Empellón Al Pastor


Well, I’m a huge fan of the Empellón line, I’ve dined at Empellón Cocina and Tacqueria a number of times. Now, with their third installation, Al Pastor in the East Village, I naturally had to pay it a visit. 


With the same quality and integrity as their other locations, this spot focuses more on the bar atmosphere, where seating is first come first serve in a quick-serve style, serving up a variety of tequilas and mezcals, and then snacks of tacos, sides, and chips all $4 each and gluten free. 


You’ll find similar tie-ins with decor too, like their skull-faced pictures on the wall, but, you’ll also find a gigantic lama, skeletons, stacks of cash mural on the ceiling. Because, what else would you paint there?


To start, I ordered their Classic Margarita (Pueblo Viejo Blanco, fresh lime, smoked salt). Pure delight. Their drinks never disappoint me, and this one is no exception. 


First, I had their Guacamole with Chips. The chips are a bit thicker than your average chip, making them substantial and crisp, and not breaking in half with you scoop up some of the rich and creamy guac. 


Next, I had their Nopales Taco (nopales, arbol chile, queso fresco, cilantro, onion, salsa). This was great. Served on a soft, yet meaty, corn tortilla, all of the ingredients taste fresh and dynamic. There’s a great heat with this one, but smoothed out a bit from the queso fresco. 


Then I had the Oyster Mushroom Taco (oyster mushrooms, a la Mexicana, cilantro, onion, salsa). Now, I couldn’t effortlessly pick out all of the components here, but, I will say it was delicious. The mushrooms and plump, and packed with flavor, and married very well with the other ingredients. 

The Shorts:
Name: Empellón Al Pastor
Location: 132 St. Marks Place, NYC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? For sure, the drinks are awesome, the food is great and super affordable, and the atmosphere is really relaxed and casual. 
Would I recommend it? Yes. I’d recommend either getting there before the crowds (before 7pm), or after (around 9pm) if you want a place to sit and eat. Since it’s all quick-serve, you order at the counter, given a table number, and your food is brought out to you. 



Chi’Lantro BBQ


My SXSW food tour continues at Chi’Lantro BBQ in Downtown Austin. This highly popular food truck is making Korean BBQ and Mexican Fusion Tacos.


I ordered their Tofu Tacos (soft, double-layered corn tortillas, soy vinaigrette Korean salad, cilantro, onion, Chi’Lantro salsa). These are some totally tasty tacos. The tofu is cubed and fried, giving it a great crisp outside and soft inside, absorbing the flavors from the soy vinaigrette and salsa like a little soy sponge. The salsa is great, spicy, and is complimented by the freshness of the salad and cilantro. 

The Shorts:
Name: Chi’Lantro BBQ
Location: Location changes, you can check where they’ll be here.
The Long and Short: Would I go back? Absolutely, I’ve actually gone the three times I’ve been to Austin.
Would I recommend it? Yes, the Kimchi Fries are also something to try and the Seoul Burrito is pretty unreal.