Plancha: A Taco Joint

Los Angeles, CA. The inevitable health-conscious question was posed: find me a healthy Latin American restaurant in Los Angeles. Does one exist? Well, there may be one a lot closer than you'd think! Situated in a small plaza along the 3rd Street Shopping District, is Plancha: A Taco Joint, serving traditional choices with the sought-after lightness, cooked on a plancha, their flattop grill. With friendly staff, a simple menu, and late night hours, the little eatery becomes an easy go-to after a exhausting [work/school/.../etc.] day.

Park along the street or in front of the shop, place an order for dining or to go, ladle out some salsa and it's all set. The sauces range from mild to hot, with pico de gallo for the lovers of the chopped variety. Seating is street-side inside and out, and usually there's plenty of it. Their chips are fried, drained, and served up warm with new orders, so careful, they may get a little cozy for consumption while waiting. Become a regular, and staff will recognize who you are, what you eat, and wait with a smile as you repeat your "usual." I've become quite the frequenter of Plancha's approach, but as with a few other spots, I've been so busy eating it that I've forgotten to write it up (oops).

Street Tacos (pictured above): Looks like a taco, no? Plancha serves a lo-carb taco choice (on butterhead lettuce) with the usual fixin's: steak, chicken, al pastor, cilantro and onion. Style it up the Plancha way with guacamole, salsa roja, and cotija cheese. Sure, get the corn or flour (soft or crispy), but if watching the waistline, stray from tradition and give these a go. The meats are lightly seasoned, and tender so as a standalone side, they make for a great protein fix.

Cup of Meat (side) - Steak, pork, chicken, oh my! People think I joke when I say I come here just for a side order of meat. Truth is, I could cook some up at home, but this makes it a bit easier. These tenderly seasoned side choices are offered at 3, 8, 16 ounces and can be eaten with or without any additions. This tasty indulgence has become an easy pick-me-up to pick up on the way home.

Steak and Eggs Burrito

Steak and Eggs Burrito / Protein Burrito - When ordering an entree, I usually steer to their burritos (which I would likely enjoy deep fried too, if that were a choice). The Steak and Eggs Burrito comes with steak, peppers, onions, jack cheese, salsa, and guacamole. The Protein Burrito is filled with egg whites, peppers, onions  beans, and salsa; chicken or steak can be added for a small charge. As pictured above, either burrito can be served without the tortilla. When I place my order for the "usual" either of these, in a bowl, is what I mean.

Fresh Fish Taco - like the lo-carb Street Tacos, this taco serves grilled tilapia on butterhead lettuce with guacamole, onion and cilantro with a chipotle cream sauce. Sure, it's tasty, but I'm not a seafood foodie who can appreciate straying from the land dwelling options, when I have the choice.

Olvera Street Taquitos
Olvera Street Taquitos - Of course I had to try something fried. The taquitos are served atop refried beans and covered with a tomatillo-avocado sauce, cotija cheese, and more jack and cheddar cheese. Choose between chicken or braised beef, but either are muted when it really comes down to it. I was never introduced to this type of dish growing up but it seems quite the staple in Mexican cuisine here in Los Angeles. Though I appreciated the effort, I'm more of a chimichanga kind of guy.

Quesadilla - as simple as it should be: jack cheese, roasted peppers; chicken, steak, or fajita veggies can be added for a small charge. Made quickly on their flattop grill, choose a single or double, flour or corn, and satisfy any lingering hunger. Oh, and yes, guacamole is served on the side for dipping.

Salsa Selection
It's fresh, it's fast, and it's simple. It's not a 'fancy' dining environment, nor does it pretend to be. It does appear commercially decorated, with the bright lighting and general setup, but with consistently good food, the ambience isn't my focus. So to answer the question: where can I get Latin-American food and leave feeling satisfied and not overly stuffed? Here's a pretty good option.

Plancha: A Taco Joint
8250 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 951-9911