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real tacos al pastor in Italian Market area?

There was an Inquirer article a few months ago (by Rick Nichols?) that mentioned a place at 9th and Ellsworth, Los Taquitos de Puebla, that had real tacos al pastor, cooked on an upright spit (gyro-style) with pineapple. I've gone by there several times but the place is always closed. Does anyone know if it is ever open, or if there's anyplace else in town that does tacos al pastor the right way---as opposed to just cooking the marinated pork on a grill?

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  1. I think Taqueria Veracruzana on Washington and 11th or so makes some great tacos al pastor.

    1. I've enjoyed the food at Veracruzana too, but their tacos al pastor were not made on a trompo (vertical spit). Without browning on a spit, they're just not the same.

      See this website for photos of tacos al pastor cooking on a trompo in the Chicago area:

      Still trying to find some cooked this way in/near Phila.

      1 Reply
      1. re: pschneider

        I cried and then ate my computer screen after looking at these pics Peter. THANKS!!!!!!!

      2. To reply to my own query,
        Los Taquitos de Puebla is open! Craig LaBan wrote it up in his offal article last Thursday, for their tacos de cabeza and tacos de ojo. I wasn't up for trying those, but I had their tacos al pastor and they're by far the best I've had in Philadelphia. They do have a trompo. It wasn't on this afternoon when I went, but the tacos tasted like they had been cooked that way--dry-ish (rather than the saucy meat you get elsewhere) fatty, flavorful slivers of pork, with cilantro and onion, on doubled little tortillas. Two delicious salsas, a red one made with dried chile and an especially delicious green one of tomatillo and avocado. They brought out a "salad" plate as soon as we sat down, with fiery onions marinated with habanero chile, nopales with onion, a little pico de gallo, cucumber and radish slices, and lime for the tacos. Delicious. No chips, so you know it's authentic (maybe they have them if you ask). The owner (?) said they're open from 11 am to midnight every day. He told me they have barbacoa de borrego (ram) on Sundays. So guess where I'm going this Sunday? It's on 9th just below Ellsworth (about a block below Washington).

        Also at that corner is a new-ish Mexican butcher shop. I got a gallina, which the very friendly owner cut up for me, and chicken feet for soup. He also had very good looking beef and pork, as well as rabbit, tripe, and other stuff. The owner told me he sells borrego, so I just might try making my own barbacoa sometime. He has good-looking bags of dried avocado leaves just for that. Also a small selection of vegetables and groceries.

        It's so great to see those blocks of the "Italian" market below Washington filling up again with new businesses. There's another little restaurant across the street that advertises barbacoa de borrego on Sundays too. Groceries, a barber shop, music stores. All Mexican. I guess the Geno guy would prefer the street the way it used to be, virtually abandoned, rather than hear the sound of Spanish. What a jerk.

        2 Replies
        1. re: pschneider

          Thanks for the pointer, pschneider. Just had the tacos al pastor ($5 for three) and wow are they good, just as you described. Bits of pineapple in with the shaved meat. Stole one of my brother's chorizo tacos - very greasy and tasty. Not for the faint-hearted tidy eater. I think that red sauce has chipotle in it. The menu is pretty funny; a lot of the descriptions start in English and finish in Spanish. So much stuff to go back and try - lengua, tripa, cheek. Also spied a huge burger-esque sandwich of some kind going by on a tray. Our waiter was very friendly, and asked how we had found the place, "because all the Americans who come here have found us through the newspaper article."

          1. re: Dib

            P.S. That red sauce is not always the same. The first time I went it definitely had chipotle, but I went again yesterday and it did not. Got the tasty frijoles charros, with chicharrones (my first time!) and chorizo.

        2. did the butcher have carnitas or chicharrones?

          3 Replies
          1. re: joypirate

            Sorry, I didn't notice whether there were chicharrones. As for carnitas, I think of that as a cooked dish. I guess I'm not sure what it would lik like in a butcher shop.

            1. re: pschneider

              I've seen them sometimes sold deli-style in a steam table with mixed results.

              1. re: joypirate

                I didn't notice any prepared food in the shop. I guess that would go for chicharrones too, but perhaps they sell pieces of rind uncooked. I'll take a better look next time.

          2. Visited Los Taquitos de Puebla yesterday for lunch with my latina wife and 2 year old. The al pastor tacos were excellent, and liked the salad. Really helps to speak spanish when visiting this spot.

            We were however disappointed by the Queso fundido con chorizo. The best we have found is at Plaza Garibaldi. Chock full of chorizo, greasy, delicious. We also love the sopes al pastor there as well, though they are not prepared like Taquitos.

            It is just amazing and great to see that whole southern section of the market coming to life. I used to live about 2 blocks from there, and it was always so scary and depressing.

            Viva mexicanos! Hope that Pat's and Geno's both become taquerias in the near future!

            1. We may need to organize a dinner. The Taqueria menu has mostly tacos and sandwiches and such. But the back of the menu has catering selections including items not in the restaurant: Puntas de filete de res en adobo, Pollo en Mole Poblano, Albondigas en Chipotle, Sopa de fideo con menudencias de pollo, etc... I was told they can serve them in the resturant with advance notice.

              So I had to settle for ordinary stuff like tacos cabeza, tripa, lengua, suadero, cachete and pastor. Just the usual cow's head, intestines, tongue, chest meat (the best!)... I'm saving the eyes for next time.

              And the three types of salsa and the plate of fixins they included in my take out bag are a real plus.

              Very good, but La Lupe on the next block still has the best taco lengua I've ever had!

              On another note, the market next door has "gorditas" - basically thick tortillas, somewhat similar to the homemade tortillas at LaLupe. I don't believe I've ever seen them commercially available before. One more thing to add to my freezer!

              1. how are the non-meat options? (are there any?)

                if so i'd be much interested in meeting up for dinner!

                1. Well, they do have water and tea!

                  Most of the menu consists of various contents of a cow's head. Don't think that's what you had in mind! About the only veggie option I see on the menu is Queso con Championes. (served with mushroom, Chihuahua cheese melted and 3 flour tortilla) Chasdet was not crazy about the Queso fundido con chorizo here. Not sure if his comment would apply to the mushroom variety as well. They also have Chiles Suizos. (servido con pimiento morron y queso Chihuahua. Switzerland chiles. Served with green peppers cooked on the grill and Chihuahua cheese melted.)

                  The catering menu has chiles rellenos. Not a single fish option here, and the only chicken I see is the mole on the catering menu, although I might be missing something since the catering menu is not in English.

                  It would be fun for some of us to meet up, but this taqueria is definitly heavy on the meat.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: photorc

                    as a vegetarian who constantly dines with meat eaters, i've learned to make do! the options you list above are more than enough for me to be satisfied. thanks for the info!

                    anyway, definitely interested if a group wants to get together. my email is rabidog@gmail.com

                  2. rabidog is organizing a meet for tacos al pastor. The Chowhound Team has split that discussion off to its own thread here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/347943

                    If you're interested, please email rabidog directly. Enjoy, everyone!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: The Chowhound Team

                      hi all, sorry, the other thread referenced above is closed otherwise i'd post there!

                      if anyone's interested in the group dinner at los taquitos de puebla, dinner is on the 11th of january, cost of the meal is $30, and pre-payment is $10 by jan 1 in order to reserve a seat. email me, brynn, at rabidog@gmail.com for time and other specifics if you are interested. all are welcome! we had a ball last time a group got together at erawan back in may.