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Recession Obsession: Greasy Comfortable Nostalgia

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Mmmmm.... Calories...
A Recession Obsession is, 1) a meal so great that it stays in your mind long after digestion's end, and, 2) plays nice with your sensitive wallet. Is there a better place than Los Angeles to eat a wide variety of amazing food that so happens to be inexpensive? Probably not. We're as lucky as we are well fed. We last obsessed over Tweetin' Mobile Chinese Tacos, andthe last nine months of this column. Today, we obsess...

Today’s Recession Obsession is a gluttonous walk down memory lane, a trip to Campos Tacos in Venice, where a plate of hard-shelled chicken tacos, chips, and a drink is but $7. While this Campos location might look like a dime-a-dozen Mexican hole-in-the-wall (with a scary bathroom,) to this author, it represents the birth of a love affair, an LAist’s latest Recession Obsession.

This Recession Obsessionist once had limited experience with Mexican food. Hard to believe, I know. But hailing from Albany, New York, one didn’t see Mexican food made by Mexicans (much less for Mexicans.)

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Of course there was Tex-Mex, food whose maker was more likely to feature Tex origins than Mex origins, and somehow everything ended up in the deep-deep fryer. With that fare, the emphasis was always on the chips and salsa (which was nothing more than a masticatory lubricant.)

On my second visit to LA, when I was 17, I somehow ended up at Campos in Venice. A plate of hard-shelled chicken tacos seemed like a great lunch. Plus I wasn’t ready for anything less gringoy like corn-torilla soft tacos.

The Tacos

They were warm and calorically dense. Wonder comfort food. I felt like I could see them slowly concealing: the shredded cheese clutched the chicken, chunky salsa, and non-descript lettuce. As a pool of grease formed on my plate, the crispiness of the shells didn’t last long. That was no problem. These gateway drugs brought me to heaven.

Thousands of tacos later, including ones in Mexico, and every corner of Los Angeles, I have Campos in Venice to thank. Now, as a Los Angeles resident, the way I show my thanks is to be a patron eleven years after First Bite.

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I know there are a few Campos Tacos around. I’ve only had a meal at one other and it wasn't much. I choked down some kind of slimey burrito with Grade F beans and Grade D eggs. Breakfast of Campeones! So, I can’t speak to the other locations, but in Venice, a plate of their hard chicken tacos doesn’t cost much, and the nostalgia is definitely free.

  • Campos Tacos Venice | 427 Lincoln Boulevard | Venice 90291 | (310) 396-8749

Photo by Caleb Bacon (Twitter) for LAist

Where do you get your greasy nostalgia? Comment Below!