Stop #3: The King of Chicken
Joe spotted these guys grilling outside along Vernor Hwy, and said "we've got to check this out." It turns out that they were grilling chicken, and selling it by the half or whole chicken. Since eating half a chicken would have (a) been a departure from our taco theme, and (b) taken us out of the game for the rest of the day, we took the griller's advice and went into the attached restaurant for some tacos de pollo made with the pollo they were cooking on the grill.
A word of warning here: yes, the restaurant is kind of run down. There's broken stuff, it's dark, and the tables don't match. The booth where we were sitting used to be a hood; we realized after a few minutes that we were surrounded by stainless steel and had fire suppression nozzles pointing down at us. This is not a tourist spot like Xochimilco's or Los Galanes, or even a more upscale authentic place like El Comal or Arandas. But it's clean (even the bathroom was immaculate), and when the tacos came out, we were stunned:
Huge, gorgeous, loaded with juicy red-sauced hunks of that grilled chicken, and so hot we couldn't even pick them up at first. The salsa was great too — spicy and way better than the table salsa they gave us — but the chicken! The chicken was the real star. Moist, flavorful, not as spicy as it looks by a long shot (some of that red color is achiote, not chilies). We also had a chorizo taco: equally huge, with a lot of spicy chorizo, and the same sauce.
While we were eating it, the guy on the grill (who may well have been Armando himself) leaned through the sliding window beside our table and asked what we thought. When Joe told him (in Spanish) how good it was, he passed us some chicken pieces straight from the grill as a free sample. Heaven!
Highly, highly recommended. We'd also recommend you park your car where the grill guys (or you) can keep an eye on it, because there were some folks hanging out in the area drinking.
Armando, the king of chicken, is out there grilling most (all?) of the year. Just drive along Vernor Hwy and look his roadside tents between Lansing and Ferdinand St. in the Mexican Town.