Thursday, July 18, 2024

Tacos La Carreta and Pizza Parlor LB pair up for a pie gone Sinaloense

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Two Long Beach food giants—the rightfully lauded Tacos La Carreta on the Northside and the underrated Pizza Parlor LB in East Long Beach—are partnering up for a pizza collaboration that features the five-day proofed sourdough base of the Parlor with the famed Sinaloa-style carne asada and charred Anaheim chiles of Tacos La Carreta.

And it’s all in the name of community, collaboration, and Cinco de Mayo.

What, exactly, is this pizza collab between Tacos La Carreta and Pizza Parlor LB about?

For Pizza Parlor LB owner and chef Josh Knight, collaborations have always been clutch to not just the Long Beach food scene but the entire culinary scene despite location; they are, if anything, essential cogs for communal sharing.

“The spirit of collaboration has always been in my heart,” Knight said, “and as someone born and raised in Long Beach, I think that community and sharing and partnering is instilled in us from a young age. When it comes to food, I’ve always respected the people who have brought their A-game and taught me what I know—and Jose is one such person. His Torito inspired this pizza.”

Tacos La Carreta is perhaps most famous for the Torito, which involves a lard-lathered flour tortilla, Anaheim chile, cheese, and Sinaloa-style carne asada. Knight has taken Carreta’s charred Anaheims, created a silky béchamel as a sauce base, topped it off with cheese, their asada, pickled onion, cilantro, and a side of Carreta’s salsa for amping the heat.

In other words, a savory bomb that melds the two culinary worlds of two of Long Beach’s finest.

Why Tacos La Carreta is important to our food culture—and why it is so respected regionally

I first wrote about taquero José Manuel Morales Bernal Jr. back in 2020 when they first moved to Long Beach—and discovered that much of what José learned he knows from his father, who was born in Mazatlán, the Sinaloa city whose love for carne asada is so pervasive that every single urban sector has the sweet smoke and savor of carne asada on the grill.

Their tacos estilo Sinaloense coming out of their taco truck made its home in North Long Beach for the past four years at 69th Street, just across from the Paramount border—

And 2023 was nothin short of a stellar year for Morales and the whole Tacos La Carreta team: Not only did his truck land a coveted spot on Los Angeles Times critic Bill Addison’s 101 Best Restaurants list—joining Long Beach brethren Ammatolí and Selva— but it was also named Best in Show at the 2023 TACO MADNESS event hosted by LA TACO.

2024 is proving no different: Morales opened a 35-seat brick-and-mortar at a West Whittier strip mall location and now bounces between his truck in North Long Beach and his restaurant.

How Pizza Parlor LB is changing the pizza game for East Long Beach

Surely, the sign just reads “pizzeria” amid the strip mall’s collage of small businesses where Clark Avenue meets Spring Street, stuffed among an old-school Mexican joint, a cake-ry, a DTLA Chinatown transplant…

But Pizza Parlor LB—the East Long Beach pizzeria that plays sibling to its neighboring Coffee Parlor, both owned and operated by Long Beach native Josh Knight—has grasped the Long Beach pizza zeitgeist by the crust to deliver the best pizza to East Long Beach. Even more, his love of food extends to his love of community—and that is reflected in his team.

Knight’s co-owner and chef Mike Ortiz? A culinary pedigree that stretches from Tartine at its peak in the Bay Area to running Lodge Bread at its peak. Their lead baker and pastry chef, Megan Waterbury? Serves up some of the best tiramisu and panna cotta in the city—all with a humble, quiet demeanor and kindness. Pizzaiolo Riley Bowman and pizzaiola Jenna Takeuchi? Warm, lack pretense, amazing at what they do.

In essence, Knight treats his pizzeria like any high-performing kitchen, respecting people’s names and titles, ensuring safety is one and tact is next,

To read Brian Addison’s full profile on Pizza Parlor LB, click here. The Tacos La Carreta pizza will be available on Friday, May 3 until Sunday, May 5, in celebration of Cinco de Mayo—or until sold out.

Brian Addison
Brian Addison
Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 25 nominations and three additional wins. In 2019, he was awarded the Food/Culture Critic of the Year across any platform at the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.

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