In Gustavo Arellano’s new book, Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America, he explains our love of all things folded into a tortilla. NPR’s Carolina Miranda recently joined him for a 150-mile tour of Southern California’s taco trail, visiting cultural touchstones in the evolution of the Mexican snack in America.

Stop One: Cielito Lindo Food Stand, Olvera Street, Los Angeles

Since the 1930s, this tiny stand — located in the heart of historic L.A. — has been famous for its rolled, fried taquitos, covered in avocado sauce. Arellano thinks of the food stand as a Plymouth Rock of tacos, one place where the Mexican staple met a broader American audience.

Cielito Lindo’s taquitos quickly gained a following among Mexicans and non-Mexicans alike. “People all over Southern California started copying it,” Arellano says. “The exact same way to fry it, the avocado salsa, everything.”

Americans had discovered the taco.

Originally posted by Dane Carlson on April 23, 2014 in Books / Featured.

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