Global Cuisine

Short Stop: Al Pastor off the Trompo on South Federal

Load up on extras like spicy pickled onions with habanero, pineapple, lime and salsa.
Load up on extras like spicy pickled onions with habanero, pineapple, lime and salsa. Molly Martin
Denver's dining scene is making a big comeback — and we're hungering to go out. With so many new ventures and old favorites to visit after more than a year of restaurant shutdowns and restrictions, the choices can be overwhelming. So we're serving up Short Stop, with recommendations for things that should definitely be on your culinary short list. This week, head to South Federal and El Sabor De Mi Puebla.

What: El Sabor De Mi Puebla

Where: 2804 South Federal Boulevard

When: 5 to 11 p.m. Thursday through Sunday

For more info: Visit the business's Facebook page
click to enlarge Al pastor on the trompo is a weekend specialty on Federal. - MOLLY MARTIN
Al pastor on the trompo is a weekend specialty on Federal.
Molly Martin
The place: Driving down South Federal Boulevard, you may spot them by trucks and trailers in dusty parking lots: towers of meat stacked on meat, spinning slowly on a trompo, which translates to "spinning top." You may spot them, but you've never stopped for a taste. Well, now is the time to change that.

While there are many options for Mexican eats on this street, I recently pulled into the parking lot of the Barn Store, home to a pop-up that specializes in al pastor cooked on a trompo. Angel Mora and his family have operated El Sabor De Mi Puebla for four years; you can find it on the corner of South Federal and Louisiana churning out a full menu of tacos, tortas, quesadillas, burritos, menudo, hamburguesas, Sinaloa-style hot dogs and more.

But on weekends and some Mondays "when we feel like it," Mora's son-in-law told me with a smile, the family sets up a griddle under a pop-up tent at the Barn Store where there are just two items on offer: tacos al pastor (pork) and asada (steak). One table is available if you opt to stay and eat your taco fresh from the trompo, which is the way to go if you want to avoid a soggy tortilla.

What you're eating: A haul of tacos available in orders of five for $10. While the asada is tasty in its simplicity, the al pastor is the main draw. Pieces of pork sliced oh-so-thin off the spinning trompo with a long knife are charred for a few minutes on the griddle before being loaded on corn tortillas and topped with a heap of diced onions and cilantro.

Once you secure your plate, you can scoop on optional additions like slices of lime, pieces of pineapple, spicy onions pickled with habenero chiles, and a mild green salsa or spicier (but not searing hot) red variety.

While I ate, I watched a steady flow of people picking up bags loaded with tacos to go and men just getting off a shift and enjoying their post-work eats in the parking lot. In a town where $5 tacos and $10 tequila shots at bars like Federales draws crowds, getting your taco fix on the side of Federal Boulevard is a delicious reminder of where and how to really experience the best of Denver's food scene. 
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Molly Martin is the Westword Food & Drink editor. She’s been writing about the dining scene in Denver since 2013, and was eating her way around the city long before that. She enjoys long walks to the nearest burrito joint and nights spent sipping cocktails on Colfax.
Contact: Molly Martin