#10: Tacos al Pastor at La Vallesana

Mar 22, 2011 at 9:00 am
Tacos al pastor at La Vallesana - Ian Froeb
Ian Froeb
Tacos al pastor at La Vallesana
Over the past few years, nothing on the St. Louis food scene has fascinated or delighted me as much as the growing number and popularity of taquerias. While of late my passion for tacos and tortas has brought me to the communities near the airport, my heart will always belong to Cherokee Street -- and, specifically, to the tacos al pastor at La Vallesana.

The secret, I think, is the rub. The pork here is a deeper shade of red than I've seen in other al pastor meat around town. It's not just a matter of color. The taste is sharper, spicier. A bite of the pineapple that accompanies the taco's meat, onion (both sautéed and raw) and cilantro is sweet and cooling, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice intensifies every flavor.

If you like to top your tacos with salsa, you have two choices here: a smoky, very spicy red and a piquant, equally hot green. Because life is short and I don't know how many more tacos I'll have to eat before my time is up, I use a little of each.

La Vallesana
2801 and 2818 Cherokee Street*
$1.75 (each)

* - Original location at 2801 Cherokee currently being rebuilt. Full menu available at La Vallesana 2 at 2818 Cherokee.

I'm counting down -- in no particular order -- 100 of my favorite dishes in St. Louis. Some are well-known, others obscure. Some are expensive, others dirt cheap. All of them, I guarantee, are delicious. Please do not hesitate to share your own favorites via the comments thread.


#11: The Heath Bar concrete at Ted Drewes Frozen Custard
#12: Beef tongue at Café Natasha's Kabob International
#13: The root beer braised short rib at Monarch
#14: The egg raviolo at Acero
#15: Pappardelle at the Tavern Kitchen + Bar
#16: Carnitas at La Tejana Taqueria
#17: Benne's Farm half chicken at Five Bistro
#18: Dátiles rellenos at Modesto
#19: Hot-and-sour noodles at Joy Luck Buffet
#20: Lamb vindaloo at India Palace

#21: Channa masala at Raj's Rasoi
#22: The blueberry scone at La Dolce Via
#23: Gang kua ped yang at Addie's Thai House
#24: Bánh xèo at Banh Mi So #1 - Saigon Gourmet
#25: Mojarra dorada at Garduño's Mexican Food
#26: "It" at Mammer Jammer
#27: Two eggs over-easy, bacon and hash browns at the Courtesy Diner
#28: Seafood at Farmhaus
#29: The "Edgar Allan Poe" at Dewey's Pizza
#30: The "Heart Stopping BLT" and a chocolate malt at Crown Candy Kitchen