Sky Full of Bacon

#15, #16: A Tale of Two Tacos

Sunday, driving up Elston.  I spot that a perpetual, never especially interesting hot dog stand has suddenly become a taco place.  The name, Taqueria LP Express, seems generic, but they are touting their steak tacos.

I soon understand why: the LP stands for La Pasadita, the famous trio of steak taco joints on Ashland near Division.  The same family owns several places with various names (Las Asadas, for instance), and this is a slightly less hidden-in-plain-sight version, since signage and clippings are at some pains to establish that you’re getting the real La Pasadita deal.  Which you pretty much do; I’ve never thought La Pasadita’s were the greatest steak tacos on earth, but they’re certainly good, and they’re certainly better than anything else Mexican I know of on that stretch of Elston (not far from the supremely 1950s-looking Las Cazuelas).

Taqueria LP Express
4968 N. Elston

Driving down Ashland, scouting out unknown sout’-side places.  I see what looks like it used to be a fast food place I can’t quite identify, advertising tacos, breakfast, rib tips, all kinds of stuff, but not actually bearing a name.  41st and Ashland.  It’s next to a pork processing plant so I make two quick assumptions: one, it’s their de facto cafeteria, two, order the pork.

Both seem correct to me.  I order a pork and a steak taco.  The steak is lame, overseasoned to make up for many manifest deficiencies.  But the roast pork seems pretty good and tasty, roast pig, what’s not to like.  I get a call from Pigmon on my cell (this stop was, I must admit, merely a recon stop for our real lunch to follow immediately) and tell him he should come have the carnitas, the pork.

Ten minutes later he orders the pork and the al pastor.  The pastor is lousy, mealy, kind of gross.  A moment later I notice he’s eating the pastor while avoiding the pork.  “You’re not eating the carnitas?”

“The pastor blows.  But it’s the best thing here.”

“I didn’t think the pork was so bad…” I say, suddenly my own opinion of the meal thrown in doubt, like a guy who was standing up for Franzia Rosé in front of a stranger who turns out to be Robert Parker.

“Worst I’ve ever had.  Totally tastes like ass.”

So I don’t know what I think now.  I mean, it’s not like I would have recommended this cafeteria-like place overall to begin with, but I did think the pork was okay, it’s roasted pork, a pretty simple pleasure that I was okay with.  I guess the only thing to do is to sum it up like Alpana on a Check, Please:

“And we tried carnitas at Kiki D’s Carnitas Family Restaurant in the Back of the Yards neighborhood.  Mike enjoyed the pictures of the soccer team they sponsor and the roast pork carnitas.  Pigmon thought everything tasted like ass, and wouldn’t feed that shit to a dying donkey.”

Kiki D’s Carnitas
4117 S. Ashland

Academy award winner Sir Ben Kingsley as Kiki D, the ex-military soccer coach from Kazakhstan who turns a lovable gang of inner city kids into international champions in Carnitas! from Touchstone Pictures.

P.S. Chuck Sudo reviewed Kiki D’s once.  He agrees with Pigmon.

P.P.S. We finally had lunch here.

To see more in this series, click Restaurant Reviews at right and look for the numbered reviews.

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