¡Ask a Comida Critic! Great Al Pastor Tacos?

I have other, more pertinent questions in the queue, but since it's Mexican Independence Day, why not? From Facebook:

Simple question: where can I get good al pastor tacos?

Ah, al pastor: that most Mexican of meats--and by "most Mexican," I mean that it was actually Lebanese immigrants in Mexico that adapted their shawerma tradition to their new country, but allowing pork to sub for the lamb (al pastor means "shepherd's style") and beef they loved so much. Al pastor is now as common a meat in taquerias as carne asada, even though it's technically more a central Mexico cut (even more specifically Mexico City/Puebla, where most of the Lebanese immigrants ended up).

You're more likely to find good al pastor tacos than good carne asada tacos, if only because it's pretty hard to fuck up a proper al pastor that twirls around on a trompo. But great one? I'd say just two places.


Taquería Tapatía

chain offers a great rendition, juicy and with a spicy rub, perfect for stuffing into a burrito. But the gentleman who asked wanted tacos, not burritos, so go to

Tacos y Mulitas Rubén

, an ever-expanding fleet of loncheras that counts among its members two true taco trucks, one fish taco truck, and a new Baja-style seafood truck (details to come...). Take a hint from the mural of the laughing jackass (literally, an equine ass) wielding a taco and knife while standing next to a spit of meat: it's the real deal, down to the pineapple on top of the trompo, which means sweet juices dribble and seep into the ever-rotating meat. Even better, they pat out the corn tortillas by the order.

Tacos y Mulitas Rubén, corner of Main and Walnut streets, Santa Ana.

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