Editor’s note: There has been a lot written about the best Boyle Heights eateries lately, mostly by food “experts” who do not live in the neighborhood. We asked our resident foodie María Arredondo to give us a list of five of her favorite food spots in Boyle Heights. Here’s her list:

Vaka Burgers

Chef Aaron knows how to make a burger. It is flavorful, hearty and full of heart. He puts everything he has into it. The meat is vetted and handpicked, only to be the best. His artistic side comes out in the components of every burger. The right ration of sweet, savory and salty. The meat is never overcooked and always juicy, to hold in the flavor. My favorite is the Vaka burger. As simple as it may it look, it is concocted as an artisans treat. There is so much taste and interaction between the ingredients, yet only a few to comprise this amazing burger. Beer Batter Tempura Ring, Muenster Cheese, Bacon Jam, VaKA Signature Smoked BBQ Sauce. Vaka Burger is located inside Ramirez Liquor, 2765 E. Olympic Blvd.  Open 11:30am -11pm 7 days a week. Don’t forget a nice cold one to go with your food. VaKA Burger Express

“Nameless” taco stand

I’d be remiss if I didn’t take the time to point you in the direction of a good taco stand. This one is located in front of the Wyvernwood Apts. on 8th St. between Euclid and Dacotah. They have $1 tacos, burritos, tortas, mulitas, quesadillas, rice and beans. The horchata that is served here is one of my favorites. One of my pet peeves is going to eat Mexican food and the horchata not being up to par with the food. The carnitas are my favorite meat on the menu. Crispy, soft, not too greasy and those tacos come in a good serving. The stand is there Friday – Sunday 5pm to 12am

Al & Bea’s

Currently celebrating 50 years in Boyle Heights, this place reminds me of being a teenager and stopping to grab something to eat on my way home from school. Their taquito plate is my personal favorite. You get three taquitos, topped with guacamole, lettuce, cheese and tomato, a side of rice and beans. A quick easy, grab and go meal for about $6.00. They have a variety of items on their menu, their patio only seating makes for a relaxing meal al fresco and their taco shack stand gives it a very down to earth appeal. Located at 2025 E 1st St. Open from 11am to 8pm

First Street Taquería

What I really love about this place is the unique takes on their Mexican food. Not confined to the traditional sense, they name their dishes in unexpected ways and they incorporate a bit of a healthier element than I am used to. Las Jamburguesas are their tortas, made from, bollilos, kale, crema fresca, onions, cheese, cherry tomatoes and serranos. One of their signature items, the Kale drink, is very refreshing. Located at 1843 ½ E. 1st St. Open from 11am to 9pm

Puertos Del Pacífico

A great Taco Tuesday spot. Chef Alan Matheus really hit it out of park with this one. They have a variety of tacos, some are $1 and some are $2 a piece (on Tuesdays). Some of the $2 tacos are pork belly and Ahi tacos. They also have the usual $1 fish and shrimp tacos. The biggest surprise came when I ordered carne asada nachos, the carne asada was juicy and plump, the nachos were topped with beans, pico de gallo and full of flavor. They also have classic seafood, ceviche, aguachile and oysters. If you are looking for a spot to hang out and have a beer, this is your spot. They serve beers  starting at $3 and different flavored micheladas that run at about $6. Alan Matheus has a garden nearby where he grows a lot of the food used for his menu. Locally sourced food, for locals, couldn’t ask for anything better. Located at 1240 S. Soto St.  

Maria Arredondo

Maria Arredondo is a full-time working mom who always finds time to sit and have a meal with her family. Maria was born and raised in Boyle Heights where she currently lives with her husband, daughter,...

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