It was a surprise actually, put together by my bride who loves me dearly. For even though she knows that my love for pastor borders on the obsessive, and that there was a distinct possibility that I would faint, run and hug the taco man, or in some other way embarrass myself upon first seeing it, she knew that our happiest day should include pastor somehow and for that my love grew even stronger (for her, of course).
So when I entered the patio where it was awaiting it was all shock and awe: dazzling lights, red, rotating spit, cameras flashing, “oohs” and “ahhs”. I played it cool. Like it was perfectly normal to have a spit of taco meat at my wedding, but on the inside I was screaming like a schoolgirl. And next to my perfect pork of a present was its master, with a mischievous smirk on his face, rapidly sharpening his knife and looking me in the eye with one eyebrow raised like he knew my destiny exactly-- and controlled it as well. And then, though he was across the room and no one else heard it, he whispered in his heavily accented English, “My dear guest! I am the taquero, your host. Welcome... to
“Yes!” I finally blurted out. And the party began. The after-party, actually: DJ spinning old soul, laughter, glasses clinking, the din of dozens of simultaneous conversations. Everyone pretty deep into a whole afternoon then evening of drinking and dancing, and the alcohol-primed stomachs immediately lined up for the goods. The line stayed 10 or 12 deep all night long. My taquero sliced and sliced and plated and plated until he must have been exhausted, but never did he slow. Never did he break a sweat and never did the smirk leave his face until he paused, shocked I think, to see that a mere hour had passed and he already needed to run back to his taco shop and get another spit of meat for the ravenous crowd.
That was then. My wedding in
First, however, a disclaimer: tacos al pastor in the
TacoMex has changed owners at least once I think in the last few years. I actually hadn’t been there in about a year when we strolled in last week on a Saturday night. They are one of the few places that actually puts a spit outside and roasts their pork in the open air. When we got there about 9:30 the spit was out and so was the crowd.
The whole scene is like being transported back to
Inside we ordered. Pastor of course. That was the plan. But that sausage was looking fine. It was chorizo and longaniza, which is a spicy sausage similar to chorizo but definitely with its own unique flavor. We also learned they had a pot of suadero out there: extra tender beef with all the fat left on.
We brought our ticket outside to the pastor guy who was shy to have a picture taken, but did slice the meat up proper and (regrettably) tossed it on the grill and mixed in some pineapple which was (also regrettably) canned. (In an ideal situation the pineapple drips over the spit as it cooks and the acidic juices help to soften the meat, or so I’m told.) Meanwhile, his taquero amigo grabbed a metal spatula, reached into the sausage donut, deftly sliced off a hunk of longaniza and dropped it in the exposed center where it immediately began to sizzle. As he chopped it up with a few short spatula strokes the aroma it gave off turned more than a few heads.
The pastor was not as flavorful as I remember but it was still pretty damn good, and overall TacoMex has a solid marinade. Pastor recipes vary immensely and are all top secret, but here you can taste the complex mix of indgredients like dried and roasted chiles, garlic, vinegar, cumin and maybe cloves. I think. Go online (you are online already) and search and you’ll see how varied they can be.