Best Tacos

Taqueria La Placita
5020 Edmonston Road, Hyattsville; (301) 277-4477
Last summer, the wife and I ignored the swine-flu hysteria and the tales of drug-related decapitations and flew to Mexico. One of our best experiences came in a tiny open-air taqueria in a tourist-free section of Isla Mujeres, where we ate 10 tacos for less than $10. We slathered our snacks with the fly-buzzed salsas and veggies and ate happily under the curious gaze of locals, who no doubt wondered how we had wandered so far off the tourist path. You can’t exactly replicate that atmosphere in D.C. —but you can come close to the Mexican taqueria experience at La Placita in Hyattsville, where the Spanish-language jukebox is loud and the tacos come wrapped in soft corn tortillas. The tacos here aren’t like those two-bite wonders at Oyamel, where the meats have been braised to a delectably savory mush. This is a nose-to-tail taqueria, with all that implies. The oreja (ear) is rich and gelatinous, with a pleasant cartilage crunch. The cueritos (pig skin) is not the fried pork rind variety, but a soft and unctuous treatment full of pork flavor. The barbacoa is stringy and gelatinous and deeply rich. Best of all, La Placita does al pastor tacos the correct way: marinated pork roasting on a spit and served with chunks of pineapple. Some taquerias, I’d venture, don’t even know what the correct preparation is, let alone serve it.

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