the spot: Rosita’s Al Pastor 1911 E. Riverside Dr. Austin TX 78741
the eats: Al Pastor Tacos
the bucks: $2 a taco
the full nelson: An Austin fav for Al Pastor tacos
Austin has a big rep for being a taco town, especially when it comes to breakfast tacos. As far as other tacos go, that statement needs some sense of bearing. Coming from Los Angeles, I feel confident in saying that Austin is not an Al Pastor town. That being said, there are a few spots to scratch the trompo itch and locals will tell you that Rosita’s Al Pastor is one of them.
From the exterior, Rosita’s Al Pastor is as legit as any spot I have been to in LA or San Antonio. This trailer is legit AF. And the prices are honest Cheap Eats level too. When I came to Austin 4 years ago, I was shook by the average taco prices. Back then, I was getting tacos for as little as $1.25 at the cash only spots in LA. Austin was coming in at $2.50. I will say that on average the tacos are bigger here and LA taco prices, like real estate, have risen. Rosita’s charges $2 even and takes credit cards. Oh and the tacos are pretty damn hefty:
The type of tortilla you order says a lot about a man. I’m usually a corn guy but I defer to which ever tortilla is made in house, which in the case of Rosita’s is flour. I’ve grown to love a good flour tortilla since moving to Austin. In LA, it was all about corn tortillas, though new players in the taco game are changing the tortilla narrative. I think flour is the move at Rosita’s, Al Pastor for sheer size alone.
Rosita’s Al Pastor is well regarded for their crimson red al pastor and the morsels are as chewy and flavorful as they look. It was also dry. I went to the trailer on this last visit and a few years ago I went into the restaurant located in the same strip mall where the trailer is parked;;both times the result was the same: dry al pastor. I would be remiss not mention the carving technique or rather the lack thereof. The sign of a fine Al Pastor taquero is in the the way the meat is carved. Ideally it is like shawerma, thin, vertical cuts that run down the stacks of meat. As tasty as those morsels look, that ain’t how the pros do it. It is worth noting that both times I went in middle of the afternoon on a weekday, not exactly prime time for any taco truck.
Still, for a taco trailer that is hyped as the best Al Pastor in town, Rosita’s Al Pastor was a taco let down. It was tasty, cheap and they take plastic which means I’ll be heading here again, but I wouldn’t go out of my way for it. It might be worth it to try them during their peak hours, say on a Friday night around 10pm. After all they say “third time is a charm”. But after this last visit I’m feeling more of the “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice . . .”