Monday, August 17, 2015

La Chaparrita

-Eating like a Mayan King in the Windy City

When I started the Chicago Taco Tour some 2.5 years ago I was on a mission not just to eat and then document each and every taqueria in Chicagoland but also to find a spot that was near the level of La Chaparrita. While it's far from over it's a mission I am still on. Having tried 200+ taquerias and or other spots with tacos on their menu I am still searching for a place as perfect as La Chaparrita.

a locals favorite in Little Village 

Tucked away on a corner one block off the always busy 26th street sits this family grocery that also happens to have the best taco options top to bottom. The fact I have yet to find a place as good as La Chaparrita is no indictment on Chicago's taco scene. I have heavy confidence in saying this place would be one of if not the best taquerias in every city from New York to Los Angeles including all zipcodes in Texas. It more represents a stamp being cemented when it comes to the legitimacy of Chicago's Mexican food scene. It's no doubt near the very top and Chaparrita is proof.

César at Work over the Charola

This is one of my Top 5 places to take out of town guests and also friends and family who ask me to take them to one of my favorite spots and answer "yes" when I ask "anywhere?" I never posted about it back when because they were getting tons of well deserved press. Hell even the food writer from the Washington Post stopped in when he did a survey of Chicago to be featured in a series on America's best food cities. César and his family come to Chicago from Mexico City and he brings with him a taste of home in his tacos most all of which are cooked in a round metal cooking device with a fryer in the middle. These are used all over Mexico and specifically DF. The tacos here will set you back $2 and even though they're on the slightly small side it's a great thing to be able to try a few at a time. Trust me when I say all the options are good. 

Top to Bottom: Loganiza, Crispy Tripas, Campechano

While all of the tortilla fillings at La Chaparrita are stellar, my absolute favorite taco of César's is the tripas ordered crispy. If you're unfamiliar tripas are the intestines of the pig. When properly washed they're very clean tasting and when fried crispy they basically give off a much more intense taste of bacon. I fell in love with top notch tripas as soon as I first tried them on the streets of Aguascalientes. Eat the tripas tacos in the store and you will be in for one of the crispiest treats around. César puts great care into the entire product which results in always fresh onions and cilantro and some outstanding house salsas including a wonderful avocado based version. The fact they use tortillas made not but a few miles away proves you don't have to have homemade tortillas to have top notch tacos. Try a loganiza, a loose sausage made in house similar in consistency to chorizo but different in spice. Seriously these tacos cant get any better. One of my most frequented stops in Chicago.

Trio of Tacos from La Chaparrita

La Chaparrita
2500 S Whipple St
Chicago, IL 60623
(773) 254-0975

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