Taco Chronicles (2019–…): Season 1, Episode 1 - Pastor - full transcript

What do you see?

No, my friends,
you're not only seeing

perfectly golden pork meat.

Or a tortilla with the perfect softness.


is the perfect balance
of sweet and savory.

Badass flavor!

Come on in, miss, nothing to fear.

- What can I get you?
- Two, with everything.

You are seeing the only one
that will not let you down.

The taco that cares for you.

A tried and true friend.

I am the al pastor taco, of course!



Mexico City's most emblematic taco
is al pastor taco.

The al pastor taco is universal,

it is what makes us chilangos
(residents of Mexico City).

Everyone eats al pastor tacos

because as soon as you arrive
in Mexico City, you go and try them.

If Mexico City had a flag,
an al pastor taco would be its emblem

because that's chilangos' typical food.

Al pastor tacos are
like smog in Mexico City;

it's part of our everyday life.

Al pastor tacos are
something that you can't quit.

Two al pastor for me, please.

Loaded with meat.

I love al pastor tacos.

- Do you?
- Finished on the griddle.

- Nice and golden.
- On the griddle.

For me, al pastor tacos are delicious.

I love al pastor tacos.

If you accompany them with tepache
(fermented pineapple drink),

that's even better.

I bet someone dreams of taking a bite
right off the spit, right?

You see the meat and you think, alright,
"I'll take a bite, no matter the cost."

The best foods in the world are
spaghetti and al pastor tacos.

Millions of mouths eat me
in one of the world's largest cities.

Almost 20 million
potential stomachs to fill.

But in order to understand
who I am today,

we need to travel really far.

The origin of the al pastor taco
goes back to

ancient times in Asia Minor,

in the region known as Anatolia.

Let's say it was a part
of the Ottoman Empire cuisine,

that is to say, Lebanon's shawarmas,

Greece's gyros,

Turkey's doner kebab.

Then, Lebanese immigrants came to Mexico

through Veracruz and settled in Puebla.

They started making Middle Eastern tacos,

replacing lamb and mutton
with pork in Mexico,

something they could no longer do
on the other side of the planet,

a flour tortilla and chipotle salsa.

I'm spit-roasted layers
of leg or loin meat.

A good mixture
of thick and thin cuts.

And then, it's time to bathe
in a marinade of adobo.

But take a good look at me.

Enjoy me.

Because this massage is my essence,

the marinade makes me beautiful,
it tans me,

and it transforms me into
a magical experience.

The color of the stacked meat on the spit
has to do with the adobo.

Recipes are wide ranging,

but they always include chile peppers,
vinegar, spices,

sometimes they add nuts, seeds,

but each taco restaurant
has their own recipe.

This pastor's marinade is very special.

I could name seven or eight ingredients,

secret ingredients.

These secret ingredients
are not used by any other taco restaurant.

For sure.

Our trompo (vertical rotisserie
of marinated meat) is not so red.

It's more like orange,
because we don't use food coloring,

and it's all natural.

We only use seasoning,

vinegar, orange juice,

cinnamon, ancho chiles,

and our very special seasoning.

In order to achieve a good trompo,

which is the first step
to a good al pastor taco, you need

these slices of pork.

They are previously marinated
in adobo sauce,

made with achiote, some other spices,
ground chili peppers.

The pork slices are stacked
on this stick of meat,

one on top of the other

alternating with

some thicker pork meat cuts

which will provide more fat and flavor.

You get a well-sized trompo.

This will be cooked
on a vertical rotisserie

which is how shepherds
used to roast their meat in the old times.

It has to be cooked ideally with charcoal,

which is what will give it
an amazing flavor.

Roasting al pastor meat
using charcoal is harder,

because when you use gas,
you just need to open the valve

and you get a huge flame,
your may even burn your face, man.

When you use charcoal,
you need a good master of the grill,

master of the grill, master of the pastor.

The taqueros,

that breed of heroes
who have tirelessly fed our nation.

Just as each taco has
its particular charms,

each taquero has his own talents,

because it's not the same being
an al pastor taquero

as another kind of taquero.

How many times have you seen a taquero

throwing and catching a slice
of pineapple? Like no big deal.

Shit. That's really hard, man.

They might cut their hands
with those huge goddamn knives they use.

Because the trick is
is the way you cook the meat,

but also, the thinner that slice,

the more revenue the restaurant takes in.

Cutting the meat has some technique to it.

The slices of meat
need to be nice and thin.

And then, pineapple.

Onion and cilantro.

And a bit of salsa.

The taco

is actually a great trilogy.

The tortilla must necessarily be small,

it's called a "number 10" tortilla,
a taco tortilla.

With just a bit of oil, very flexible.

Al pastor meat must necessarily
be properly sliced.

They have pineapple, cilantro and onion,

providing fruits and vegetables.

And the salsa provides us with...

added vitamins.

Without a good salsa,

a taco falls apart.

A good al pastor taco needs to be
well-cooked, most of all, for starters,

and it depends on the customer's taste.

For a good taco, you need to have

a certain style,
the way you prepare them,

the way you treat your customer.

The best taco is the one you get

as soon as it is prepared.

Because the most important,
crucial element,

is temperature.

A cold taco is
like a sunless, rainy day.

Once the al pastor taco is ready,

you need to eat it while standing up.

Not sitting down,
because you feel full sooner.

The best taco is eaten while standing up.

The magic happens
when the tortilla is hot,

the meat is hot,
and they touch your palate.

That's when you say, "Mm!"

This is the city
of endless al pastor tacos.

Many taqueros, not all of them good,

and they all think they know
where I'm best made.

There are a few legendary taquerías
in Lorenzo Boturini street,

on the way to Tapo Bus Terminal,
to the airport.

When my craving is really bad,

I go all the way there.

Lorenzo Boturini street
has become really famous

for the kind of taquerías

that were unexpectedly successful here.

These are the most traditional
al pastor taquerías.

You'll find them all over Mexico City,

but these are the most traditional ones,
on this street.

I think people should come
from all over the country

and try Boturini street tacos.

It's a sight to see, so much
street food in just a few blocks.

Every time I go back home
from the airport,

I need to stop by Lorenzo Boturini.

There they are:
El Pastorcito, Los Güeros...

Each one has its clientele.

You don't usually

explore one stand, or another.

If I'm a Güeros customer, that's it.

Come in, miss. Is everything okay?

- How many?
- Three.

- Sure. How many?
- A table?

Go there, they'll give you a table.

Can't you break a 500, girl?

- That's who I am.
- Great! Big bucks!

Los Güeros is at the corner of
Lorenzo Boturini and Cucurpe streets.

We've been here for 46 years.

Since 1972.

My dad had a small taco stand
right outside.

Over time, he really hustled

and, as time went by,

his business grew bigger and bigger.

So, you had four plus one,
equals five.

- Five tacos.
- These were two.

My dad...

he's way too fond of tacos.

If the business has any kind of problem,

he worries a lot, and so do we,
but he worries even more,

because he's the head of the family.

My dad was a taquero for ten years.

He taught me how to make tacos,
I know how to make good tacos,

thank God.

Come on in, miss, come in.

Nothing to fear. Get up, my child!

Say hi to everyone.

There, like that.

Our restaurant opens
at 4:30 p.m. every day

and we are still open at 4:30 a.m.
on weekends, Fridays and Saturdays.

The rest of the week,
from 4:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.

On your way from the airport,
coming here, parking your car,

and stopping by for tacos
at El Güero is a must.

For me, they are the best.
I've tried the others, yes,

but it's mostly about
how they treat you.

He is very hospitable, very warm.

He's very nice to you.

How long have you been coming
to Los Güeros tacos, man?

About ten years.

- Are they good? Ask him.
- Phenomenal.

- Am I right?
- They are.

What do you think about
Los Güeros tacos?

I don't eat tacos anywhere else.

- Why?
- Because they're lame.

So lame, right?

- Your friends like these tacos?
- Yeah.

The truth is, they are really
good quality tacos.

Boturini's Los Güeros are number one,
miss, at your service.

Even if al pastor tacos
are made in many places,

I think this is the only place
where you can find

its four main preparations.

Proto-al pastor taco,

which is an Arab taco

but no longer with pita bread,

but with corn tortillas.

And when we talk about
proper al pastor tacos,

I identify three groups.

One would be a "purist" taco.

You notice the difference
because the meat is not red,

but the color of roasted meat

because it is barely marinated
with that chile adobo.

Then we have the red trompo,

which is marinated with more adobo

and served with pineapple.

In the fourth group

we have layers of meat,

a layer of meat
and then a layer of onion.

The fire is low, so they are
not as cooked as the others.

It is sliced before it is fully cooked,

they put it in some sort of tray,

they mix them all together

and what you get is
sort of an al pastor meat dish.

About the new ways of making tacos...

As always with food, there's controversy.

Some may say recipes
should not be tampered with.

Purists will say that is not
an al pastor taco.

But I also believe we should not reject
new ways of doing things,

because that is how many of this
country's great dishes have originated.

We are in Monterrey, at Mercurio,

a restaurant specializing in cuisine
from the North of Mexico

where food is meant to be shared.

We are here because
there's some interest in tacos, no?

Sure, severe people will get angry,

but the truth is I am never the same.

People say I must be one way or another,

but you know me, I can't stand still.

I reinvent myself.

For me, al pastor tacos have no rules,

and that is precisely why
we decided to make

a black al pastor taco.

In Yucatán we have recado negro,

which is a black paste

made with garlic, chiles,

allspice, clove,

a little bit of cinnamon,
some people add charred onion.

Then, all ingredients
are mixed into a paste

made with charred chiles and spices.

The color and taste
are completely different

and I believe this makes them unique,
it's the evolution of taco.

Black al pastor meat

is made with

recado, which is made entirely of chiles.

This recipe comes from Yucatán,

but we gave it a new life
here in Nuevo León.

We are adding onion and cilantro,

which they would usually have.

This is an order of tacos.


I think we all have our own recipe,

because all recipes have variations

and we all adopt one as our own.

That's what makes it wonderful,

you try al pastor tacos
in different restaurants

and the flavor is different.

They are unlike each other,
but there's something in common.

The tradition of the taco will remain,

but those who took it a step forward...

It will be interesting to see
where it will go.

We are at "El Vilsito".

It's an auto repair shop during the day,
a taco restaurant at night.

The standout taco is al pastor.

Everything else is also good,

but people prefer our al pastor tacos

so that business has been growing.

The greatness of El Vilsito is

that they still make al pastor tacos
the way they should be made.

It's on the street,
it's a proper taco stand,

the meat is well sliced,

the tortilla is the right size.

You'll order five, for starters,
then two more,

and, since you need to finish
your horchata, you'll order two more.

It is the al pastor taco that you crave.

I believe it is an auto repair shop
during the day,

it becomes a taco restaurant at night,

which I find almost surreal, the kind
of thing that only happens in Mexico City.

We came here to El Vilsito

and, after trying many taco restaurants,

these are probably Mexico City's
best al pastor tacos.

We are up against many taco restaurants.

People from all over the world
come and try our tacos,

sometimes these are the last tacos
that they try,

and they become their favorite.

This is the kind of place

that an in-the-know friend brings you to,

the kind of place you come to
after a party.

Loyalty to a certain taquería has
something to do with the bonds of trust.

A relationship based on trust:

that you've eaten them
and you haven't gotten sick,

that you have tried them or that
someone has recommended them as safe,

but also taste is involved
in this trust-based relationship.

If the flavor is great,

if it reminds you of something else,

if someone tells you, "you need
to try those, they're fantastic."

Yes, it's true, social media play a part,

but the best recommendation is that
of a friend who has eaten here.

Ready to go? I'm coming!

- Two al pastor. Anything else?
- And a Coke.

Just take a look at Braulio
a.k.a. "Pork Chop."

He spends his weekends with me.

- Hurry up!
- Hurry!

Hurry up, Pork Chop!

The first thing I do is check
whose order hasn't been taken.

I get their order, I go get their tacos.

Hey! Four plain tacos!

- Half-and-half, three plain tacos.
- How many half-and-half?

I find where they are parked,

and bring their tacos and everything.

Once they're done eating,
I charge them and that's it.

You are in Mexico's most famous taquería:

"El Borrego Viudo."

You could say this is
a very famous taquería

in Mexico City, very well-known, and...

people come visit us from everywhere
for our delicious tacos

and our tepache, which is
very traditional, very tasty.

This taco restaurant stokes disagreements.

Purist taco enthusiasts

regard this as a bad taquería,

but I disagree.

But I am not the only one who disagrees.

The fact that it is always so crowded,

so noisy, so busy,

contradicts the statement
that this is a bad taquería.

Come on!

- Hi, good evening.
- Welcome.

Thank you.

These cars belong to our customers,
who have come to enjoy our tacos.

People running over there are waiters,

who are getting their tacos, their orders.

The faster you wait on the customers,
the better your service.

That is why we are all running.

There are many taquerías,
but this one is special.

There is even a certain code here.

If you need anything, turn on your
blinkers and they'll come immediately.

The people working here move really fast.

People are used to doing this.

If it's raining, or if it's cold outside,

many people stay in their cars

and we are here to help you.

We'll get your order as fast as we can
for you to enjoy your tacos.

People are polarized about these tacos:
you either love them or hate them.

I believe the happy middle

depends on how much
you've been drinking.

Many people are leaving clubs and bars

at 2:00 or 3:00 a.m.

and all they can think of is,
"let's sober up at El Borrego

with great al pastor tacos."

You'll sober up for sure.

I unite cultures, people,

I am a bridge for the unbridgeable.

At night, especially at night,

I am the king.

I am colorblind.

I don't care where you come from,

or if it is champagne or beer
in your bloodstream.

I'm authentic, like you.

I think your taco experience
is different if you're drunk.

A good taco,

a good talk, a good drink,

and then finishing your day
with this wonder, a good taco...

You're like, "Wow. Wow."

I love to dance. We were dancing
right here on other corner

so, after dancing,
a few tacos and off to bed.

That's always my choice,

leaving the after party
and grabbing a few good tacos.

It's a cultural thing.

And then burping beer
and al pastor tacos... Awesome!

That's the prize, right?

For the hypoglycemia
that you get when you drink

and the goddamned happiness
that you feel when you're drunk,

goes really well with
a good taco before bed.

It is that last step

before finally getting some rest,

and letting your body put an end
to so much delight.

And I think that taco
you grab while being drunk

is a part of Mexican idiosyncrasy.

Al pastor tacos
are a part of our Mexican identity.

Saying, "let's grab some tacos"
means hanging out,

fellowship is implied.

You should experience that
when you take a bite of a taco,

feel the tortilla crunch,

feel the al pastor meat oil
drip in your mouth.

Combined with lime juice,
this in an amazing experience.

Ultimately, that is what we want
to achieve when making a taco,

to make a connection with people's souls,

and if they are not Mexican,

they can become Mexican through tacos.

This is Mexico, a good taco.

Man, I'm just like you.

Don't you remember I was there
the first time you got drunk?

And of course I won't miss the last time.

You know I will be there,

as always,

comforting those who are tired,

rescuing those who are about to die.

I am the taco that will never leave you.

I am your taco forever.