I get excited at tacos. I get excited at taco trucks. Walking through a pretty sketchy part of old Las Vegas, I got excited because I spotted a taco truck.
My sister and I were on our way from buying last-minute tickets at the Neon Museum to exploring the former glitzy part of the city, several blocks away. But this area is nothing like the Strip, for sure. We walked past lots of boarded up buildings and homeless people.
At the corner of North Las Vegas Boulevard and East Bonanza Road is a tire store. And in the dusty parking lot is El Buen Pastor — literally translated as “The Good Shepherd,” but also a reference to the method of cooking marinated pork on a vertical spit.
A steady lineup of regular folks (ie, no tourists) came and went. A sure sign that this place is good.
The menu is pretty traditional with burritos, huaraches, tortas etc. Of the tacos, the pastor (pork), steak, chorizo, chicken and cabeza (head!) are $2 each, while the more “exotic” tongue, tripe (cow stomache), and buche (pork stomach) are $2.50, on soft corn tortillas.
The tacos don’t look like much when they’re served but turn to your right and voilà, a stainless steel treasure chest of salsas and condiments awaits, from cilantro and raw onions to thinly cut cucumbers.
I was super impressed at how clinically clean it was — more than some restaurants I’ve been to. And ample napkins provided too. Gold star.
The pastor with pineapple was my favourite, with the moist, marinated nuggets of meat. The tongue and chorizo were good, too. Just hearty, traditional stuff.
My sister and I ate standing at the streetside counter, but it looked like most people took their orders to eat in their cars.
We had a nice view of Vegas highway-bound traffic.
A side note, while we were waiting for our tacos we did a double-take at a sign that said “Closed Tuesdays from 2-5 a.m.” Turns out this is an almost 24-hour food truck. Well, it is Vegas, I suppose.
A pamphlet revealed that El Buen Pastor has three other restaurants in Las Vegas, but this is the only food truck.