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Al Pastor tacos in Oakland

Where are the best these days?

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  1. The best I have had (minus the Pinapple on top you would find in Mexico) is El Farolito on E 14th near Fruitvale. Yum!

    1. I don't get to hang out in Fruitvale as often as I'd like, so El Farolito's could well be the best, but I do hang out in downtown (work there) and my favorite Mexican lunch in downtown Oakland are the tacos al pastor at Lupillo's on 17th between Harrison and Webster. Pretty tasty, even if they aren't carved off of a spit....

      1. I had very good al pastor tacos at Otaez a few weeks ago.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Hungry Hippo

          My favorites are two taco trucks: El Ojo de Agua on Fruitvale at E. 12th and El Gordo on International at 42nd (evenings and weekends only).

          I've seen pineapple on top of the spit at Otaez.

        2. My favorite is Taqueria San Jose, big and juicy for $1.75. Otaez is hit or miss.. one time they added this sauce to it that wasn't too great, plus it's a very small portion for $1.25. My coworker swears by the taco truck near High St and the 880 overpass (behind the gas station).

          1. Thanks all. I moved out of Oakland 5+ years ago, and I've been stuck looping through my old favorites. Otaez has been one of them for many years, but not for the al pastor. I can still remember the incessant sound of patting from the tortillas being made in the kitchen of Otaez the first time I wandered in. It's a fond memory; thanks for igniting it.

            As far as the pineapple goes, I'm not too concerned about the Mexican authenticity, just in the deliciousness. The al pastor that changed my life came from that first great taco truck (Zamorano) that was parked in the lot at High Street and E 14th. I'm sure it was neither spit roasted nor pineappled.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Bleacher Dave

              Thank you! I love al Pastor, and I am certain that even when not 100% authentic it can still be great. There are such possibilities for variety and subtle differences. I'd love to know authentic as a benchmark, but it won't bother me if soemthing isn't, as long as it's good.

            2. I'm speaking up for our local truck. I think it's called Mi Rancho. It's on 1st Ave just past the signal at International, on the right side of the street (coming from downtown) in a triangular space with a tiny parking area in front.

              Al pastor tacos are really good here and the folks who work there are very nice (as they are in almost every truck I've visited - go figure. How come these guys are always so charming after having to stand up and cook in a cramped space without air conditioning all day?)

              1. Maybe because it's better than picking strawberries?

                The aforementioned El Gordo truck has a plexiglass front and you can see the whole interior (I think of it as the taco truck equivalent of an open kitchen -- how trendy!) and I've seen as many as five people working in there!

                [aside to Bleacher Dave: are you the Bleacher Dave who calls in on the A's radio shows? Do you believe that according to a sign they had in the A's visiting clubhouse at FanFest, the visiting clubhouse manager couldn't find menudo closer than Martinez? There must be 20 places in a two-mile radius from the Coliseum that have menudo! With all those Latin-America players coming through, dude needs to learn more about eateries in Fruitvale!]

                14 Replies
                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  I'd laugh out loud, but it's not so funny, is it?

                  I also love El Ojo de Agua (except for their Cubanos....blandissimo. Actually, that's pretty much what Cubanos are, aren't they? There was a great article in the NYT last week about jazzed-up Cubanos, but that was a recipe...will post on Home Cooking board.

                  1. re: oakjoan

                    Doofus me! I meant to write Milanese, but, since I was thinking about posting the Cubano recipe on Home Cooking, my senile brain mixed them up. Milaneses are blandissimo.

                  2. re: Ruth Lafler

                    Wave 'em High, Ruth. Wave 'em High. Martinez?? Unbelievable!

                    1. re: Ruth Lafler


                      I have a dumb question.... what is Fruitvale? I tried to Google Map it... nothing. So I mapped Oakland & I see Fruitvale avenue.... but what area is definied as Fruitvale (both sides of 880? etc.,)


                      1. re: Eat_Nopal

                        "Fruitvale" can refer to the street Fruitvale Ave, but it's also a neighborhood, and the avenue itself goes beyond the reach of the neighborhood, as you move away from 880 towards the hills. The bulk of the Fruitvale commercial district is centered on East 14th St (International Blvd), south of the intersection with Fruitvale Ave.

                        1. re: shortexact

                          Thanks for the info, I see it on the map.... if I am coming north on the 880 do I exit Fruitvale or something else?

                          1. re: Eat_Nopal

                            I don't have a car, so I just get off at Fruitvale BART. It's been awhile since I've been on that section of freeway, but if I remember correctly, it's best to either take the 29th Avenue exit or the High Street exit.

                            A lot of the action on East 14th is clustered between Fruitvale Ave and High St, so exiting 880 at High Street should be just fine, especially if you're coming from the south. Just make to sure to head east towards the hills, so that you don't end up in Alameda instead.

                            1. re: shortexact

                              Coming north, 29th Ave, coming south, Fruitvale.

                              Same exit, different signage.

                            2. re: Eat_Nopal

                              yep, it's just that simple :) Head East on Fruitvale until you come to International Blvd. and you're right in the thick of it. Also, the Fruitvale BART station lets you off right there in the midst of many a tasty meal (but you'll have to head South a bit to find the sometimes illusive Senor Churro which is home to the muy delicioso Churro Relleno (cajeta is my favorite).

                              a sante,

                              1. re: Curtis

                                Yeah, the BART station is extremely convenient, especially since they've built the transit village, which connects the station to East 14th quite effectively.

                                Thanks, Robert, for clarifying the piece about 880. It's been several years since I've been on that portion of freeway, so my memory was a bit hazy :-)

                                1. re: Curtis

                                  Nice! I haven't had a Cajeta stuffed Churro... since I last visited Ensenada maybe 3 or 4 years ago!

                                  1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                    Unfortunately the place in Santa Rosa that made filled churros seems to have gone out of business in the last year.

                                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                                      You know what.... Churros are much more profitable than Paletas... next Mobile Paleta vendor I encounter.. I will persuade to switch to Churros!

                                    2. re: Eat_Nopal

                                      La Loma #11 in San Pablo sometimes has Cajeta stuffed Churros, but they are barely ok. However I did snag one of those arroz and rompope filled empanadas which were so good that I ate the whole thing. Usually I share these things with Roberto.

                          2. Thanks Guys... the only time I am ever in the vicinity is when I drive back from the airport or the San Jose area.