El Cocinero is a barebones strip mall spot in Van Nuys that makes every Mexican lunch option under the sun, including tortas, mulitas, and good tacos (all vegan, of course). The soy-based carne asada looks and tastes like gyro meat, and the saucy jackfruit birria has a nice smokiness, but isn’t anything truly noteworthy. However, we strongly recommend a trip here just for the excellent al pastor tacos. The adobo marinade is extremely flavorful, with lots of sweet pineapple and chile heat, and we dig the tangy salsa that comes on the side. El Cocinero currently operates as a takeout spot, so maybe use the hood of your car as a table if you can’t wait to get home before diving in.
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