When I lived in East Harlem for a year, Taco Mix was a place I came to often but never with a camera and notebook. It serves 116th Street efficiently, you hop in, eat on the small stand-up counter, or take your grub with you. No hassle, no fuss.
I recently walked by a couple successive days while working nearby and could not pass up the opportunity to pay the old place a visit. From the window, the view is exactly the same as it always was, a 3D menu showing you what to order without words. The beautiful trompo (spit, below) with pork rotates and advertises the big tacos al pastor ($3.25), by far the most popular item.
For the uninitiated, this type of taco is a cross-cultural product, a copying of Lebanese immigrants use of shawarma when they came to central Mexico. Of course, they would use other meats, but Mexicans love their pork and added their own touches to create this common sight. You can also see a gigantic circular cauldron bubbling to the right of the spit (above), which is cooking up the second favorites of the house, buche (stomach), and oreja (ear).
Some pineapple, cilantro and onion are used to top the simple looking but flavorful taco. If desired, their green salsa is also very good here and should be used. On the counter is self service radishes, peppers, and sauces, so help yourself.
Taco al pastor
An order of four tacos dorados runs $8, but if you ask nicely you can grab just one (below). This was eaten in the morning and was obviously yesterday's, but still good. A fresh order should be sought out later in the day. These come with a thin layer of beans, lettuce, crema, and a sprinkling of queso.
Come at the height of lunch time and fight for space with a bunch of hungry friends to be.