Ever since being introduced to taco trucks in Oakland, I've been a big fan of al pastor tacos. After living in LA, and finding some of the best al pastor this side of the border (Tacos Leos taco truck), I've been a fanatic. Since moving from LA, I make it a goal to seek out the best al pastor in the area and since coming to Chicago 2 months ago we've been disappointed. After doing a lot of research I was expecting to be wowed by Tierra Caliente, but we were actually repulsed (apparently we went at a bad time, and I still intend to give them another shot around 11:30am). The best we had found was at L'Patron, which was ok, but not from a spit and lacked the true flavor and depth of spit roasted al pastor.
Fast forward to today, when I had planned a trip to La Chaparrita, which was next on my list of taquerias to try, and wanted to add another taqeuria nearby to try out. I did some quick searching on LTHforums and came across (taqueria) Los Barrilitos, which had al pastor on a spit (at least according to some pics). It was pretty close to La Chaparrita too. Perfect. We went to La Chaparrita first, and thought it was good all across the board (tacos de: longaniza, al pastor, asada and cabeza). The asada was not chopped up, but surprisingly good, the al pastor did not come from a spit, but had small chunks of pineapple, and for non-spit al pastor was good. The longaniza was good too, though I have to give the nod to L'Patron's chorizo. The tortillas were good here as well, and service was excellent.
A quick trip down to Los Barrilitos and I knew we were in for a good experience when I saw the beautifully layered pork on the spit. We ordered al pastor and asada tacos and these were more substantial than La Chaparrita and cheaper. The al pastor came in thin, marinated strips and were excellent. The real deal. They came without a slice of pineapple, which I expect was because they were out (I didn't see a pineapple on the spit or anywhere else in the kitchen), and that is my only complaint. A slice of pineapple would have elevated these to sublime. The asada was very good as well, and their salsas were excellent, and they provided an onion/habenero escabeche to add some heat. This place is easily the best taqueria in my very limited time in Chicago, but I expect it will be hard to find a better one.
Chowhounders, do yourself a favor and give this taqueria your patronage. Next time you find yourself at La Chaparrita, only order 3 tacos and drive down to Los Barrilitos afterwards for 3 more to compare for yourself.