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Tacos Al Pastor at Burrito Amigo. Maybe the best?

Tacos Al Pastor at Burrito Amigo. Maybe the best?
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  • Post #31 - September 10th, 2007, 9:49 pm
    Post #31 - September 10th, 2007, 9:49 pm Post #31 - September 10th, 2007, 9:49 pm
    Bill wrote:
    At burrito Amigo, if you ask they'll take the pineapple off the top, slice off a chunk, sprinkle some chile on top, dice it up and throw it on the grill with some ap cut off the cone so the whole thing gets carmelized up together.
    Frying the meat on the griddle ruins the taste, IMO - just like frying gyros meat does. The meat is meant to be cooked on the spit, sliced and served on a taco.[/quot

    Hypebole aside, I actually agree with this, and think the analogy to gyros is apt. But the mixed in pineapple prep was still tasty. The tacos are at their best when cut from the cone with a few pieces of pineapple mixed in , which they also do.
    Lacking fins or tail
    The Gefilte fish
    swims with great difficulty.

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  • Post #32 - September 10th, 2007, 10:34 pm
    Post #32 - September 10th, 2007, 10:34 pm Post #32 - September 10th, 2007, 10:34 pm
    I am definitely in the camp that prefers their tacos al pastor off the spit (with the juices running fresh; plus, I think griddling toughens the meat and drains it of goodness).

    But before we conclude that there is a long-standing tradition behind the specific preparation and construction of these tacos, and before we decide what's original and what's an "imitation," it would be well to confirm where these tacos came from, how they're usually made, etc. There is one Mexican chain, El Tizoncito (founded in 1966), that claims they introduced the taco al pastor.

    http://www.eltizoncito.com.mx/

    Here is a pic of the tacos al pastor from El Tizoncito:

    Image

    I'm not asserting that their claims are valid (though they may be), but it's clear the guys at this Mexican restaurant believe in dressing up their TaP a little.
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  • Post #33 - September 11th, 2007, 8:41 pm
    Post #33 - September 11th, 2007, 8:41 pm Post #33 - September 11th, 2007, 8:41 pm
    Crispy Critter wrote:My favorite taquerias so far, for al pastor or other varieties, have been . . . Tacos Erendira on Halsted just south of 32nd St.

    I'm afraid I can't agree about the tacos al pastor at Erendira.

    Taco al Pastor
    Image

    The meat nuggets that filled my taco were soggy and not very flavorful. No spit is visible in the open kitchen and inspection of the meat leaves little doubt it was cooked on a griddle. The bland chorizo wasn't much better but I did enjoy the guisado de puerco (tacos are $1.85). I found both salsas to be excellent, the red having a complex heat and the green enlivened with oregano.

    Tacos Erendira
    Image

    Erendira is Bridgeport's oldest taqueria, in business 40 years. It was on 35th just east of Halsted until it recently moved to new quarters.

    Tacos Erendira
    3207 S Halsted St
    Chicago
    312-567-0968

    Santander wrote:David, I'd send you to Taqueria San Jose (not far from Ed's and Healthy Food Lithuanian in Bridgeport), but it's a Schroedinger's Cat deal since the kitchen is enclosed in the back and you can't be sure it's coming off a rotisserie.

    San Jose's kitchen has large windows so you can see pretty much the whole room. If they have a spit, it's very well hidden. Still, I enjoyed my taco al pastor ($1.40) much more than at Erendira up the street.

    Taco al Pastor, Taco de Cecina
    Image

    Detail of Taco al Pastor
    Image
    Looking at the meat, I'd be very surprised if it wasn't cooked on a griddle. It wasn't a bad taco, but not a classic al pastor. Even better, though, was the cecina with a smear of beans, quite a deal at $1.50.

    Taqueria San Jose

    Image

    Taqueria San Jose
    3263 S Halsted St
    Chicago
    312-225-7386

    Binko wrote:It's hard to tell from the youtube video, but if you look closely, he is cutting a slice of pineapple and flinging it into the taco. This is pretty standard for al pastor, but not all the places around here do it that way.

    Yes, exactly. It's clearest on the second of the three tacos he makes. If you want to see some similar showmanship in Chicago, go to La Poblanita. In another thread I posted a picture of the cook cutting off pieces of pineapple. I wish I had a video of him flicking off pieces at high speed and catching them behind his head. I haven't seen him the last times I visited; I hope he's still around. It's been a while but I thought La Poblanita was up there with Chicago's best.

    Taqueria La Poblanita
    4171 S Archer Av (near Sacramento)
    Chicago
    773-523-8800

    Speaking of techniques, last month at Carmela's I got to watch as they assembled the trompo, so called because of its resemblance to a child's top (the shape is actually best described as a frustum). I was impressed with the skill and attention to detail that was required. I'm sure it takes well over an hour to build one of those things. Pretty good al pastor at Carmela's.

    Carmela's Taqueria
    1206 W Lawrence Av
    Chicago
    773-275-5321
  • Post #34 - September 11th, 2007, 8:46 pm
    Post #34 - September 11th, 2007, 8:46 pm Post #34 - September 11th, 2007, 8:46 pm
    Rene G wrote:Yes, exactly. It's clearest on the second of the three tacos he makes. If you want to see some similar showmanship in Chicago, go to La Poblanita. In another thread I posted a picture of the cook cutting off pieces of pineapple. I wish I had a video of him flicking off pieces at high speed and catching them behind his head. I haven't seen him the last times I visited; I hope he's still around. It's been a while but I thought La Poblanita was up there with Chicago's best.

    Taqueria La Poblanita
    4171 S Archer Av (near Sacramento)
    Chicago
    773-523-8800


    Rene, bro, "A while," indeed. I was standing in front of the La Poblanita site less than an hour ago, and I'm not sure how to break this to you, so I'll be direct: gone. Closed. No more. Nada mas. I share your heartbreak, as I was ready for spit-based entertainment.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #35 - September 11th, 2007, 8:48 pm
    Post #35 - September 11th, 2007, 8:48 pm Post #35 - September 11th, 2007, 8:48 pm
    Rene G wrote: It's been a while but I thought La Poblanita was up there with Chicago's best.

    Taqueria La Poblanita
    4171 S Archer Av (near Sacramento)
    Chicago
    773-523-8800


    Sadly, the last three or four times I've been there over the last 12 months, the al pastor was griddled. I did see a spit, but there hasn't been meat on it when I've visited there over the last year. I don't know if I'm just terribly unlucky or what, but that was my favorite al pastor. The last time I attempted an al pastor there was probably 6 months ago. I should revisit and check, it would be wonderful if the old spit was back in service.
  • Post #36 - September 11th, 2007, 8:49 pm
    Post #36 - September 11th, 2007, 8:49 pm Post #36 - September 11th, 2007, 8:49 pm
    David Hammond wrote:Rene, bro, "A while," indeed. I was standing in front of the La Poblanita site less than an hour ago, and I'm not sure how to break this to you, so I'll be direct: gone. Closed. No more. Nada mas. I share your heartbreak, as I was ready for spit-based entertainment.


    Well, maybe if they didn't stop serving tacos right off the spit they might still be there. That said, their arabes were very nice as well.
  • Post #37 - September 11th, 2007, 9:04 pm
    Post #37 - September 11th, 2007, 9:04 pm Post #37 - September 11th, 2007, 9:04 pm
    Binko wrote:
    David Hammond wrote:Rene, bro, "A while," indeed. I was standing in front of the La Poblanita site less than an hour ago, and I'm not sure how to break this to you, so I'll be direct: gone. Closed. No more. Nada mas. I share your heartbreak, as I was ready for spit-based entertainment.

    Well, maybe if they didn't stop serving tacos right off the spit they might still be there. That said, their arabes were very nice as well.

    That's a shame. I almost stopped by today but I'd already had some lousy tacos on 47th Street, then some better ones down the street at Don Cuco, and then some mother-in-laws (for research purposes only). Have you been to Don Cuco (1847 W 47th)? Sliced from the frustum but then griddled. Still, not too bad.

    I was a little worried about La Poblanita. The menu was fairly ambitious when they opened but they kept dumbing it down and items were often unavailable more recently.
  • Post #38 - September 11th, 2007, 9:15 pm
    Post #38 - September 11th, 2007, 9:15 pm Post #38 - September 11th, 2007, 9:15 pm
    Yeah, it really is a pity. I've never been to Don Cuco. I'll have to check it out. By the way, and this is exactly in the same neighborhood, have you ever been to that place on the north side of 47th, I want to say at about Paulina, or maybe a little closer to Damen that advertises Tacos de cabeza? It intrigued me because it was the first place I've seen outside of Maxwell Street market that advertises tacos de ojo. I'm just wondering how the other stuff (like the cheek meat tacos) are there.
  • Post #39 - September 11th, 2007, 9:19 pm
    Post #39 - September 11th, 2007, 9:19 pm Post #39 - September 11th, 2007, 9:19 pm
    Thanks for trying San Jose, Rene. As I mentioned above, with such a tasty end product I tend to forgive the preparation method (and pretend I don't know what's happening behind the magic curtain). It's run by a nice family and prices are excellent.
  • Post #40 - September 11th, 2007, 9:24 pm
    Post #40 - September 11th, 2007, 9:24 pm Post #40 - September 11th, 2007, 9:24 pm
    Rene G wrote:
    Binko wrote:
    David Hammond wrote:Rene, bro, "A while," indeed. I was standing in front of the La Poblanita site less than an hour ago, and I'm not sure how to break this to you, so I'll be direct: gone. Closed. No more. Nada mas. I share your heartbreak, as I was ready for spit-based entertainment.

    Well, maybe if they didn't stop serving tacos right off the spit they might still be there. That said, their arabes were very nice as well.

    That's a shame. I almost stopped by today but I'd already had some lousy tacos on 47th Street, then some better ones down the street at Don Cuco, and then some mother-in-laws (for research purposes only). Have you been to Don Cuco (1847 W 47th)? Sliced from the frustum but then griddled. Still, not too bad.

    I was a little worried about La Poblanita. The menu was fairly ambitious when they opened but they kept dumbing it down and items were often unavailable more recently.


    All that remains...

    Image

    Here's the sign for the new place:

    Image
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #41 - September 11th, 2007, 9:39 pm
    Post #41 - September 11th, 2007, 9:39 pm Post #41 - September 11th, 2007, 9:39 pm
    Yeah, it really is a pity. I've never been to Don Cuco. I'll have to check it out. By the way, and this is exactly in the same neighborhood, have you ever been to that place on the north side of 47th, I want to say at about Paulina, or maybe a little closer to Damen that advertises Tacos de cabeza? It intrigued me because it was the first place I've seen outside of Maxwell Street market that advertises tacos de ojo. I'm just wondering how the other stuff (like the cheek meat tacos) are there.


    The answer is here...

    The place you're referring to is probably Elvia's, which is also known as Birrieria Arandas, at 1738 W. 47th (which would indeed be Paulina or close to), meaning it's probably the #1 or #2 in the mini-chain which is now taking over the Poblanita space. We liked it pretty well on the 47th-a-Thon, as you'll see at the link above.

    Don Cuco's looks like it should be great, smells like it should be great, but came out a mixed bag that day. Some things were good, the barbacoa was noticeably flavorless.
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  • Post #42 - September 11th, 2007, 9:49 pm
    Post #42 - September 11th, 2007, 9:49 pm Post #42 - September 11th, 2007, 9:49 pm
    After this evening's abortive effort to score TaP and a spit-show at the defunct La Poblanita, I blew over to Buritto Amigo, and was surprised to see that, even with the spit going and the frustum* browning, they cut off the meat and griddled it! I talked to Miquel, the owner, and he told me the extra grill-time was needed to cook the meat all the way through and sure enough, when I looked at the spit, the meat inside was pink and apparently uncooked, standing motionless before a barely flickering heating element. So is the spit just a prop? I doubt it, given kuhdo’s report, but hitting this place at just the right time is apparently a bigger challenge than I had imagined. The tacos were good, though a little easy on the spicy red marinade, and the grilled onions were odd – at least to my tongue -- though likeable. I believe I also detected tiny little squirts of refried beans in the tacos. I had several.

    I saw the juice machine, and had myself two large cups of fresh OJ (on the left) for $3 each, which is a heck of a deal. They have you pour the stuff yourself, so I took a pass on the ice and filled each large cup with fresh squeezed stuff. Nice.

    Image

    *Thanks ReneG, for the geometry lesson!
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #43 - September 11th, 2007, 11:07 pm
    Post #43 - September 11th, 2007, 11:07 pm Post #43 - September 11th, 2007, 11:07 pm
    David Hammond wrote:*Thanks ReneG, for the geometry lesson!

    I was interested to see it referred to as a "bola" on the El Tizoncito site (in addition to Trompa) since it doesn't seem very ball-like to me. I guess I'm a literalist.

    Speaking of literalism, although I was able to work out most of the text myself, I did get a surprise when I put a block through a web translator:

    We included the fragmentation hand grenade in our tacos, writing down to us a success, since the flavor of I mark is made bittersweet exotically and Mexican.


    :shock:
    Joe G.

    "Whatever may be wrong with the world, at least it has some good things to eat." -- Cowboy Jack Clement
  • Post #44 - September 12th, 2007, 2:38 am
    Post #44 - September 12th, 2007, 2:38 am Post #44 - September 12th, 2007, 2:38 am
    germuska wrote:
    Speaking of literalism, although I was able to work out most of the text myself, I did get a surprise when I put a block through a web translator:

    We included the fragmentation hand grenade in our tacos, writing down to us a success, since the flavor of I mark is made bittersweet exotically and Mexican.


    :shock:


    :lol: I suppose the "fragmentation hand grenade" is what GIs once referred to as a "pineapple"?
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #45 - September 12th, 2007, 2:55 am
    Post #45 - September 12th, 2007, 2:55 am Post #45 - September 12th, 2007, 2:55 am
    Mike G wrote:
    The answer is here...


    Awesome. I really should read that thread considering I live two blocks off 47th and spent the first years of my life on 47th and Damen. It's really interesting to see how different that stretch of 47th between Ashland and Damen is now. Used to be all Polish immigrants when I was a kid. And Goldblatt's was not just an empty skeleton of a building...
  • Post #46 - September 12th, 2007, 10:05 am
    Post #46 - September 12th, 2007, 10:05 am Post #46 - September 12th, 2007, 10:05 am
    What is becoming very clear to me is that the taco al pastor is an extremely ephemeral eat, and finding a good one requires patience, timing, and the right combination of kitchen equipment and staff. If you just walk into a taqueria, see the spit turning beautifully browned and well-seasoned meat, and then enjoy a taco cut right off the spinning frustum, dressed the way you like it, you are a fortunate person indeed.

    One element I don't believe I've seen with any taco al pastor and that could raise any one (even the griddled variety) way above the norm: homemade tortillas.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #47 - September 12th, 2007, 10:11 am
    Post #47 - September 12th, 2007, 10:11 am Post #47 - September 12th, 2007, 10:11 am
    I talked to Miquel, the owner, and he told me the extra grill-time was needed to cook the meat all the way through and sure enough, when I looked at the spit, the meat inside was pink and apparently uncooked, standing motionless before a barely flickering heating element.

    The challenge for places serving, and wanting to serve, tacos al pastor is volume - lack of volume (of sales).

    Tacos al pastor aren't going to be the first choice in most places and if a restaurant takes the time to construct the meat on the spit and keeps the meat cooking - a lot of it, probably most, will have to eventually be tossed into the trash. It's the same challenge faced by restaurants offering gyros, and which have little volume. You'll see some restaurants preparing small balls of pastor meat instead of larger ones (as you'll see smaller amounts of gyros meat in low-volume places now, also).

    Some people may like the pastor meat from the griddle and if they're happy with the offering, so be it. I've already mentioned that I won't patronize those places; I look around before I order, or I ask the help, and if it's going to be put on the griddle I say "thank you" and walk out the door (as I do with the gyros places). If you’re not alone for the visit to one of these taco places – you’re with 3 or 4 others who’ll order the tacos al pastor (or you’re planning to “pig out” on your own) – I’ve found that when you give the order to the counter staff (or wait staff) and ask them to cook the meat on the spit (instead of tossing it onto the griddle) that they’ll do that.
  • Post #48 - September 12th, 2007, 10:18 am
    Post #48 - September 12th, 2007, 10:18 am Post #48 - September 12th, 2007, 10:18 am
    Bill wrote:I’ve found that when you give the order to the counter staff (or wait staff) and ask them to cook the meat on the spit (instead of tossing it onto the griddle) that they’ll do that.


    Yes, at Huentitan a few weeks ago, I did just that. I think some places may assume you're in a rush and that you want your food right then and there, as quickly as possible, and grilling does accelerate the cooking process. If you let them know you're willing to wait, many countermen seem willing to cook the meat "your way."

    Hammond
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #49 - September 12th, 2007, 10:18 am
    Post #49 - September 12th, 2007, 10:18 am Post #49 - September 12th, 2007, 10:18 am
    Binko wrote:By the way, and this is exactly in the same neighborhood, have you ever been to that place on the north side of 47th, I want to say at about Paulina, or maybe a little closer to Damen that advertises Tacos de cabeza? It intrigued me because it was the first place I've seen outside of Maxwell Street market that advertises tacos de ojo. I'm just wondering how the other stuff (like the cheek meat tacos) are there.


    Hey Binko, that place on 47th has just changed hands, I think it's now Birrieria something-or-other with signs up saying "open during remodeling". Not clear how much of the old menu will be retained.

    I was on 47th Street on Monday -- I went to La Cecina to give them a copy of Gourmet, since they are mentioned in the Chicago Mexicano article. :)

    Not just La Cecina -- many of the places mentioned in the Gourmet article first received extensive discussion here on LTH.

    La Casa de Samuel
    http://lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=2429

    Xni-Pec
    http://lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=11753

    Sol de Mexico
    http://lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=9213
  • Post #50 - September 14th, 2007, 8:08 pm
    Post #50 - September 14th, 2007, 8:08 pm Post #50 - September 14th, 2007, 8:08 pm
    Data Point: 9/14/07 7:45 P.M.

    Spit in full operation. The kitchen staff working at warp speed filling a boatload of phoned in to go orders while the line to place your order in person stretched to just inside the outer door. The line moved fairly quickly though. My order of two al pastor and one carne asada tacos was served with griddled onions (as well as raw on the carne asada) cilantro and a grilled jalapeño. Limes and radishes were available self-service from containers on the counter when you picked up your order.

    The al pastor was very good. I'd rank it in the top tier in Chicago for sure. My only quibble was that they were so busy that the al pastor didn't have as many crispy bits as I would have liked. They were carving the al pastor cone as fast as they could. At one point, they put the spit into some kind of afterburner mode and had a huge flame practically enveloping the entire cone. That was something to see. Unfortunately, I had no camera on hand tonight. Just like at Taqueria Leon, timing is everything. If they hadn't been so slammed, I'm sure the al pastor would have been even better. For those keeping score at home, there was no pineapple, fresh or canned, in evidence.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #51 - September 14th, 2007, 9:54 pm
    Post #51 - September 14th, 2007, 9:54 pm Post #51 - September 14th, 2007, 9:54 pm
    stevez wrote:Just like at Taqueria Leon, timing is everything.


    Timing is critical with this dish, and that can be a huge challenge (though I guess Friday or Saturday night would be a good guess).

    Thinking seriously of getting a Flip Ultra so I can capture and post videos of TaP in full glory, as it seems too rare a sight.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #52 - September 15th, 2007, 1:41 am
    Post #52 - September 15th, 2007, 1:41 am Post #52 - September 15th, 2007, 1:41 am
    stevez wrote:Data Point: 9/14/07 7:45 P.M.

    Spit in full operation. The kitchen staff working at warp speed filling a boatload of phoned in to go orders while the line to place your order in person stretched to just inside the outer door. The line moved fairly quickly though. My order of two al pastor and one carne asada tacos was served with griddled onions (as well as raw on the carne asada) cilantro and a grilled jalapeño. Limes and radishes were available self-service from containers on the counter when you picked up your order.

    The al pastor was very good. I'd rank it in the top tier in Chicago for sure. My only quibble was that they were so busy that the al pastor didn't have as many crispy bits as I would have liked. They were carving the al pastor cone as fast as they could. At one point, they put the spit into some kind of afterburner mode and had a huge flame practically enveloping the entire cone. That was something to see. Unfortunately, I had no camera on hand tonight. Just like at Taqueria Leon, timing is everything. If they hadn't been so slammed, I'm sure the al pastor would have been even better. For those keeping score at home, there was no pineapple, fresh or canned, in evidence.


    Stevez:
    I'm glad you posted this. I was starting to wonder if I was crazy. Your experience mirrors several I've had at this spot. Too bad about the pineapple. I'll be watching for the afterburner next time!

    Had to google 'flip ultra' to find out what it was. Nice. Might come in handy for bigfoot hunting too :)
    Lacking fins or tail
    The Gefilte fish
    swims with great difficulty.

    Jewish haiku.
  • Post #53 - September 15th, 2007, 5:31 am
    Post #53 - September 15th, 2007, 5:31 am Post #53 - September 15th, 2007, 5:31 am
    kuhdo wrote:I'll be watching for the afterburner next time!


    You can't miss it. It sounds like a loud turkey fryer burner when afterburner mode is engaged.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #54 - September 15th, 2007, 6:30 pm
    Post #54 - September 15th, 2007, 6:30 pm Post #54 - September 15th, 2007, 6:30 pm
    Found this video which provides an informative step-by-step of al pastor preparation:

    http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~retrsk4/Maric ... tacos.html

    Most interesting: the producers of this video (Maricopa County, Arizona Environmental Health Division) recommend putting the meat on the griddle to get it up to safe temp before serving.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #55 - September 17th, 2007, 10:03 pm
    Post #55 - September 17th, 2007, 10:03 pm Post #55 - September 17th, 2007, 10:03 pm
    mmmm carniciera leon... and mexican pepsi :drools:
  • Post #56 - September 18th, 2007, 5:53 pm
    Post #56 - September 18th, 2007, 5:53 pm Post #56 - September 18th, 2007, 5:53 pm
    Stopped by Taqueria El (sic) Pastor last Saturday.

    Image

    Sign promises they cut meat from frustum direct to taco, but it ain’t that easy; I saw a griddle full of meat, and had to ask for it off the spit, which I got, and it was good, better than many I’ve had, though lacking in serious seasoning.

    Also stopped by Mario’s – where they claim they're “specializing in Tacos al Pastor,” but the meat on the rack was cold and motionless, not even a little browned up, clearly waiting for an order to come in so it could be griddled up and served, and so, of course, I left.

    Taqueria El Pastor
    4418 W. 63rd
    773.284.1003

    Mario's Taco's
    4540 W 63rd St
    773.582.8226
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #57 - September 19th, 2007, 2:30 pm
    Post #57 - September 19th, 2007, 2:30 pm Post #57 - September 19th, 2007, 2:30 pm
    David Hammond wrote:Also stopped by Mario’s – where they claim they're “specializing in Tacos al Pastor,” but the meat on the rack was cold and motionless, not even a little browned up, clearly waiting for an order to come in so it could be griddled up and served, and so, of course, I left.


    You didn't miss much. I went there today, although at an off-hour (2 p.m.) There was meat on the spit, and it was browned, but not terribly so. It was finished off on the griddle, along with the pineapple. The browned parts actually didn't taste all that bad, but the rest of the meat was very uninspired and, in my opinion, underseasoned. Dousing it in the red salsa helped a bit, but that's only a stop-gap effort to make the meal somewhat pleasant. For a place advertising al pastor as especialdad de la casa, this was disappointing. Perhaps coming on a busy weekend night may help, but I rather doubt it.

    Mario's Taco's


    Actually, "Tacos Mario's" for those keeping score.
  • Post #58 - February 7th, 2008, 5:59 pm
    Post #58 - February 7th, 2008, 5:59 pm Post #58 - February 7th, 2008, 5:59 pm
    Bill wrote:

    If I witnessed such preparation I'd walk out the door of the place and never return


    How about if you witnessed this preparation:

    You place an order to go at 4:05, noticing that the spit is turned off, and not even plugged in - the three-pronged plug is lying derelict and probably even slowly melting on one cool corner of the griddle surface.

    At 4:15, with many grumbling customers waiting for orders placed even before yours, something resembling your order comes up, but with the wrong toppings, reversed (2 asada and 1 pastor instead of vice versa), and another customer sticks his face into the baskets to see if they're his instead. The cashier shoos him off, and at that exact moment, a cook on a stepladder, refilling the horchata machine, drips horchata from a pitcher (being scooped from a vat) onto your tacos and pretends not to notice.

    You send the cashier an annoyed look and reiterate para llevar, to go, getting at least a sympathetic nod. Your tacos are taken away, and even though you think they're being thrown out because of the sniff-and-drip, you realize at 4:28 that they were actually repackaged into another customer's to-go order, because he storms back into the restaurant and asks what a la chingada is in his bag - he ordered a torta.

    At this point the grill is empty, all the asada having been apportioned into to-go phone orders. Six high school kids groan about their burritos taking too long. After the irate customer is handed his torta, the bag containing your erstwhile tacos is tossed, and the cashier looks at you and sadly shakes his head. Realizing that at this point it will be another 10 minutes before the asada component of your order is ready, you ask for your money back. You are returned your $10 without protest, but then the cashier says "wait, at least I can give you a taste of the pastor," runs to the griddle area, and scoops lukewarm pastor directly out of the steel holding container onto an Atotonilco tortilla right out of the bag. This is wrapped in tinfoil and graciously pressed into your hands.

    Next:

    If you think you are then eaten by a grue, turn to page 45.

    If you glumly drive yourself 20 minutes back home over potholes and ice and end up at a McDonald's, turn to page 63.

    If you throw out the cold pastor taco without trying it, turn to page 88.

    If you kind of nudge at the pork nuggets, try one, and find it to be very poor, turn to page 111.

    Never return.


    You have been eaten by a grue.
  • Post #59 - February 8th, 2008, 10:10 am
    Post #59 - February 8th, 2008, 10:10 am Post #59 - February 8th, 2008, 10:10 am
    :D
    Santander - thanks for that flashback to my childhood... I wonder why they ever got rid of "Choose-Your-Own-Adventure" books - a whole generation missed out on the fun. Was it because of the cheating (placeholding and flipping back if you were eaten by a grue).

    As an aside- I found the best "Choose-Your-Own-Adventure" type books as a kid in the Edmonton library which allowed you to play games too w/ a dice or coin during your "adventure."
  • Post #60 - February 8th, 2008, 11:56 am
    Post #60 - February 8th, 2008, 11:56 am Post #60 - February 8th, 2008, 11:56 am
    Bill wrote:I've yet to find a place in Chicago that serves tacos al pastor as the same is served in Mexico. The photo above with all of that "stuff" on it is enough to turn me off of the place being recommended. Eat it if you like, but don't be convinced that the product is being served as tacos al pastor is served in Mexico. Enjoy!


    I have to agree. My wife of 21+ years is Mexican and we go all the time to visit family. Tacos al pastor are the default taco just about everywhere (except Veracruz) and I have had fabulous ones from Tamaulipas to Xalapa to Guerrero and the D.F. I've always said that if anyone in Chicago could come up with a formula for Mexican style al pastor they'd clean up. There are a lot that I have had that are decent (El Asadero the latest) but nothing really comes close. It may have something to do with the quality of the pork; beef in Mexico is grass fed and quite different from US beef in taste, maybe there's a difference in the way they feed pigs. One of my favorite things in the world is my mother in law's pork tenderloin milanesa. And if you've ever had chicharones fresh from the vat of boiling lard, wow. Mexico is a culinary marvel, you can eat your way from one end of the country to another.
    trpt2345

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