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best al pastor tacos on the west side?

elnora May 8, 2011 09:30 PM

i have a friend visiting me next week - we went on a trip to mexico a couple years ago and fell in love with al pastor tacos - the ones that get carved with a bit of the pineapple from the top of the spit, with the requisite onion and cilantro garnish. id love to take her to get some al pastor tacos somewhere in LA - but either west LA or somewhere relatively close to the west side. any ideas?

  1. q
    QualityMart May 16, 2011 12:14 AM

    Check out Casa Linda on Abbot Kinney. They do a real spit with pineapple on top and cut from it fairly regularly throughout the day although not right onto the taco. I've never asked but they might cut from it on request. Either way it's super good and their other tacos and everything else there is superb. Cheap and low-key but a step up atmosphere-wise from a lot of other places. I love eating at trucks myself but an out-of-towner might feel more comfortable at a place like Casa Linda.

    Casa Linda
    1357 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

    3 Replies
    1. re: QualityMart
      bulavinaka May 16, 2011 06:39 PM

      I had their al pastor last week and they filled my tacos with reheated pieces that had been cooked earlier. :( They do have the set-up, and next time I will specifically request that they fire up the rotisserie or I'm not biting...

      1. re: bulavinaka
        QualityMart May 17, 2011 01:05 AM

        I'm not gonna say that fresh cut wouldn't be awesome, but I've always been happy with the quality of the pastor I've gotten there either way. It's a different style than most trucks I've had but not worse, just different. Did you find the quality lacking? I've only ever gone during busy lunch and dinner hours so the greater the volume the higher likelihood that what I got was cut recently. If I manage to get them to cut it fresh I'll report back about that too. (That said, I'd be curious what percentage of the time what you're getting on a truck was just cooked that instant too.)

        1. re: QualityMart
          bulavinaka May 17, 2011 06:19 PM

          If taste is included in the quality issue, then yes. They were generous with the al pastor, but considering how flavorful al pastor can be, this left me flat. IMHO, the half-life of al pastor is a couple of minutes - max. Once the sizzling and crackling off the spit stops, the aroma, which is a big part of its flavor (and flavor in general) starts to peel off. Reheating it only takes something that is past its prime and changes the texture as well. I also was hoping for at least a little pineapple - none. :(

          I can't tell you how many times I've been downwind from Casa Linda in the mornings while they're firing up the grill and rotisserie - the smoke is perfume for carnivores. I just wish they'd do that later in the day when they're actually open...

    2. r
      reneannalee May 14, 2011 09:28 PM

      Cactus tacos on vine in Hollywood. They only serve though after dark. Well worth it.

      1. n
        nosh May 14, 2011 03:51 PM

        I drive from the westside to get my al pastor at Carnitas Michaocan, just north of Chinatown on the N/W corner of No. Broadway at 19th. They do the al pastor on a rotisserie, and their hot sauce is the best I've had in L.A. If you drive between 11 and 2, traffic isn't bad.

        1. f
          fedpool May 11, 2011 04:12 PM

          the La Oaxaqueña truck, which parks on Lincoln just south of Rose after 6pm is a great truck. very good pastor and incredible tlayudas as well.

          1. e
            elnora May 9, 2011 11:31 AM

            these all sound great... thank you! one thing though - she'll be here mon to thurs! i wish she could be here for the spit.

            10 Replies
            1. re: elnora
              lapizzamaven May 10, 2011 08:53 PM

              still love Tacomiendo at Pico/Ocean Park

              4502 Inglewood Blvd, Culver City, CA 90230

              1. re: lapizzamaven
                Servorg May 11, 2011 05:21 AM

                Just so those who come to this later can find it the Tacomiendo that lapizzamaven speaks of is at Gateway Blvd. (which is the Los Angeles name for Ocean Park - which is the Santa Monica name for the same street) just as it joins Pico.

                11462 Gateway Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

                1. re: lapizzamaven
                  Phurstluv May 11, 2011 04:04 PM

                  Tried them for the first time today. Small place. Tortillas were good, al pastor was good, but.....missed my onion & cilantro on top. And though I won't call them the best, the tacos at Tacos Por Favor on Olympic just seem to have more flavor. Even with the hot red salsa, TPF's red sauce blows it away. I could drink that stuff with a straw. Don't know if that's why I love the al pastor so much there or not. Oh, and no pineapple. Maybe I had to ask for it? Anyway, thanks for the tip.

                  Tacos Por Favor
                  1406 Olympic Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90404

                  1. re: Phurstluv
                    AAQjr May 14, 2011 07:12 PM

                    Tacomiendo is great and I do <3 their tortillas, but I wouldn't get the al pastor there. They don't have a spit. Get the cabeza, or carnitas ect.. instead

                    4502 Inglewood Blvd, Culver City, CA 90230

                    1. re: AAQjr
                      lapizzamaven May 14, 2011 08:46 PM

                      My bad....I forgot the OP was lookin for al pastor...yes, do the carnitas at Tacomiendo...luv the tortillas...thick and almost sweet!

                      1. re: lapizzamaven
                        Phurstluv May 15, 2011 12:27 PM

                        NOW you tell me!!! Thanks, I will give the carnitas a try, love those as well. Yes, their tortillas were delicious!

                        1. re: Phurstluv
                          AAQjr May 15, 2011 12:51 PM

                          Make sure you try the frijoles de la olla as well, they are on the side with the salsas. Almost as good as the ones I used to have for an after school snack back in the day. Not a fan of their rice though.

                          1. re: AAQjr
                            Phurstluv May 15, 2011 01:42 PM

                            Did not notice any frijoles at the salsa bar. Just the usual suspects. Will take a look again or ask for them next time I go, thanks!

                            1. re: Phurstluv
                              bulavinaka May 16, 2011 06:38 PM

                              There's a large stainless steel cooker on the counter, next to the salsa bar.

                      2. re: AAQjr
                        vinosnob May 17, 2011 09:28 AM

                        Good call!

                        The carnitas are probably the best taco on the menu.

                2. puppychao May 9, 2011 11:30 AM

                  An older review of Leo's Taco Truck


                  Leo's Taco Truck
                  Venice Blvd S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90019

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: puppychao
                    Feed_me May 9, 2011 09:12 PM

                    If you check out this link you'll see back in September 26, 2010 streetgourmetla reported the pastor specialist named Norbeto was no long at the Leo's truck. Did anyone ever discover where he was doing his magic? http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/683633

                    1. re: Feed_me
                      Discokill May 10, 2011 06:26 AM

                      No, but was there last Sat and the guy manning the grill definitely had some skills.

                      1. re: Feed_me
                        Jase May 10, 2011 08:02 AM

                        Norberto reappeared at Leo's for a time but not sure if he's consistently there. But whoever they have manning it when he's not there is also pretty good.

                    2. Servorg May 9, 2011 05:38 AM

                      Weekend nights at Taco Tamix is also a good time and place for al pastor.

                      Taco Tamix
                      Pico and Westmoreland
                      Los Angeles, CA 90006

                      1. Discokill May 9, 2011 03:37 AM

                        Tacos Leo - in the gas station on the corner of La Brean and Venice is the best/closest to west side you'll get. Note the spit is only out weekends after 8pm I believe.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Discokill
                          hhewitt May 9, 2011 10:46 AM

                          I haven't been to Tacos Leo in a few months, but when I did go, it was from the spit just outside the truck... and it was indeed very delicious.

                          Tacos Don Jorge farther west on Venice was quite good too, but they're sadly closed.

                          1. re: hhewitt
                            Norm Man May 9, 2011 02:50 PM

                            Hhewitt, it is true that Tacos Don Jorge closed. But the owners of Taco Don Jorge have moved their operations to a taco truck called "Mariscos y Tacos El Compa (credit to Bandini)


                            They are taco truck veterans. They ran another taco truck before opening Tacos Don Jorge.

                            1. re: Norm Man
                              hhewitt May 9, 2011 03:49 PM

                              Aha! While sad that they closed their storefront, I'm so glad to hear they're still serving! Thanks for the update! Looks like they're parking it right in front of their old restaurant too.

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