Metro Balderas: Tacos Distrito Federal

Note: This post has nothing to do with wine. If you ever see me drinking wine with tacos, please punch me. I’ll understand.

One of the best ironies about San Jose is that in order to find the best food, you have to be willing to be cheap. This is true of our pho, ramen, ethiopian, and most everything else food. As soon as you feel like you’re paying too much, you probably are, and cost and quality are often inverse.

One of the cheapest and best of all the foods to find in the south bay are tacos, plain and simple, and as a result almost everyone here has their pick for best tacos in town, whether it be one of the multitudinous trucks, the proper stands, or plain ol’ market counters. While many of these are good, and worth hunting down, for my $1.45 there isn’t a single taco joint getting it done like Metro Balderas in downtown San Jose.
The dude on the left is making the magic happen

So what makes Metro Baledera special? Well for starters, it is a hole in the wall attached to a liquor store that will rightly scare away anyone not interested in food as the primary reason for visiting a restaurant, so no obnoxious assholes. And how about the food? Well like any good taco place they have a wide selection of meats and offal they can throw on a tortilla for you, from plain old asada to buche, lengua, cabeza and trippa (never, ever trust a taco place without organ meats on the menu). In addition they have queso fundido con chorizo, sopes and other dishes for the non-taco eater (i hope these people don’t exist), a small beer selection, real honest to god coke, and outside seating. However that is all fairly standard fare, and not at all the reason to go out of your way to come here. The real reason is the al pastor served on the weekends, D.F. (Mexico City) style, which is carved from a vertical spit (this is similiar to Shawarma, Doner Kebab, or gyros) that is setup outside near the sidewalk. Just the smell of this roasting meat from blocks away is enough to send you into a zombie like trance, and it serves as a reminder of why street food is having it’s great rennaissnace right now. If you’re in San Jose and don’t feel like eating in one of our scenic Target Plazas, you owe it to yourself to head to 688 S Almaden Ave and see for yourself. (Go on thursdays or weekends for the real deal).

Al pastor (not from Metro Balderas, but you get the point)

Wikipedia tells me that this style of taco is the result of Lebanese immigrants bringing over Shawarmas and having them adapted to Mexican tastes. Whoever is responsible, thank you.

~ by Cory Cartwright on May 28, 2009.

9 Responses to “Metro Balderas: Tacos Distrito Federal”

  1. why does it look like a kebob?

  2. In mexico city they cook al pastor the same way as kebab, shawarma, and gyros

  3. I was about to ask, “Where’s the pineapple?” — then I scrolled down. Great post. Makes me hungry for the tacos al pastor served by the street vendor at Philly’s headhouse square market. Not that the market itself isn’t wonderful but it’s worth the wander just to have an excuse to get an order or two.

  4. A lot of times they just throw a pineapple on the top of the rotisserie and let the juice do the work.

  5. You broke the #1 rule of eating in San Jo: NEVER tell others of a great spot. This ruins great places. But thanks for breaking the rules and I will check this spot out. Gracias!

  6. “A lot of times they just throw a pineapple on the top of the rotisserie and let the juice do the work.”

    Exactly what I was thinking. The guys at the stand in Philly will hold a each taco in one hand, chop a chunk of the pineapple with the other and catch it w/ the taco. It’s not just for the show, as the pineapple adds a really nice flavor complement.

  7. God that sounds good!

  8. “If you ever see me drinking wine with tacos, please punch me. I’ll understand.”

    I don’t get this. Are you joking? tacos go great with wine, like 2006 Brun d’Folie f’rinstance, only, not too cold:

  9. Putnam- it’s mostly an inside joke. I tend to prefer beer with spicy food, however, but that is mostly personal preferance. I will try try the rec. Though.

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