Holy Guacamole! ~ Santa Monica
2906 Main Street @ Ashland ~ Santa Monica (view map)
Holy guacamole is right, you can charge people who live by the beach just about anything!! Holy Guacamole has Mexican chefs, but something about it has “gringo owner” written all over it. Standing quietly at attention on Main St., it is a simple spot with fair tacos and a kind of cool, bare-bones set-up. A large mural depicts Earth’s first man receiving tacos from a caucasian Allah, something we can testify must have happened just so. Bottles of hot sauce with Satanic names are neatly stacked on wooden shelves, and local beach-bums and graphic designer types crowd the scant tables and cool bar where you can watch the grilling take place.
The holy one offers some nice touches, in addition to the chips and salsa they give you on your prison-issued plastic tray. Marinated veggies soak in a glass pickle jar and are a nice remedy for the burning hot green tomotillo slung from the register to keep your chips company. Also, the beans are vegetarian, making it perfect to take those Hindu dates you have when curry fever hits hard. Tacos come as scorching as hot potatoes, wrapped in foil and nearly smoking…
The asada taco is the best bet here; a tiny bit greasy and releasing juices full of the complex flavor of steak and spices with the kiss of the grill in its medium-sized chunks. A few bits of the asada were a little fatty, but it somehow works into the texture of the taco, lightly doused with zing-less pico de gallo.
Pastor here was a little disappointing, but still had some taste and merit. Instead of the reddish, charred chunks of pork I expect, the pastor was straight-up white meat that could have been confused for chicken, both in taste annd texture. It was flavorful, but pretty dry; soft enough to not completely disappoint, but definitely in need of some juice or charred ends. It was seemingly oven-roasted, as opposed to double-penetrated on a spit where it can soak in its own stew.
Carnitas were similarly disappointing in their dryness. They simply needed to be more consistently wet, as some parts of the taco were moist, while others were a little too chewy and dehydrated. The taste of the meat, like in the asada, really stood out, but lacked any delicious, stewed flavor within the pork.
None of this was helped by the double-tortilla wrapping, which added to the dryness of everything. When the bulk of the taco was done, we were left holding empty tortilla, like the filter of a joint you keep hitting with no contents left.
Holy Guacamole does have super-fresh food, this is obvious. The tacos are authentic in style, yet do not provide the sabor found in hundreds of Mexican kitchens across Los Angeles. Plus, in this perpetually rent-jacking part of the city, charging a whopping $2.55 for a taco is not surprising, though blasphemous to our crew.
Everything is improved with their hot salsas, both fresh and bottled, masking the blandness with piquancy and spice. I imagine their burritos fair a little better as the mix is typically more blended than in a taco. Still, for a place that boasts “Tacos from heaven, hot sauce from Hell,” we have to give our points to the man below once again for the more kick-ass experience.