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Had al pastor and carnitas at La Altena, should I have had carne asada?

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Had al pastor and carnitas at La Altena, should I have had carne asada?

Susancinsf | May 12, 2006 09:48 PM

I've read several recent very positive reports of one of the meats at La Altena, a taqueria on Mission near 30th, right next to the Safeway, but despite its proximity to home hadn't been in quite some time..

So decided today was the day to check it out. My search engine didn't seem to be up to par, however, so I couldn't dig up those old posts. I hate when that happens...

oh well, left to my own devices, I order two tacos al pastor, and one de carnitas.

Tacos came with chips, which had a home-made taste and mouth feel and were not greasy, but alas they were stone cold and just this side of going stale. Bet they'd be good if you hit the place when they were fresh. The hot sauce served with the chips was on the thick side, very good and had a nice kick: I could see the pieces of jalapeno and these were real jalapenos. Points for the salsa.

The tacos themselves: I had thought it was the al pastor that everyone liked here, but hopefully no, as I found it to be disappointing. Not bad, mind you, but nothing special. Certainly not nearly as good as the al pastor at Lupillos near my office in Oakland.

Carnitas did have a few crunchy ends, but the majority of the meat (which they do pile on) was sort of bland. Again, not bad, but no wow factor. Tortillas for both types of tacos were average.

That said, La Altena has a nice feel to it, the folks are friendly, and I would like to go back to check out some of the other menu offerings, particularly the sopes and the shrimp dishes...they also have lengua in salsa verde, which sounds worth trying. Menudo and Birria, $6.75 on Saturdays and Sundays.

What did I miss that I should have tried, for my next trip?

La Altena
3346 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110
415-647-1980

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