Torta al Pastor at Los Gallos, you’re quite the authentic dish!
I’m from San Mateo, Puebla, just like chef/owner Luis Jimenez, who wanted his restaurant to serve the food he grew up with. He based my recipe on the tacos al pastor popular in Mexico.
Tell me a bit about yourself and your nickname, “El Monstruo.”
The nickname comes from my large, Mexican-style roll. Americans aren’t the only ones who like oversized portions. I’m basically spread with refried beans, mayo and avocado, then stuffed with roasted, spiced pork and topped with pineapple, pickled jalapeños, tomatoes, sauteed onions and romaine. Not for the faint of heart or stomach.
Yowza. Can you dish on what gives you your spice?
Jimenez remains true to tradition, cooking me with a gyro machine, which gets the fat to cook out but maintains all the flavor. I’m marinated with a special blend of spices—dried chili, brown sugar, walnuts, almonds, vinegar and lemon juice.
What would you say is your secret ingredient?
Definitely my queso oaxaca, which is mixed into my marinated pork, where it melts into gooey perfection. Oaxaca is like a Mexican mozzarella: a mild, stringy cheese with a distinct fresh flavor.
What would you say is the difference between you and the tortas at other Mexican joints in Philly right now?
I don’t try to be something I’m not. I’m a sandwich. A big-ass, tasty sandwich.
Los Gallos Mexican Taqueria, 951 Wolf St. 215.551.1245. losgallosphilly.com