My first bites into their 99 cents pastor and asada tacos were tear-dropping sensational. And at that moment, I was forever hooked on great al pastors and carne asadas. Later that night I dragged my brother over to El Taquito Mexicano 2's taco truck that they park south of their shop in front of Nishikawa Auto Service.
A couple weeks ago, I was back at the place that initially started this taco craze in my life while I was in Pasadena running some errands (eerrr...at Bevmo shopping for wine). The little taco shop is still the same way I remembered it, yellow, quaint, and homey. The shop unlike it's taco truck at night is run by women. While ordering at the cashier in the back, I noticed how their kitchen looked just like my mama's -- messy and unorganized. It's quite amazing watching three ladies maneuver through the kitchen, the food, and each other. They definitely have the maternal hands that know how to feed society. I heart women cooks!
One thing I really love about ETQ2, both shop and truck is that their salsa roja is HOT, non-gringo HOT, just the way I like it. I usually love their pastors more than their tacos at ETM2. But this time, the asadas were the star. Scents of smokey pepper, citrus, and garlic, their moist and tender asadas were ON POINT! The asadas were nothing but nice cuts of meat, beautifully and perfectly charred. My pastors however tasted overly stewed. One thing about ETM2 is that some days they are great, and other days the stuff is just ok.
While eating at ETM2, I couldn't help but notice the long line over at La Estrella, ETM2's rival taco joint across the street. Marshall used to always say that La Estrella was the place people went for asadas. Hmm...asadas that can possibly rock ETM2's asadas??? Minutes after finishing up at ETM2's, I ran the kitty-corner over to La Estrella because it was time for an ASADA SHOWDOWN.
One look at La Estrella's asada was a quick disappointment. My feelings didn't change either after I took a bite into their overly chopped asada meat. Don't get me wrong, the meat was flavorful, a bit more tangy than peppery. However, without structure, it just tasted like tasty ground beef to me. It also didn't help that La Estrella's salsa was pretty weak compared to rival ETM2's.
With both taco joints being at 99 cents a taco, I've gotto say that my carne asada choice for the day goes out to El Taquito Mexicano 2.
El Taquito Mexicano #2: 1
La Estrella: 0
Let me know if you ever have an ETM2/La Estrella Al Pastor Challenge. You know I'm down.
El Taquito Mexicano #2 (shop)
467 N Fair Oaks Ave
Pasadena, CA 91103
500 N Fair Oaks Ave
Pasadena, CA 91103
510 S Fair Oaks Ave
Pasadena, CA 91105
*parked at night