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Jan 9, 2008 01:07 PM

Best tacos al pastor in Durham/Triangle area?

Does anyone have a favorite place in Durham or the greater triangle area for tacos al pastor? Personally I like Los Comales on Roxboro Rd, but was wondering if there is something better out there that I am missing. Does anyone know of a place that makes the pastor the old-fashioned way on a spit?

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  1. Funny, I was just thinking the same thing the other day. I haven't come across any that do pastor the old school way, but love the pastor tacos at superior (in the big market on roxboro road).

    1. ive seen al pastor on the menus of the taco trucks i frequent, but i cant remember if ive tried it. i like barbacoa a lot.

      1. none of the places i've been ever do the pineapple either...hmmph!

        3 Replies
        1. re: TSQ75

          I agree. The pineapple is key. I've found that Compare foods off of Roxboro Rd. sells uncooked pastor with pineapple ($2.99/lb) that is pretty tasty. Their chorizo is good (and cheap) as well.

          1. re: sweetmung

            their house chorizo really is good. They had samples out one saturday, and i thought it was amazingly flavorful, with just a little smoky heat

            so their pastor is pretty good? hmmm

          2. re: TSQ75

            There's a little tacaqueria in Cary (name escapes me, something like Rancho Nuevo) on Maynard near Chatam (just up from Sea Depot, near SAS Soccer Park) that had pinapple in the pastor.

          3. My favorite so far has been El Paraiso. Don't think it's the old-fashioned way, but the love is just dripping off these tacos. I was not overly impressed with Los Comales. I guess I'm not a fan of the fixin's bar. There's no love at the fixin's bar.

            7 Replies
              1. re: tacostacoseverywhere

                That's, like, the mad sketchy one, right? On Alston? The place doesn't even have a menu and the tacos are like $2 per, but they were surprisingly good.

                1. re: BryanZ

                  Yep. On Alston close to Durham Freeway. Go before the sun goes down. The little girl there is super friendly and will ease any tension that you may have about the sketchiness. I want to go there right now.

                  1. re: Shag Waits

                    Nothing like instant gratification. I convinced my wife and we took our baby into the heart of sketchiness and got some tacos to go. Guess what? They were just as freaking good after 15 minutes in styrofoam. Lengua = love. Pollo = love. Pastor = love. El Paraiso, I love you.

                  2. re: BryanZ


                    El Paraiso looks sketchy but I've been there many times without any difficulty. They have some of the best Mexican food in the Triangle, perhaps some of the best I've ever had.

                    WRT al pastor, I could take it or leave it. Pineapples and pork remind me of the abomination- hawaiian pizza

                    1. re: Tom from Raleigh

                      To be sure, I've been a couple times. Though the complete lack of menu (no, the poster board with random Mexican foodstuffs written on it seemingly at random doesn't count) and general, umm, look of the place can be a bit unsettling. I'm a La Vaquita man myself, but if I'm down at American Party Rentals then Paraiso makes a good lunch.

                      1. re: BryanZ

                        I dropped by el Paraiso once with friends who had a baby in tow - it was in the afternoon and there was really loud music blasting and we just couldn't stay. I've been meaning to go back and check it out minus baby. I have no fear of Alston Ave., but I just haven't made the trek. This is going to happen very soon, but my Spanish is pretty minimal. You mentioned there's no menu, so my question is: what should I order there? since there's no "loveless" fixins bar, what do I ask for? A friend of mine likes the posole. Do they always have that?

              2. Taqueria La Vaquita (2700 Chapel Hill Rd) in Durham is the best taco stand I've ever found (our Mexican friends agree). They were featured recently in Gourmet magazine and make their own tortillas. Very friendly and sweet pwners/staff. Phone 919-402-0209.

                5 Replies
                1. re: kwin

                  I used to go the taco cow all the time and told all kinds of people about it, but haven't been in a while. I'm inspired to go back. What's your favorite thing there? I didn't know they made their own tortillas - that wasn't the case when I used to go.
                  I'd still like to try el Paraiso - it would be nice to be able to sit down and maybe even have a beer. That's the only problem with the cow.

                  1. re: suse

                    Blaringly loud music is a cultural thing in Mexican establishments ,at least here and in Chicago. I've kind of

                    I've been to El Pariso several times. BryanZ doesn't say that they don't have a menu, merely that he doesn't recognize what they have as such. I've always been able to navigate the menu on the greaseboard (perhaps this is where Poole's Downtown Diner got the idea of not having a printed menu). I've always been struck by the tastiness of the rice and beans served on the side.

                    I've made the trip from Raleigh several times. Before one goes for the first time, I recommend reading Jim Leff's report from his ChowTour a few years ago for a little background.

                    1. re: Tom from Raleigh

                      Thanks for the info. I had seen that a while back actually and always find it amazing when Durham pops up on the national scene. I'll definitely make sure I try the beans and rice along with whatever else I get.

                    2. re: suse

                      Luckily, I live about 2 blocks from La Vaquita, so it's great for take-out... my favorites are, coincidentally, tacos al pastor, and also the mole is delicious. Most of the time we get a group of friends together and our Mexican friends just do the ordering! (Lazy, I know.)

                      1. re: suse

                        I went to La Vaquita last night, and the owner said that the family has recently taken over a sit-down taco place on Hillsborough Road. He says they didn't change the name to La Vaquita, but that the food is just as good. 3409 Hillsborough Road.

                        I should also add that La Vaquita was great for vegetarian stuff -- pretty much everything on the menu is adaptable to vegetarian.

                        Also wanted to add to the chorus of support for La Vaquita. Friendly owners, lots of love in the food, super fresh.