When Adam and I first started dating, I was generally the one exposing him to new and exciting foods (a.k.a. sushi) and home-cooked things like chicken parmesan. Then, one day, Adam asked me if I’d ever had “tacos al pastor” and, surprisingly, I had to say no! He explained to me that his friend had brought him to a local Mexican restaurant, and had him try these amazing tacos, and we were going to get them for lunch that day. How could I say no?
At the restaurant we went to, the tacos were served simply, in small corn tortillas with only a topping of chopped onions, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime. I had never had a taco quite like it before. The flavors were perfect together, the meat was perfectly spicy, and the onion/cilantro/lime combo was, well, amazing! We frequented the restaurant for quite some time, and then just kind of stopped going. (I swear, this story is going somewhere, I promise!) I tried to recreate the meat one time, and failed miserably. I mean, it was good, but it wasn’t the same.
“Al Pastor” is a Mexican term for tacos “shepherd style”, which means they can a) be eaten in a few bites, b) use local fresh meat, usually pork, and c) the meat is cooked with some sort of sweet liquid, such as juice or fruit. True al pastor recipes are family secrets, and most people just make them by feel, rather than a strict recipe. The other reason it’s so hard to recreate at home is that the meat is usually stacked on a spit, and cooked shwarma-style, a technique brought to Mexico by the Lebanese. (and there’s your food history lesson for the day)
Now, did I recreate a real al pastor recipe for dinner tonight? No. BUT, when we were at our favorite international market today, their fresh meat counter had, for sale in bulk, freshly marinated al pastor pork! I promptly ordered a pound of it and was SO excited! I sent Adam back to the produce section to get cilantro, and I grabbed the freshest tortillas in the place.
When we got home, I heated up a pan, cooked up the meat, heated tortillas, and made the traditional onion/cilantro topping with half a chopped onion, half a bunch of cilantro, the juice of one lime, and about 1/8 tsp. salt. The result? AMAZING!
I could’ve eaten many, many more of these, but instead, we saved enough so I can make a wrap for lunch tomorrow. I love that these tacos are fantastic without sour cream, cheese, or too many other ingredients, but could still be dressed up differently if you wanted. I did find a great-looking al pastor recipe in my research of the history, and you can find that here. I’ll be trying it soon!
Speaking of dressing up, last night, Adam and I went to my friend Nicki’s wedding! (like that segue?) I’m definitely sore today, mostly from dancing a good long while in these bad boys:
They were surprisingly comfortable, but my quads are KILLING me today! We of course, had a great meal and cake, but since I was with mostly work people, I wasn’t exactly comfortable taking photos of the meal. I did enjoy a whopping two drinks, and this marks one of the only times in my life that I’ve had an alcoholic beverage two days in a row. I think Adam and I looked pretty great last night, if I say so myself…
We went a little Big Lebowski with our drinks in this picture.
Earlier today, I met up with my amazing friend Amy and her husband and daughter for a brunch at Cracker Barrel. They were in town for a very short time, and amazingly had some free time, so we decided to meet up! They live about two and a half hours away, and I really wish I could see them more! Love you Amy!
Tomorrow is the start of week 3 of camp, but I’m BOUND AND DETERMINED to actually cook this week! Expect multiple dinner posts from me!
Have a great Sunday night!