Let me acknowledge from the start that this is an unfair comparison. You can’t begin to compare the costs and value of a Penn Quarter Mexican restaurant run by a celebrity chef with a suburban taqueria designed for Latinos.
Still, look at the difference in these photos: The top one is the pancita de puerco al pastor at Oyamel. I ordered it on Friday. It’s sort of José Andrés‘ answer to tacos al pastor, except this one includes seared “house-cured pork belly” with a guajillo sauce, pineapple, onions, and cilantro. It costs you $4, which apparently still isn’t enough to fill a single tortilla with the pricey ingredients.
This bite was so small, and such a conceptualized take on tacos al pastor, I almost thought it got intercepted on its way to the minibar. I have to admit, though, the taco was damn tasty — a reminder that it’s not the size that counts.
The photo after the jump features three tacos that I bought last year at Taqueria La Placita in Hyattsville. They were $2 each. Each was a two-ply corn tortilla taco so stuffed with meat and onions and cilantro (and other garnishes) that the fillings spilled all over the table (and your shirt, if you weren’t careful).
So what kind of taco experience do you prefer?