Tacos Al Pastor At Last

Ellen: All I want to know, I just want to know one simple thing. When do I get to become an Islander?
Councilwoman: Ellen, never! Never! You’re not born here — you’re not an Islander.

When reading up about tacos early in my Mexican stay, I became obsessed with finding al pastor tacos. They are made of pork meat marinated in pineapple juice (and other yummy stuff) and roasted on a spit like gyros meat. Since I have been in Maz, I have been looking for these elusive tacos, chasing dead internet leads and finding places that claim to have al pastor tacos, but the meat is merely cooked on the barbecue. I know I could have probably asked and been directed to some, but this was my own little treasure hunt for the winter!

I had the right idea on how to find them, walk and walk and walk and follow my nose, but I found them in the last place I would have expected… the Golden Zone, right on Camarón Sábalo!

So  I’ve been working myself to the bone the last few days because a client is injured and her other main subcontractor is ill. If this company goes down, I go down, so like the little Dutch boy, I stuck my finger in the dam and typed, typed, typed.

I was finally done the project by 11:00 today and was done for the day, needless to say! I have work for tomorrow and through the weekend, but it’s a normal amount. I haven’t been to town in a full week, so I decided to head out for lunch and to pick up a few groceries.

All the pangas now have these brand new life jackets with their names on them.

All the pangas now have these brand new life jackets with their names on them.

Cruise ship in dock. I saw some of the guests on a 'topless tour' of Maz. Get your head out of the gutter, topless refers to no roof on a double decker bus!

Cruise ship in dock. I saw some of the guests on a ‘topless tour’ of Maz. Get your head out of the gutter, topless refers to no roof on a double decker bus!

I think this is a graveyard.

I think this is a ship graveyard.

I did my normal route to the bus stop, picking up a grapefruit juice on the way.

Ooh!

Ooh!

So purty!

So purty!

Delivering mail in style!

Delivering mail in style!

Then, I rode the bus to just past the Rafael Buelna roundabout. The taco places I’d seen advertising tacos al pastor were all in a row on the southbound side of Camarón Sábalo and I went into the first one as it looked very clean, but not as Gringoified as the others. I had a good feeling I made the right choice when the server did a double take as a I came in and told me, in a very thick accent, “Sorry, no menu English.”

The restaurant is right across the Deloitte building on Camarón Sábalo.

The restaurant is right across the Deloitte building on Camarón Sábalo.

Ah, deliciousness on a spit!

Ah, deliciousness on a spit!

Ta'Locos

Ta’Loco

The prices were typical for authentic Mexican fare. The al pastor tacos were something like $13 each or four for $40. I ordered two and a limonada that, at $35, was more expensive than my food!

Before my tacos arrived, I was presented with four bowls of salsa (pico de gallo, avocado, spicy pimento, and brown deliciousness, as well as a plate of limes and cucumbers and another of chips. I’m glad I only ordered two tacos! And I’m also glad that I called the server back to specify corn tortillas because he had told the cook flour ones, which, by the way, were double the price! Crisis averted! 🙂

The cucumbers were really good... especially dipped in salsa. :)

The cucumbers were really good… especially dipped in salsa. 🙂

I liked all of these salsas. The avocado, pico de gallo, and brown one at the top right were not particularly spicy. The creamy orange one on the top left was HOT but add flavour, like pimento cheese, and I actually made some inroads in it!

I liked all of these salsas. The avocado, pico de gallo, and brown one at the top right were not particularly spicy. The creamy orange one on the top left was HOT but had flavour, like pimento cheese, and I actually made some inroads in it!

And behold tacos al pastor! Marinated pork, pineapple, onion, and cilantro:

I finally found a dish where cilantro felt like it belonged...

I finally found a dish where cilantro felt like it belonged…

They were everything I hoped they would be and so worth the search! I loaded on the salsas and dug in. I didn’t get any utensils, so I used chips to scoop up what fell out!

When I was done, I worked my way through the rest of the chips, cucumbers, and limonda, then paid the $62 tab (plus a $10 tip).

I am getting used to being served toothpicks after a meal.

I am getting used to being served toothpicks after a meal.

I decided to brave the bathroom and was surprised to find a rather nice very recently redone bathroom with everything but toilet seats. By the way, navy blue toilets seem to be the rage in Mexico!

On the way to lunch, I had seen something I haven’t seen since San Carlos, a Thrifty’s ice cream parlour! So that’s where I headed after lunch!

Hey, a Thrifty's ice cream place!

Hey, a Thrifty’s ice cream place!

I love nieve de garrafa, but sometimes you want a real proper chocolately ice cream and that is surprisingly difficult to find in Maz. I ordered a scoop of chocolate brownie in a regular (galleta) cone. I remember thinking in San Carlos that $29 was cheap for an ice cream cone, but I don’t think that anymore. 🙂

Then, I headed to Mega and took a picture of a restaurant that has caught my eye a few times:

Killer sushi, huh? Might want to rethink the name...

Killer sushi, huh? Might want to rethink the name…

I was just at the Mega parking lot when I realised I didn’t want to get my groceries there. I didn’t need anything I couldn’t get at the little Ley and lugging stuff home from Mega would be a huge pain unless I took a pulmonía, which would have been the best thing to do since I wanted mostly cold stuff.

So I went back to Avenida del mar to catch the bus and just missed it. I waited about 15 minutes for the next one.

I did see something that made up somewhat for the wait. A car inched its way down Avenida del mar and there was an old man in the back seat practically hanging out the window yelling, “It’s the ocean! It’s the OCEAN!!!”

The car was plated in Chihuahua, a non-coastal state, so I’m thinking this was the man’s first trip to the sea. I am choking up thinking about how joyful he sounded.

I finally got on a bus and did some research on my phone about reliable web hosts since I’ve decided to move the blog to a better provider after uskeba.ca was down for about an hour this afternoon.

I put the phone away as we turned into Centro as this was only my second time riding towards the Mercado and I wanted to get a better sense of the route. The (Mexican) lady sitting next to me then asked if the Mercado was coming up, telling me she just moved to Maz and doesn’t know the buses yet.

I look so much like a tourist in my sundresses that I’m shocked she asked me, but I guess that since I did the bulk of the route buried in my phone, I must have appeared to be an experienced bus rider. I told her we were about four blocks from the Mercado and to just wait for a huge crowd to stand up to know where to get off!

After we passed Zaragoza and turned onto Aquiles Serdan, I realised that I didn’t need to go all the way to the Mercado (I was exhausted and ready to get home). I got up and the bus stopped at the corner of Melchor Ocampo, the street the Ley is on!

So I only had a couple of blocks to walk and there was the store. I really like the little Ley as it’s so compact that you can get in and out very quickly when you know what you want. My top priority was powdered milk, which I use in my coffee. It was on sale again and about a quarter the cost of what I pay in Canada, so I picked up two bags and that should get me through until I get back in November.

WOW. A bag like this is about $12 (4x the cost) back home!

WOW. A bag like this is about $12 (4x the cost) back home!

I’ve figured out the shortest route from the Ley to the panga, so I was at the dock in short order. There, a family was crowding the ticket booth debating whether or not to go over and the ticket seller took pity on me and told them to move aside. I paid my $8 and as I was putting away my change, I heard the man complain about the cost of the fare ($30 round trip x 4 people=$120) and the fact that I hadn’t paid that much. I then heard some very sweet words, “¡La chica es una Isleña!” (the girl is an Islander). 😀

21 thoughts on “Tacos Al Pastor At Last

  1. Congratulations. You belong! Btw, am making a list of your eating spots and their locations, so this fall I’ll have some new destinations. Thanks.

    • I really feel like Maz is ‘home.’ I feel so safe and secure and comfortable getting around. I guess that’s starting to show to other people!

      I’m going back to this place in a week or two when I’ll need coffee and will try something else as it was really good and inexpensive!

  2. Nice find with the tacos. I did not realize that is what those cones of meat were called. I see you got two tortillas per taco and tons of filling so you could have made four tacos out of the two. I did this with fish tacos at places that gave generous servings of fish.

    • Those cones of meat are related to the bars on all the windows. Can you make the connection?

      I always get two tortillas per taco, probably because they are so fragile after getting soaked through.

        • The bars on the windows come Spain’s Arabic history, which was brought down to Mexico. I will pause here to qualify ‘Arab/Arabic’ to encompass the geographic region of North Africa as well as the Middle East, not a class of people who may or may not identify as ‘Arab.’

          It’s very common for homes in the Arab world to have bars rather than glass to keep children in and livestock out, as well as for protection.

          Tacos el pastor come from Lebanese immigrants to Mexico. The Lebanese do not consider themselves to be ‘Arabs’, but they do come from the ‘Arab’ world.

  3. Glad you found your special tacos. It was truly a hunt with a treasure at the end. Love the new panga life jackets. Some of the old ones were well….just old.

    Not a ship graveyard but the shrimp fleet. Very run down indeed. Some are so old that they are slipping under the water. When you come back in November check out that same area and it will be empty.

    • The old life jackets were… icky.

      Guess who I saw on the panga for the very first time today? I’ve never seen anyone whip around and pretend they didn’t see me in my life.

      That’s the shrimp fleet?! I just found one photo from November that shows that part of the dock from a distance and, sure enough, it’s empty!

  4. I know who 🙂

    Yes the shrimp fleet, pretty sad compared to the spiffy boats the tuna guys have.

    Meant to say earlier that I loved that you got to experience that old man’s first glimpse of the sea. Makes me realize how lucky I have been.

    • They look so derelict… 🙁

      And it was so wonderful! “¡El mar! ¡El MAAAAAAR!”

      The sea has been such a part of my life that I can’t recall a time that I did not know it. But I’m surprised to say that I am more of a prairies gal.

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    My situation was somewhat more involved than just moving files to a new host which make it more difficult. I would guess that moving your WordPress would be a VERY simple move.

    • Thanks for the recommendation. They don’t quite meet my needs. I got a recommendation that I am going to try out. Good support is important — I need to know I can reach someone when the blog is down, when a hacker is trying to get in, when my WordPress gets broken and it has to do with their servers, etc.

      I actually have several sites, so a move is not simple for me. Web Hosting Hub only transfers three sites, so that’s not sufficient for me. I’ll likely initiate the change just before I’m ready to hit the road because I’ll be down for a few days until all my nameservers get up dated and the blog redirects to the new host. That took forever last time and so I want to do it when I’m not working as that means my email is down, too.

    • $ is the symbol for pesos. I realised it was rather silly to say pesos when there is no ambiguity as to which currency I’m using. 🙂

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