[Sunnyvale/South Bay] Best Al Pastor?


#1

Any recommendations for best Al Pastor in South Bay? My benchmark is Tacos El Gordo in San Diego/Las Vegas and I haven’t been able to find anything close in the Bay Area. Taquerias up here tend to make their Pastor very sweet it seems - much more so that I’ve had when I used to live in San Diego and I can’t say I’m a fan. Seems hard to find places around here that do it on the vertical spit the way it should be done as well. Would prefer B&M places vs. taco trucks as it’s freezing these days so sitting outside is no bueno. Thanks.


#2

I’d love to know as well. My benchmark is DF al pastor places. And a special little truck in San Miguel de Allende. And sadly, what little tacos, and pastor, that I have had locally don’t seem to measure up. I don’t know if I was biased while travelling, however. But I never seem to find tacos here so amazing that I’d devour a dozen in a row. The magic of lard south of the border, perhaps?

If you haven’t already, when it gets warmer, give Mamacitas Tacos outside Mountain View Target a try. I don’t remember about their pastor specifically, but generally their tacos are decent for the Bay Area.

And if you make it as far north as Redwood City, give the Los Carnalitos truck outside Planned Parenthood a try.

Sadly I haven’t explored the taco/ Mexican scene much south of Redwood City. There aren’t many, just random little shops here and there.


#3

My one recommendation is Metro Balderas 1 at 688 Almaden Avenue, San Jose.
Thin shaved and good crisp. They actually turn the flame up, unlike a lot of places these days.
My understanding, though I can’t test it, is that they only cool the al pastor traditionally on weekends when the patio is open. There is a little bit of seating inside but it is quite small. Can’t vouch for their other location.
I live in SF but i’ve been down there 3 times so far for their tacos.
While I don’t think anything compares with tacos in mexico, this came closest for me.


#4

I’d love to know as well. My benchmark is DF al pastor places. And a special little truck in San Miguel de Allende. And sadly, what little tacos, and pastor, that I have had locally don’t seem to measure up. I don’t know if I was biased while travelling, however. But I never seem to find tacos here so amazing that I’d devour a dozen in a row. The magic of lard south of the border, perhaps?

Agreed, lard definitely makes a huge difference in tortilla flavor in my experience. What’s DF?

If you haven’t already, when it gets warmer, give Mamacitas Tacos outside Mountain View Target a try. I don’t remember about their pastor specifically, but generally their tacos are decent for the Bay Area.

And if you make it as far north as Redwood City, give the Los Carnalitos truck outside Planned Parenthood a try.

Thanks for the tips. Will wait until it warms up to give those a try. Too bad the B&M location of Los Carnalitos is in Hayward, I rarely make it up there. However, I do drive by RWC pretty often. I have tried a number of taquerias in RWC but never been super impressed (can’t remember the names since they are all named Grullense or some variation of that). What are your favorites in RWC?


#5

My one recommendation is Metro Balderas 1 at 688 Almaden Avenue, San Jose.

Thanks for the rec. Looks legit from the pictures. I don’t go to downtown SJ too often but will definitely keep it in mind if I’m in the area.


#6

B&M in RWC- none. Tried those El Grullense, Los Gemelos, etc variations, and I wasn’ t particularly thrilled about them.

Distrito Federal. Mexico City, that is.


(Joe Petolino) #7

There’s no lard, or any other kind of added fat, in a corn tortilla, either in the US or in Mexico. You might be thinking of flour tortillas (which are not used for tacos around here), or maybe corn tortillas warmed on an oiled grill. But I agree, flour tortillas made with lard are much better than the shortening version.


#8

Good to know it’s not just me being picky ;). Now that you mentioned Los Gemelos I do recall going there and having a pretty mediocre meal considering the rave reviews. My favorite taqueria on the peninsula/south bay is actually Pancho Villa in downtown San Mateo. They do pretty good chile verde pork and carnitas and their grilled shrimp is quite tasty as well.


#9

Years ago, a local foodie Sushi Monster did a taco crawl and rated every taco place around RWC. Unfortunately he didn’t eat pork so the list is not helpful to the question you are posing, and the age of the list (more than a decade ago) also doesn’t help.

http://www.emeraldlake.com/tacos/


#10

And if you ever make it to Oakland, El Paisa does a nice job with their tacos.


#11

It’s a big schlep from Sunnyvale, but I’ll update you that Los Carnalitos in Hayward recently fixed their vertical spit (trompo). I’ll ponder its sweetness next time I go!


#12

I remember reading about that a few years ago and at the time it was a great resource. I believe a few of the places that I’ve tried were based on recs from his list but as you said, being that it’s 10 years old now it’s probably quite outdated.


#13

Good to know! If I’m ever in the area will keep it in mind but as you said it’s a pretty long schlep from Sunnyvale for tacos.