Tacos Al Pastor
The protein component in the iconic taco al pastor, the seasoned pork cooked on the vertical rotisserie called a trompo, is marinated in a chile and spices mixture that imbues the meat with shades varying from brown to scarlet and—depending on the taqueria—varies in flavor subtly. But it’s never overpowering. Except in El Paso, where the tacos al pastor are dressed in seasoning as imposing as the Franklin Mountains. Trompos in El Paso wear chile-seed freckles as they slowly twirl in view of customers, as they do at Tacos Chinampa. Orders of six are served with half an avocado, cilantro, radishes, grilled onions, and limes. The whole lot would make for excellent late-night munching, when tacos al pastor are best. Unfortunately, Chinampa, like most of El Paso, shuts down before midnight, and the trompo is dismantled an hour before closing. Get there early.
7500 N Mesa St #302 (multiple locations), 915-581-6157. Open Sun–Thur 7 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri & Sat 7 a.m.–11 p.m. www.chinamparestaurant.com