Lissette Mendoza | Signal Tribune
Looking for something other than drive-thru food for your late night cravings? Check out these three personal and local favorite food spots that are open until 3am, in no particular order. If you have your own recommendations for late night eating excursions, send an email to [email protected]
Located in the eastside, at 1616 E. Anaheim St., this is the late night taco spot that you end up coming to when you and your friends are either buzzed or drunk. While in the daytime El Sauz is a fully-functioning restaurant, the late-night tacos are served through the window on the side. You won’t miss it as you’ll see a long line of people leading up to it.
Made with corn flour tortillas and ranging from $1.50 to $2.25, depending on the meat you select, the tacos and quesadillas here are affordable and pack a punch when it comes to taste. There’s also a Taco Tuesday special from 6pm to 12am where all tacos are $1.25 each.
Personally, the quesadillas are the go-to, which essentially the same as tacos but with cheese added and are melted to perfection. Preferred meats are beef (asada), shredded beef (barbacoa), cow tounge (lengua) and fried intestines (tripas).
With everything included, the tacos and quesadillas come with freshly chopped onions and cilantro on top. On the side are sliced radishes, lime and grilled onions glistening to perfection with the expertly balanced amount of sweetness to contrast the spicy green-chili sauce. If you can’t handle the heat, make sure to have their ice-cold horchata beverage on the side, along with a shot of Pepto-Bismol, you’ll thank me later.
The only seating available is the small tables in front of the cashier. While there’s a heater for those cold late nights, but I’d recommend you bring your sweaters–– and the take-home option is also great.
On-site parking is available but it tends to get packed, especially during the late night hours.
El Sauz is open 7 days a week, from 6pm to 3am, including New Years Day but will close early at 10pm on New Year’s Eve.
Taco Loco No. 3
A Long Beach staple, Taco Loco No. 3 is located at 1465 Magnolia Ave.
Featuring a variety of Mexican food including seafood, fresh fruits, tacos, breakfast, tortas, burgers, soups, marinated meats, salads and desserts, there is something to please everybody.
My top choice has to be their wet burrito, which is the size of a newborn baby and smothered with your choice of either green or red sauce, complete with cheese on top and a side salad with thousand island dressing. It’s filled with rice, beans, pico de callo and your choice of meat. I usually get their cow tongue as the meat of choice due to its tenderness. Pair the meal with any of their agua frescas drinks. I usually go with their agua de jamaica (hibiscus) and your set for the night.
Another great option is their tacos dorados, which consists of a small rolled-up tortillas that contains your choice of meat and are then deep-fried and served with lettuce, sour cream, tomato, cheese and onion on top and a side of guacamole and their sauce.
They also have tacos which they make with their own handmade tortillas with your choice of meat from broiled beef, marinated beef, pork stomach, fried pork, beef head, beef brains, spiced meat, beef tongue, chicken or beef tripe.
Wash it all down with an agua fresca (horchata, piña, jamaica, fresa and lemonade) or their freshly squeezed natural juices (orange, piña, celery, carrot, beetroot, apple, vampiro) if you need nutrients for that hangover.
End your meal with their flan, a custard dessert with a layer of clear caramel sauce or a bionico: a fruit salad consisting of a variety of fruits chopped up into small cubes, drenched with crema and topped off with granola, shredded coconut, raisins and sometimes honey.
You won’t even need to eat for the rest of the day, maybe even the week, after a complete meal from this joint.
Parking is available on-site, but it does get packed on late-night weekends.
Taco Loco is open Sunday through Thursday from 6am to 11pm and is open for 24 hours on Friday and Saturday. They will close early on New Year’s Eve at 3pm and will resume regular operating hours on New Year’s Day.
Craving Asian food? Try out Pandanus Leaf located at 763 E. Anaheim St.
This Thai food place offers a variety of dishes including noodles, soups, salads and curries, so there’s something for everyone to venture off from traditional pad thai noodles.
My favorite is the yellow curry which has potatoes, carrots, onions, and is cooked in a spicy coconut milk base. It comes with a small side of rice.
I order my curry with duck meat for a richer flavor, but they provide other meat options including chicken and beef. For drinks, I recommend their cold thai tea with milk or the lychee slushee on a hot day.
It truly is a hole-in-the-wall with its location in a shopping center, which also provides a large amount of parking. Table seating is provided inside.
Pandanus Leaf is open Sunday through Wednesday from 10am to 1am and Thursday through Saturday from 1am to 3am. They will be open from noon to midnight for New Years Eve and New Years Day.