Takosher, The Chosen Taco
I was driving down Wilshire Blvd. on my way to an interview and had to do a double take out of my rear view mirror to see if I had really just seen the Star of David plastered across the side of what looked likeâ€¦a taco truck??Â â€śTakosher, the Chosen Taco.â€ťÂ AllÂ suited up and with portfolio in hand, I parked my car and paraded down the street to the cobalt blue truck.Â â€śIs the owner here?â€ťÂ â€śYes, thatâ€™s me,â€ť said Lowell Bernstein.
Amazingâ€¦A kosher taco truck!!
Takosher is just as special as it sounds â€“ it is the only kosher taco truck in the U.S.Â While living in Mexico for four years, Lowell fell in love with the culture of tacos.Â â€śThat cultural experience solidified my fascination with tacos and the hugely important role that they play throughout the country. Â When I returned to L.A., I began sharing what I had learned, fully embracing â€śtacultureâ€ť preparing fresh salsas and throwing â€śtaquizasâ€ť (taco parties) for family and friends.â€ť
Inspired to share this love affair with fellow Jewish Angelenos â€“ the majority who have never eaten an authentic taco, let alone eaten off a lunch truck â€“ Lowell decided to push the Holy envelope and open a kosher taco truck to merge the Jewish and Mexican cultures in Los Angeles.
Lowell attested, â€śI understand why we are the only kosher taco truck in the country.Â I do not wish the process on anyone!Â Everyone said it was impossible.Â The idea of having a kitchen on wheels is a new idea for the kosher community.â€ťÂ Agency-after-agency turned down their request for kosher certification until one glorious day, Three Line K, open-minded and willing to entertain the idea, agreed to help them.Â Lowell and his two business partners and long-time friends Moises Baqueiro and Chris Martin, equally locos for tacos, were ecstatic.
Under the strict orthodox supervision of Rabbi Yisroel Kelemer, the three amigos began the year-and-a-half trek it would take to prepare the truck to meet Glatt kosher standards â€“ the strictest of kosher certifications.Â Â Most people, including myself, donâ€™t really know what â€śkosherâ€ť means.Â We know kosher laws prohibit pork and shellfish and the mixing of meat with dairy, but this barely scratches the Semitic surface.
Being the health nut I am, I was intrigued and eager to inquire, â€śWhat does â€śkosherâ€ť mean?â€ťÂ It seemed like a simple enough question.Â Lowell paused and you could almost hear the millions of intricacies whirling in his head making us both dizzy without him uttering one word.Â â€śIn a nutshell.â€ťÂ Ha!Â He explained that we could take the next five hours to discuss the complexities of â€śkosherâ€ť but would give us an extremely abridged version.Â â€śThere are three elements: the product, the environment, and the process.â€ť
To begin, the product must be certified kosher.Â Takosker buys its meet from Doheny Kosher Meats who has been in business for over 20 years on the corner of Doheny and W. Pico Blvd.Â Vegetables and fruits are naturally kosher products.Â But, when cleaning the cilantro Takosher uses a lightbox, similar to an x-ray machine, in order to sift through the leaves and see if any bugs have been overlooked.Â If an insect is found, they no longer can use the entire bunch of cilantro because the cilantro is now considered an animal.
The second kosher element is environment.Â Lowell and his counterparts took a year-and-a-half just to prepare their truck!Â This required they purchase a standard lunch truck that they then had to completely strip, scour and heat the surfaces within in order to kill all germs.Â The kitchen is most definitely cleaner than any one of ours at home.
And finally, the third aspect of â€śkosherâ€ť is the process. All ingredients are fresh daily and dishes made-to-order.Â The kosher laws that Takosher follows mandate that they prepare all food on the truck rather than in a prep kitchen guaranteeing ultimate freshness.Â In fact, we intended to shoot this video a month prior but by the time we arrived, Takosher had run out of almost everything but tortillas!Â This wouldnâ€™t have made for an exciting video so we tracked them down at a later date.
Now the moment we have all been waiting forâ€¦the tacos!Â Takosher beams of five delicious tacos.Â If you want to step out of your Mexican comfort zone, try the two most traditionally Jewish items on the menu: the brisket and latke tacos.Â The recipe for the Original Brisketaco is actually a recipe that has traveled down from the hands of his mother-in-law.Â Braised and slow-cooked for over 6 hours with chili sauce, sauerkraut, raisins, a touch of sweet, and a little spice will turn your Latino world upside down.Â The latke taco is filled with fried potato pancake â€“ a food typically eaten during Hanukkah â€“ topped with salsa made of apple, cinnamon, and serrano chili peppers.Â Takosher also offers Fujitas â€“ baked tofu marinated in mesquite and garlic; sautĂ©ed â€śfajita styleâ€ť with grilled peppers, onions and a squeeze of lime.Â And for those of you not willing to forgo the authenticity of your tacos, there is always the carne asada and chicken taco.
To track down Takosher, visit their website: http://www.takosher.com/ orÂ follow them on Twitter: @takosher
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