at Riverfront Park in Kittanning.

“Bear knows when it’s taco Tuesday because he starts getting excited once we hit the park,” Lipkin says. “I love the Flying Pig and Bear gets a “Doggy Taco” which is chicken wrapped in a paper boat, but he sneaks some of my taco shell too.”

For Lipkin, it’s a taco tradition of sorts.

“I believe in supporting local business, they put out a great product, they’re friendly and, mainly, because Bear enjoys and I do too,” Lipkin says.

L.A. Taco purchases their meats from Cunningham Meats in Shelocta and Kevin’s Quality Meats in Kittanning.

Look for specials and the always in-demand elote corn (Mexican corn on the cob) that’s only available beginning in July.

Social media customer reviews on L.A. Taco’s Facebook page talk up the street corn, fresh ingredients, friendly service and of course, the tacos.

“As for the corn, we don’t give away any secrets. Only a few people actually know exactly what we use,” Aguirre says.

Choose from chorizo, chicken or steak tacos, served with salsa, cheese, sour cream, lime and cilantro. Special requests are welcomed and veggie tacos and burritos are available.

Burritos, quesadillas and specialty tacos round out the menu.

“It’s been a fun and busy journey” says Aguirre, who left a full-time nursing career for L.A. Taco. “It’s nice being my own boss.”

Recently the food truck required a new engine and generator.

“That is the biggest challenge,” says Aguirre of the food truck they purchased in 2001 from a deli that was closing in Indiana, Pa. “We park the truck in a rural location (family land) in Rayburn Township, where we have lots of room.”

Aguirre’s daughter, Hayley Walker, 21, works part time alongside her mother.

“I grew up in this taco truck — began taking orders from customers at age 12. I use my money earned here for college,” says Walker, who is studying health management at Carlow University. “I really like the customer relationship that we have here. We remember a person just by their order.”

Top sellers include the The Phat Phil burrito ($8) and a specialty taco dubbed The Flying Pig ($3.75.)

“We create new things after working here for seven years and eating the same thing,” Aguirre says. “The Flying Pig is a mixture of Buffalo chicken, bacon, chorizo, lettuce, cheese, blue cheese and ranch. It may sound odd but it’s really good.”

Look for specials like the Fiesta Lime Chicken Salad ($8), which was so popular L.A. Taco customers implored them to add it to the menu.

Keeping prices affordable, L.A. Taco items range in price from $3 to $8 and customers may choose from corn or flour tortillas.

The spicy factor is low here, but numerous hot sauces are at the ready for customers.

“We did a taco tour out in Los Angeles and we really made some changes because of the area that we live in. Out west they put different things on tacos, like radishes. We offer Buffalo chicken, chicken bacon ranch and we keep our staples as steak, chicken and chorizo (Mexican-style pork sausage.)

L.A. Taco is available for special events, weddings, parties and some catering.

“Our customers are our second family. We know most of them and they know us,” Aguirre says. “I like being here. The customers are great and it (Mexican food) is needed here. The community has been our biggest supporter as well as the local businesses giving us locations, promoting our business as well. The area we are serving are simply amazing and full of wonderful people.”

Joyce Hanz is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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