#10: Tacos al Pastor at La Vallesana

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Tacos al pastor at La Vallesana - IAN FROEB
  • Ian Froeb
  • Tacos al pastor at La Vallesana
Over the past few years, nothing on the St. Louis food scene has fascinated or delighted me as much as the growing number and popularity of taquerias. While of late my passion for tacos and tortas has brought me to the communities near the airport, my heart will always belong to Cherokee Street -- and, specifically, to the tacos al pastor at La Vallesana.

The secret, I think, is the rub. The pork here is a deeper shade of red than I've seen in other al pastor meat around town. It's not just a matter of color. The taste is sharper, spicier. A bite of the pineapple that accompanies the taco's meat, onion (both sautéed and raw) and cilantro is sweet and cooling, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice intensifies every flavor.

If you like to top your tacos with salsa, you have two choices here: a smoky, very spicy red and a piquant, equally hot green. Because life is short and I don't know how many more tacos I'll have to eat before my time is up, I use a little of each.

La Vallesana
2801 and 2818 Cherokee Street*
314-776-4423
$1.75 (each)

* - Original location at 2801 Cherokee currently being rebuilt. Full menu available at La Vallesana 2 at 2818 Cherokee.

I'm counting down -- in no particular order -- 100 of my favorite dishes in St. Louis. Some are well-known, others obscure. Some are expensive, others dirt cheap. All of them, I guarantee, are delicious. Please do not hesitate to share your own favorites via the comments thread.

Previously:

#11: The Heath Bar concrete at Ted Drewes Frozen Custard
#12: Beef tongue at Café Natasha's Kabob International
#13: The root beer braised short rib at Monarch
#14: The egg raviolo at Acero
#15: Pappardelle at the Tavern Kitchen + Bar
#16: Carnitas at La Tejana Taqueria
#17: Benne's Farm half chicken at Five Bistro
#18: Dátiles rellenos at Modesto
#19: Hot-and-sour noodles at Joy Luck Buffet
#20: Lamb vindaloo at India Palace

#21: Channa masala at Raj's Rasoi
#22: The blueberry scone at La Dolce Via
#23: Gang kua ped yang at Addie's Thai House
#24: Bánh xèo at Banh Mi So #1 - Saigon Gourmet
#25: Mojarra dorada at Garduño's Mexican Food
#26: "It" at Mammer Jammer
#27: Two eggs over-easy, bacon and hash browns at the Courtesy Diner
#28: Seafood at Farmhaus
#29: The "Edgar Allan Poe" at Dewey's Pizza
#30: The "Heart Stopping BLT" and a chocolate malt at Crown Candy Kitchen

Previously (Continued):

#31: Smoked half-chicken at PM BBQ
#32: The smoked chicken pizza at Onesto Pizza & Trattoria
#33: The baby-back ribs (or the burger) at the Piccadilly at Manhattan
#34: Albóndigas caseras con patatas at the Guido's Pizzeria & Tapas
#35: The "Sweet Burger" at SweetArt
#36: Buffalo fries at Blueberry Hill
#37: Tom yum gai at Pearl Café
#38: Cassoulet (and Sweetbreads) at Franco
#39: The "Papasan Roll" at Miso on Meramec
#40: Lasagna at Mama Josephine's

#41: The "Bucktown" Pizza at Pi Pizzeria
#42: Pla song kruang at Basil Spice Thai Cuisine
#43: Chori pollo at Mi Ranchito
#44: Pizza at La Pizza
#45: Fried chicken at Young's Restaurant & Ice Creamery
#46: The Philly Cheesesteak at 9th Street Deli
#47: Smoked chicken wings at Flavors BBQ Sports Bar & Grill
#48: Coffee and a pastry at 222 Artisan Bakery
#49: The torta ahogada at Taqueria Durango
#50: The "Morganford Mediterranean" Sandwich at Local Harvest Café & Catering

#51: Vegetable korma at Gokul Snacks & Sweets
#52: Schnitzel & spaetzle at Iron Barley
#53: Oxtail stew at De Palm Tree
#54: Pho at Pho Long
#55: Gyro at Anthonino's Taverna
#56: The Lemon Drop Cupcake at the Cup
#57: Pupusas at Tres Banderas
#58: Gumbo at the Gumbo Shop
#59: The burger at Newstead Tower Public House
#60: Quesadillas tradicionales at Milagro Modern Mexican

#61: "7th Street Sicilian" Po' Boy at Blues City Deli
#62: Tamales at Taqueria la Pasadita
#63: Ćevapi at Bosna Gold
#64: Lemon meringue and pine nut torte at BitterSweet Bakery
#65: Chile Morita con Puerco at Señor Pique
#66: Soda chanh duong (sparkling lemonade) at Lemon Grass
#67: Nachos grande at Nachomama's
#68: Pizza with pepperoni, sausage and mushroom at Pizza-a-Go-Go
#69: Bill's "Burger Meister Burger" at Cardwell's at the Plaza
#70: Sake (salmon) nigiri sushi at Nobu's Japanese Restaurant

#71: Massaman curry at Simply Thai
#72: The lunch buffet at Mayuri
#73: Fried chicken (spicy) at Porter's Fried Chicken
#74: Arancini at Lorenzo's Trattoria
#75: Meat shawarma at The Vine Mediterranean Café & Market
#76: The South Side Smoke at sandwich at Stellina Pasta Café
#77: Falafel at Kabob House
#78: A slice with pepperoni at Feraro's Jersey-Style Pizza
#79: Birria at Pueblo Nuevo
#80: Banh mi dac biet at Phuc Loi

#81: Prosciutto bianca pizza at the Good Pie
#82: Gold Coast Chocolate ice cream at Serendipity Homemade Ice Cream
#83: Hot salami (salam de testa) at Gioia's Deli
#84: Veal parmesan sandwich at Biggie's
#85: Nachos (with jalapeños and extra cheese cup) at Busch Stadium
#86: Lobster bisque at Café Ventana
#87: Calamari fritti at Mangia Italiano
#88: Brisket sandwich at Winslow's Home
#89: Paletas at La Vallesana 2
#90: Spaghetti and meatballs at Sugo's Spaghetteria

#91: The Michael burger at Michael's Bar & Grill
#92: Fried egg and ham toastie at the Schlafly Tap Room
#93: Bavarian chips with Welsh rarebit at Dressel's
#94: Onion soup at Brasserie by Niche
#95: Baby-back ribs at 17th Street Bar & Grill
#96: Kingshighway burger at the Royale
#97: Gyro sandwich at South Grand Gyro Express
#98: Carne asada tacos at El Paisano (Watson Road)
#99: Pretzel bites at Joey B's on the Hill
#100: Hot and sour soup at Shu Feng Restaurant

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