The Al Pastor Invitational: Wicker Park v Boyle Heights

As promised, my take on Chicago tacos at this time. I had the good fortune to be hosted by a foodie during my stay. One day we wound up at Carniceria Leon, a deli/meat market/taqueria in Wicker Park. The joint had Al Pastor skewered on a giant spit; as such, I knew I was in the right place.


Five second review: Generous portions, hybrid salsa, delicious tacos. I was expecting the requisite “con todo?” query, so it was bit of a surprise to hear the guy behind the counter ask if we wanted them served “with onions y cilantro?” but, being the only white people in the joint at the time, nice of him to change it up for us.

The last time I had pastor served from a spit, I was in Boyle Heights. Tacos were served on a makeshift table. The prep station was a minivan’s passenger door area. The whole operation was situated in an automotive repair lot. The taco was accented with a slab of grilled pineapple (pictured below). Tough to top. Maybe impossible.


A quick google on the Chicago taqueria turned up this fantastic blog. Mind you I don’t know these guys’ story or what their judging criteria is – I only know they’re judging burritos – but I do very much like the concept they’ve got going. (It doesn’t hurt that their writing is top notch.) So today, in honor of the Burrito Bracket blog, I’m making my own mini-bracket. Enjoy.

The Al Pastor Invitational: Wicker Park v Boyle Heights
(Unranked) Carniceria Leon
Wicker Park, Chicago, IL
(1) Unnamed Vendor, Parking Lot
Boyle Heights, East Los Angeles

Solid effort but you can’t go up against pineapple taco unprepared and expect to win, Wicker. See you next October.