Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Peublas' Tacos Al Pastor


I never ignore legal advice. My attorneys told me ages ago to try the Al Pastor from Pueblas. Yesterday, in an attempt to feed my newly found chorizo taco addiction, I made a call to my new favorite taco joint only to find out that they were out of the delicious, spicy sausage dish that made me fall in love. In an instant I saw this as the opportunity to fulfill an earlier mission and ordered the Al Pastor. I jumped in the whip and cruised up there with anticipation.

The preparation of Al Pastor has an interesting history. Cooking meat on a rotating spit is not originally a Mexican method. Lebanese immigrants brought the idea, adapted from the Turkish doner kabab, in the early 20th century. Upon its integration into Mexican cuisine, what was once lamb became pork. The name 'Al Pastor', or 'shepherd style' stuck despite the fundamental change in meats. The result is tacos (or little kabab wraps) filled with pork sliced straight from the rotating spit and topped with onions, cilantro, and pineapple, presented with two kinds of salsa, sliced cucumbers, and hot pickled onions and peppers.

Right off the bat, the meat looked interesting. The pinkness in the center of each slice and the reddish roasted exterior were unmistakable signs of pork, but the way it had been grilled and sliced could have allowed it to pass for beef. Biting into it revealed a flavor far less cured than the chorizo, but with a more engaging meat flavor than any cured sausage could accomplish. Perhaps it was due to the texture, but it reminded me more of doner kabab than pork. A healthy dose of salsa verde gave the tacos a subtle heat, and the pineapple drove the whole concept home. Whoever decided to add a little fruit surprise to this meat dish is a damn genius, and I tip my sombrero to him or her.

Tacos Al Pastor are definitely on my list. The good list, not the bad one.

"Dude, is Pueblas paying you or some shit?!"

No, honest. I pay for my tacos just like everybody else. In fact, I don't think the waitress I'm slowly falling in love with even realizes that I'm writing about the tacos she keeps giving me. The language barrier would cause an attempted explanation of my blog to end in an awkwardly polite exchange of laughter as I back out the door and she backs into the kitchen.

As Catwoman once said, let's keep the mystery.

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