Need a crash course in al pastor as it relates to the LA mexican scene
So I went to 2 different taco shacks last night and had very differing al pastor experiences
1. Taqueria La Chispita - hole in the wall in NoHo. They had their al pastor on a spit, onion on the bottom, no pineapple in sight. Huge ass burner on that gyro cooking device, which they promptly turned up and seared our al pastor right before carving. Net result = drier al pastor, with lots of crunchy bits and a more grill/BBQ type experience
2. Tacos Manzano - al pastor was prepared in a more adobo-ish kind of way, stewed over a long time with onions.
I am more familiar with 2 but prefer 1. Where can I find the best of each and are both styles "legit" al pastor?
Paging streetgourmetla or equally knowledgeable hound.
In the L.A. area, the best I've found so far is Taco King (not to be confused with King Taco) at their location at Gladstone and Azusa Ave. in Azusa. On weekends, they set up a cooking trailer out front and make some very good pastor on a spit. The very best I've found will take a 2-hour drive north to Los Tacos de Huicho in Bakersfield (at Union and 18th St.) who makes the most sublime al pastor I've ever had, on a spit 7-days a week, which you can pair with an unbelievably good creamy and spicy guacamole from their salsa bar. Only 99 cents at both places.
245 E Gladstone St, Azusa, CA 91702
My favorite is the Carnitas Michaocan above Chinatown on North Broadway and 19th. They do their al pastor on a rotisserie, no pineapple, and unfortunately unless you are extremely timely it will be served from a holding dish. But the real star here is the hot sauce -- a housemade salsa negro that is smoky, spicy, complex and delicious.
For the 1st version, my two favorite trucks are Taco Tamix and Leo's. Check out Bandini's posts for both along with locations. I have a slight personal bias towards Tamix, at least the one on Pico/Union, not the Hoover/20th one. But both Tamix and Leo's are pretty good.