I LOVE “Mom & Pop” joints. And I LOVE Street Foods. So when you combine the two things, it’s just bliss.
For the past few years, one of my favorite places to pick up such goodness is just a hop-skip-and-jump away near our home at Metro Balderas 1 in San Jose, California. We’re blessed on the West Coast, and in particular California, to have great authentic Mexican food readily accessible. And in the Bay Area, that’s no exception.
Like most taquerias, Metro Balderas 1 offers the standard fair of tacos, burritos, quesadillas, sopas, pambazos, tortas, and more—all filled with your choices of proteins. Pollo, carne asada, chorizo, cabeza, tripas, camarones….Oh My. And let us not forget, my personal favorite…..the Al Pastor.
Al Pastor is beautifully marinated pork that is slow roasted on a vertical rotisserie called a Trompo, It has an appearance of the Shawarma but the flavors are completely different.
And Metro Balderas 1 does them THE BEST.
Offered 5pm to close only on Thursdays to Sundays, hoards of patrons flock to Metro Balderas 1 as the amazing aromas of the Al Pastor roasting on the Trompo waft in the streets. With only 4 tables indoors, its ideal to grab a seat al fresco to watch the “Al Pastor Man” expertly slice thin pieces of the meat into the fresh small tortillas cradled in his hand. With a small flick of the wrist, he cuts a tiny piece of the pineapple that sits at the top of the Trompo to top of your tacos.
We order our tacos with “everything”….which includes the corn tortillas quickly dipped in the Al Pastor grease (yup….it’s THAT good), Al Pastor, chopped onions, and cilantro. A quick squeeze of lemon or lime with a little drizzle of one of their fresh salsas and I am in HEAVEN. The meat is so perfectly marinated, juicy, and gets that beautiful roasted charred flavor from the rotisserie flames.
Side accompaniments include, fresh tortillas chips, sliced cucumbers, radishes, grilled onions, and pickled jalapenos & carrots. And yes, all those fixins’ come free.
And the final kicker? Al Pastor tacos are only $1.50 each. <Pause for dramatic effect>.
Fresh. Authentic. Delicious. Cheap.
It just doesn’t get any better than that.
And if delicious rotisserie pork isn’t your thing—their menu has a little of everything to please all palettes. Their Quesadilla des Camarones is pretty amazing too. Perfectly seasoned and grilled shrimp with cheese. Yum.
So next time you see a rotisserie going with a ginormous slab of meat in front of a taqueria, stop on in and grab an Al Pastor Taco. And if you’re within a 30 mile radius of San Jose Thursday-Sunday nights, come to Metro Balderas 1.
You won’t regret it.
In fact, message me if you do. I’ll meet you there with a Negra Modela in hand.
Metro Balderas 1
688 South Almaden Avenue
San Jose, CA 95110
Did I mention they have Al Pastor???