Mondo Taco

2200 Colorado Ave

Santa Monica, CA 90404

Mondo Taco used to be located in mid LA, but they moved to a newer and bigger location in Santa Monica! Today, they are featuring 34 unique and modern tacos that you can order, and these tacos are divided into three categories: crawl, grow, and swim. Crawl consists of the meats, grow includes the vegetarian tacos, and of course swim is the seafood! Since everything looked amazing, we decided to order a large variety to share amongst the four of us. Ask for their three spicy sauces- they have the ghost pepper sauce which will burn your tongue if you're into that. I really enjoyed the other two as they really spiced up the tacos! 

We also got guac, salsa, and chips as well as agua frescas to drink! The guac was so good we actually ordered another one.. and we finished both. They offer pineapple and watermelon agua frescas which was super refreshing.Since we ordered a lot, I am only going to highlight my favorites. 

Tokyo Shrimp- Tempura Shrimp, Avocado, Spicy Mayo- tempura + taco + avocado all in one!? This was my favorite of everything we tried! 

Crispy Fish- Blackened Shrimp, Onions, Garlic Mayo- I love crispy fish tacos, and this was no exception. Simple yet bomb!

Bayou Fish- Grilled Cajun Fish, Jambalaya, Cajun Aioli- they are really killing it with the fishes- another fantastic combo to try. 

Viet Yum- Grilled Shrimp, Cabbage, Lime, Chili Sesame oil- this was very fusion tasting, and I liked how they created their vietnamese style taco. Love the crunchy texture that the cabbage added!

Yo Adrian- Rib Eye, peppers, onions, mushrooms, provolone- I love a good philly cheese steak, and that in a taco was extremely appealing to me. My friends didnt like it as it was melted provolone in a taco, but I loved it! So this may be based more on preference.

We also got the blueberry panna cotta which was surprisingly delicious! We were extremely full but managed to finish all of it as we could not stop taking bites. 

Although the tacos are pricer, you do pay for tacos you can't get anywhere else! The service also surpassed my expectations- I was extremely impressed when I got up to refill my drink and the guy offered to do it for me. Mind you- this is an order at the counter and take a number type of restaurant. Overall, this restaurant deserves a five stars based on originality, taste, service, and presentation. My friends and I had different tastes so we did like some more than others, but we generally liked all of the tacos. Definitely try out the different tacos and figure out what you like!

Rakken Tacos

2444 S Atlantic Blvd

Commerce, CA 90040

Rakken Tacos is a Vietnamese Mexican fusion restaurant that is not too far from Downtown; it was around a 15 minute drive and there wasn't any traffic when I came in during lunch time. Originally, they were a vendor at the 626 Night Market, and after five years, they finally opened their first brick & mortar shop! Everything on the menu looked amazing, and I was really surprised at how cheap everything was. I ended up getting the Rakken six which includes a sampler of all 6 of their tacos, shrimp taquitos, and garlic crab fries all to myself! For drinks, I tried their English Standard tea as this was the only restaurant that offers this brand on the west coast. 

Wonderberry Flavor

Wonderberry Flavor

The Rakken six came out quickly, and I was impressed at not only the presentation, but also the variety and taste of the tacos! 

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1. The Rakken Al Pastor, grilled vietnamese lemongrass pork, spicy siracha, mayo, onions- the pork was tender and juicy, and I liked the slight hint of sour and a subtle kick of spicy the taco offered. 

Rakken Al Pastor Taco

Rakken Al Pastor Taco

2. Yuzu Carne Asada, marinated steak, japanese citrus sauce, onions- A nice twist on your typical carne asada tacos. Love the flavor of the yuzu sauce, and the meat was delicious.

3. Pho, flank steak simmered in pho broth, onions, basil leaves, hoisin-siracha drizzle- I see that some of the reviews complain about the saltiness, but it's kind of assumed when you're eating hoisin sauce. I thought this taco was super unique, and it tasted just like pho but solid form! 

Pho Taco

Pho Taco

4. Butter Shrimp, lemon, pickled purple onions, Rakken house spices- I typically am not a big fan of shrimp, but this was surprisingly my favorite of the combo! The marination of the shrimp was fantastic, and the onions added a nice overall texture. Must order!

Butter Shrimp Taco

Butter Shrimp Taco

5. Mini-bello, portello mushrooms, onions, shiso leaves, spicy mayo- I love mushrooms, so this was an automatic win for me. Love how they incorporate a vegetarian taco on their menu!

6. Chicken curry, Vietnamese yellow chicken curry with coconut milk, pickled cabbage- this reminded me of the authentic vietnamese curry I have eaten at my friend's house. Another extremely unique taco as you typically don't put curry with tortilla! Loved this one as well though.

The garlic crab fries is also another must order for me as the crab was of fantastic quality and the fries were perfectly fried. The owner mentioned that they used Dungeness crab claw meat instead of using snow crab, and you can tell the difference in quality! I wish they had more garlic aioli because I love my garlic, but this was killer! Coming back for these for sure!

Garlic Crab Fries

Garlic Crab Fries

At this point, I was super full, so I only had a little of my shrimp taquitos. The shrimp was basically the same as the taco, so of course it was delicious. Taquitos were nice and crispy on the outside.

Shrimp Taquitos

Shrimp Taquitos

I also ended up getting the Oreo churros for dessert as it was Oreo-branded, and it was the perfect ending. Wish there was more cream inside and more vietnamese coffee drizzle, but that's just my personal preference. 

Oreo Churros

Oreo Churros

I was super impressed at the overall concept and execution as Rakken Tacos nailed everything! The Rakken Six is similar to the sample platter that Guisado's offers, but this one definitely is more unique. The items on the menu are extremely well thought out, and the owner Ken is very passionate about his restaurant. I love how they were able to incorporate traditional Vietnamese food into Mexican style tacos, and I do want to come back and try their other dishes such as the mango shrimp ceviche and carne asada fries. I will be back! 

Pearl's Sunset Strip

8909 Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069

This restaurant, located on the rooftop of a two story building, boasts a gorgeous atmosphere with beautiful employees and people. They seem to really emphasize on the looks here, which makes sense as we are in Hollywood. The view does overlook the streets of Hollywood, and there is a covering on top so if there is rain- there isn't really an issue. We came in with a reservation for three, and sat down a few minutes after they prepared our table.

Their brunch menu has a nice array of items to choose from, and we ended up ordering a chicken and waffles, lobster tacos, and eggs benedict- one salmon and one fried chicken. The eggs benedict you can mix and match which is super cool! We also ordered a bottle of champagne which comes with a mimosa kit. 

The mimosa kit is like every girl's dream- the presentation included flowers, fresh fruit, passionfruit and berry syrup, orange juice, and swirly straws to drink your mimosa out of. I love what is included as we got to mix and match with whatever we want! Super cute concept and execution! 

The food was great; nothing spectacular, but it was delicious nevertheless. I really enjoyed my lobster tacos and the sauce that was used for the tacos. The eggs on the benedict was poached perfectly, and the fried chicken and salmon offered a nice variety in taste. The chicken and waffles was good, but I preferred my tacos over that. 

Pearl's is the perfect brunch spot for a cute girl's day out and for anyone, really. I would recommend making a reservation in advance as it does get packed during brunch. With food, presentation, and decor on point, there's nothing negative about this restaurant! Definitely going to return to enjoy the overall atmosphere and the mimosa kit.