1. A compare-and-contrast can be performed at two taquerias, each serving a distinct expression of tacos al pastor. At Tacos La Raza, a stand in the parking lot behind La Raza Market (2131 MacDonald Ave., at 22nd St.), it’s a coarse hash of juicy pork in sweet-tart adobo.
2. At Los Mexicanos Deli (779 23rd St., at Garvin Ave.), however, the pork al pastor is seared on a flat-top griddle to backyard-barbecue levels of char.
3. Meanwhile, Pepito’s (1087 23rd St., at Lowell Ave.) feels like a community center on weekends. Amid the confusion of tables and kids inside, food runners dash out of the kitchen with single bowls of very tasty pozole.
4. La Chona (1848 23rd St., near Market Ave.) offers some true Jalisco immersion. On Sunday mornings an abuelita stands up front making fresh tortillas while a man hunches over a table in the dining room mixing micheladas. Families and four-tops of solo guys are in no apparent rush to get anywhere, keeping one eye on fútbol while slurping spoonfuls of goat birria.
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Originally published in the February issue of San Francisco.