My mom had been bugging me for MONTHS to take her to a good taco place as part of Tacopalooza2015. I looked at my list of places to go and consulted with Yelp and Google+ to try to impress mi madre. Pineda Tacos received a 4/5 on Yelp and a 4.6/5 on Google+. Tacopalooza2015 gave Pineda a 1/5. There is only one excuse for the disappointment we encountered at Pineda, we must have gone to the wrong location. I thought the reviews were specifically for the location we went to but I could be wrong. We went to the Pineda on East Lake Street in Minneapolis but there are also locations in West St. Paul and Plymouth. I seriously do not understand how it got such glowing reviews from these other sites. I thought the tacos were disgusting. And my mother was not impressed either.
You would think that upon walking into this large restaurant with Mexican soap operas blaring on the TV and a dude completely decked out in a cowboy hat and boots sipping on a Coke from a glass bottle would be a sure sign of a top-notch place. You’d be wrong.
Their menu was poorly displayed and options very limited. They have subway style ordering where you can customize your meal with the toppings you desire: lettuce, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, cheese, etc. But I like to keep my tacos simple so went with a bit of onion and cilantro on top of two chorizo tacos and a bit of cheese on the refried beans. My mom did the same but with the al pastor tacos per my recommendation. We agreed to swap a taco each so we could try each other’s meal.
While the execution of the chorizo tacos was terrible I sort of like the idea of it. These chorizo tacos differed from others I’ve had in that Pineda added hunks of onion, tomato, and peppers to the chorizo meat but the meat itself was sooooo soggy and greasy. I felt like I was eating sausage baby food.
The al pastor my mom had was absolutely disgusting. I took one bite and just couldn’t do anymore. It looked dry to begin with so I added more salsa verde than I normally do but I still felt like I was chewing on day old pork and couldn’t taste any marinade or seasoning. Al pastor should be a gorgeous deep red color but this was a sad tan. I think they really just used unseasoned pork.
I owe my poor mama another outing as she was pestering me for months to take her out to a good taco place after an afternoon of biking. Well, I struck out. You can’t win them all but I never would have guessed that this meal would have been as bad as it was. Also note that the cheese on the beans above has not melted into the beans. That’s because the beans were stone cold.
She looks happy and excited here but this was before we knew what sort of sadness we were biting into.
Maybe a different Pineda location is better. Maybe everyone else that rated it doesn’t know any better. Maybe I got there on an off day (I highly doubt it). I will try to visit the West St. Paul location and re-rate Pineda but I can tell you right now to stay away from the one on East Lake and Hiawatha!
Taco Rating: 1 out of 5
Taco Count: 219 (plus one bite)