Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Friday Night Fish Fry in Wisconsin

Eating like a local:
Regional food specialties

- More from Wisconsin

One of my Favorite Regional Eats

If you haven't heard, Serious Eats is switching it up. You can go over there to get the details but I'll add on here that it should be one for the better when it's all said and done. In other good news I'm not going anywhere and will contribute regional eats type posts as well as Chicago based ones. First one up is a guide to the Wisconsin Fish Fry. Regular readers know my love for the state as we feature some of the best food finds on it right here. Join me over at Serious Eats as I give the rest of the nation a peak into the Wisconsin tradition that is the Friday Fish Fry. Complete story HERE.

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Jerk Taco Man

-Grubbing in Chicago
Where the locals eat.

Note: The Jerk Taco Man has moved, please see this Reader article HERE

If you've ever been riding on the Westside and smelled sweet smoke in the air around Pulaski and Wilcox you rode right by the Jerk Taco Guy. It happened to me a few times before I was able to see him in action in the empty lot where he sets up when its warm outside. But then before I knew it the brutal winter hit and I never got a chance to go back.

Westside Ridin'

A month or so ago I was headed home riding North down Pulaski when a whiff of jerk chicken snuck through my open window. I looked to my left and there was no sign of him outside so I did a roundabout and noticed a sign of his attached to a building that was housing a hair salon. I decided to further investigate and soon realized the barber shop was also where the Jamaican Jerk Shack was at. So I walked in and brought a halt everyone's conversation before I asked if this was where the jerk chicken was at? "Right over here honey" was the reply from a lady at the register towards the back.

Pulaski and Wilcox

She showed me a menu card and I placed my order for two jerk chicken tacos ($7) which made the most sense since this was my first visit. Other items offered were the popular jerk steak tacos as well as jerk chicken dinners and other Jamaican favorites and other creations like a jerk steak sandwich and the likes. After paying I was given my receipt and told to head next door to pick up my order.

The room next door

Turns out the smoking rig is outside in the back lot of the barbershop storefront which this space is attached to. I waited for my food as lots of chopping sounds rang thru the room. Soon later my number was called. Don't throw your receipt away as this isn't a Check Please type place, more like Where's your Ticket?!?!

Prepping the Tacos

First thing you notice about these is how stuffed with chicken they are. It's too hard to eat them as is without gnawing down on some of the meat to make a better ratio of it to tortilla. Everything includes onions, cilantro, shredded cheddar and the house jerk sauce. The chicken is indeed smoked and comes with the perfect hint of it and the jerk sauce is exceptional. Really nice heat but not the type that makes you uncomfortable though not for the novice either. Overall I thought they were really good as cilantro and onion always match well with tortillas and heat. The whole process took me back to the islands as the only place to eat these is in your car or al trunko. It's only a matter of time before Caribbean Fusion tacos take hipster hoods by storm.

Jerk Chicken Taco

The Jamaican Jerk Shack aka The Jerk Taco Man
Pulaski and Wilcox
(312) 709-8281

Friday, May 9, 2014

Country Store & Catering

- The Midwest: Butchers + Bakers + Sausage and Cheese Makers

Lets get this tour rolling with warm weather and summer fun to come. I stopped into here a couple summers back and like every other local butcher shop I've been into, I really enjoyed my visit.

Sycamore, IL

According to their website this family owned and operated business has been serving the people of DeKalb County for over 25 years. I remember not buying anything as far as meats to cook in my own backyard go and that's because they roll with the slogan "The Butcher that Cooks". Good burger, good chop. Like you'd get if your buddy was a butcher and hosting people over at his place of rest for food and drink.

Cheeseburger made from fresh ground on site beef

A pork chop sandwich straight from the display case onto the grill outside

Country Store & Catering
456 N Main St
Sycamore, IL 60178
(815) 899-2333

Monday, May 5, 2014

Especialidad de la Casa Pt. 2

-Eating like a Mayan King in the Windy City

With Cinco de Mayo here I thought now would be a good time to get the second part of this ongoing series up. Join me as I set out to find the specialty's of the house at Chicago's mom and pop mexican spots. Check out Part One HERE.

Las Picosas

Popular stop with locals in the West Lawn Neighborhood

You don't have to search too hard to figure out what the specialty of the house is here. It's listed right under their name on the awning outside. Tortas Ahogadas are a regional dish from the state of Jalisco. They're particularly popular in the big city of Guadalajara and like hot dogs here, they're very popular at soccer games there. The reason the use of drowned (Ahogada) is included in their name is the fact the sandwich is drowned in a red chile sauce. At Las Picosas they use a mild tomato and chile based sauce but supply a bottle of extra hot sauce on the side for you to add on as you please. Inside the sandwich is a layer of carnitas that are topped with sliced red onions and at Las Picosas they give you a little taco dorado de papa to go with it. Stop in on a Tuesday or Wednesday and get one for just $4. A personal favorite of mine.

Torta Ahogada

Burritos Juarez

Another Popular Stop on Pulaski in West Lawn

You know that self proclaimed "food expert" every comment section has? Yeah me too. Well next time he/she tries to tell you how un-authentic burritos are, say to them, "I guess you've never eaten Norteno Mexican food" That'll humble them down a bit. Because while its true they dont eat burritos like those found at Chipotle in Mexico, there are places where the burrito is a staple in the diet. Juarez is a city in the Mexican state of Chihuahua and it's there that Norteno burritos are eaten daily. These are just large flour tortillas which are stuffed with your meat of choice, that's it. There is no sour cream or cheese and you can easily eat more than one. At Burritos Juarez they make all the fillings from scratch according to the owners mothers recipes and I always eat at least two when in need of a quick snack and riding by.

Image Image
Carne Desebrada en Salsa Verde

El Taco Feliz

Semi Newly Opened Spot on Addison just west of the highway

I hope all my loyal readers over here have been keeping up with the Chicago Taco Tour over there. I've been uncovering some real gems and one of my favorites thus far is this little shack in an old fried shrimp shop. Here's what I had to say "A hand written sign of Cochinita estilo Guerrero on the window is what got me in and I was greeted by one of the sweetest ladies I've encountered on the trail. Cochinita in Guerrero isnt as well known as the Pibil variety from the Yucatán. Here five different types of dried chiles marinate a pork roast which cooks until fall apart tender. Its the first meat mentioned in the taco section of the menu. It's also the owners grandmothers famous recipe which she used to sell on the streets back in Guerrero. The final result is both sweet and spicy. They're supposed to be eaten as is but she said she would put onions on it for me. End result was awesome."

Cochinita Estilo Guerrero

Los Tamales Oaxaquenos

Sensational Strip Mall Dining in Des Plaines

I'd driven past this place a few times and was always intrigued enough to try it but each time I had been coming from somewhere else, this is a pretty common occurrence for me. Time went by and I kind of forgot about it until a buddy over at LTHforum posted praise for the place. It still took me forever to get there but I did so recently and loved my first trip so much I was back there two days later. This is the definition of a  family run spot, mostly ladies and their recipes are sensational. The namesake Oaxacan tamales are homemade daily and in case you didn't know they're traditionally made steamed in banana leaves. Because they're also made with broth, these tend to me moister than the more well known corn husk tamales. They're available in both green and red (chicken) and it's an absolute must to order some of their house mole on the side. It's my new favorite condiment in Chicago and it's obvious from my visits I'm not the only one that loves it.

Amazing Mole Sauce and Oaxacan Style Tamales

Alfredo's Taqueria

Main Street, USA (Downers Grove)

The final specialty of the house featured will actually be a Mexican-American item found throughout San Diego. Carne Asada fries are the late night choice of both surfers and blue collar workers alike. No they didnt originate in Mexico but they do come from taquerias and restaurants run by Mexican families and such. Thus don't tell me the dish isn't authentic, tell that to the people that are making it alongside the same things you'd call authentic. Who cares because these are fantastic and something that most everyone would enjoy, whether they want to admit it or not. Alfredo's in Downers Grove is the only place I know where they're making this popular Southern California dish and as you can imagine it's a popular menu item. They take fresh cut fries and pile them with chopped skirt steak, the next layer is a huge dollop of fresh made guacamole followed with shredded cheese and and some sour cream to boot. Limes come served on the side and Alfredo's adds on their own touch of sliced jarred bell peppers to give it a little extra tang. I take no shame in saying I enjoyed them.

Carne Asada Fries

Las Picosas
6430 S Pulaski Rd
Chicago, IL 60629
(773) 735-1954

Burritos Juarez
5935 S Pulaski Rd
Chicago, IL 60629
(773) 306-2314

El Taco Feliz Taqueria
5439 W. Addison St.
Chicago, IL 60641
(773) 283-4377

Los Tamales Oaxaqueños
782 W Oakton St
Des Plaines, IL
(847) 357-1644

Alfredo's Taqueria
5231 Main St
Downers Grove, IL 60515
(630) 241-3890


Related Posts with Thumbnails