Chicago Tacos: Adobado Tacos at Taqueria Moran
2226 North California Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647 (map); 773-235-2663;
Must Try: Adobado Tacos
Other Options: Good carnitas and carne asada tacos ($1.75)
Most taquerias lie. Sure, there may be something called al pastor on the menu, but usually it's just marinated pork that is griddled to order. Dry and often with a burnt aftertaste, they are miles away from the glorious hunks that are carved off the best al pastor spits in town. In fact, some of the most disappointing tacos I've had in Chicago have been griddled al pastor. I've come to completely avoid the stuff unless I see a spit.
And yet, if you call that marinated pork adobado (which actually translates into marinated in Spanish) like Taqueria Moran does, then suddenly everything changes. The adobado tacos ($1.75) at this Logan Square taqueria feature juicy hunks of caramelized pork that have an intense and deep chile flavor.
Are they as mind-blowingly awesome as some al pastor can be? Well, no. But unlike even great al pastor places, which can fluctuate in quality depending on the time of day, the adobado tacos here are consistently solid at basically any hour.
All the other options are above average, if not quite truly thrilling. The carnitas ($1.75), which make a truly satisfying filling for a torta (reviewed here), feature pork with crisp edges and decent flavor, but they are missing the overwhelming porkiness that the best carnitas places achieve.
Though it needs a hefty dose of salt, the carne asada taco ($1.75) is also passable if not quite as good as the same offerings coming out of nearby Las Asadas.
Still, having one solid and dependable option is more than most taquerias can say.