Serious taco fans and South Philly neighbors know well by now that some of Philly's best Mexican food is coming out of a cart, only on weekends at Eighth and Watkins. Cristina Martinez and Ben Miller's South Philly Barbacoa has racked up critical acclaim (Inquirer critic Craig LaBan named them among the 15 best things he ate in 2014), sold out special dinners hosted by iconic local artist Isaiah Zagar, and contributed a stunning segment to Han Chiang's recent episode of Chef's Night Out.
Of course, a stop by the cart is recommended any time, especially with nicer weather finally here. But if your schedule or location has kept you from paying the cart a visit, you're in luck — Martinez and Miller are branching out with a number of events that should definitely go on your calendar this spring.
Miller says to expect the same menu at their events that you'd see streetside at Eighth and Watkins: lamb barbacoa, pancita (offal stuffed sausage-style inside the lamb's stomach lining), and consomme served alongside warm tortillas and condiments, simply and abundantly.
Monday, April 20
South Philly Barbacoa will be the special guests for this month's Fishtown Taco Exchange at Sancho Pistola's. (As always, this is pay-as-you-go; follow Sancho's on Twitter for more details as the event nears.) 7 p.m., Sancho Pistola's, 19 West Girard Avenue.
Tuesday, April 21
Barbacoa hits Han Dynasty for an all-you-can-eat blowout in the private dining room for a mere $20 per person. "I am going to smother my barbacoa taco in chile oil," says Miller, which sounds delicious but also a little dangerous, given how Han profusely sweated his way through his tacos on Munchies. (Note: You're also welcome to order off Han Dynasty's regular menu and drink all you want; everything aside from the barbacoa meal is pay-as-you-go.) 7 p.m., Han Dynasty Old City, 123 Chestnut Street.
Monday, May 4
Open to anyone who works in the restaurant industry and can produce a paystub to prove it, the Vetri family's monthly Industry Night at Alla Spina will feature a barbacoa spread in May. And they'll be serving alongside more Vetri alumni, of Mom-Mom's Polish food cart and Los Jimenez taqueria. As always, entry and food are free, and drinks are cheap. (They're also promising to stream the James Beard Awards, as well as the Star Wars trilogy in honor of Star Wars Day.) 9 p.m., Alla Spina, 1410 Mt. Vernon Street.
Tuesday, May 5
Taproom on 19th will host a Barbacoa pop-up for their Cinco de Mayo party, which will also feature beers from Brooklyn's Sixpoint. They're promising barbacoa from opening "until it's gone," so don't put it off. 5 p.m., Taproom on 19th, 2400 South 19th Street.