My apologies that it's taken so long to get to the next chapter in my 'Especialidad de la Casa' series where we zoom in on house specialties at Mexican restaurants around Chicago. It's a good way to showcase the wide range of regional Mexican food that can be found in the Chicagoland area.
This past winter on what was one of the coldest days ever in Chicago I warmed up with some pozole. Me and a friend took the ride out to Archer Heights with the heat on blast. I had been wanting to check out this new specialist in the neighborhood located just down the block from the beloved specialist that is Birrieria Zaragoza. As I later learned from a comment on an instagram post this place was opened by a local mother who had long wanted to open a spot of her own. She's serving family recipes with an emphasis on Pozole. The traditional Mexican hominy stew being what she made a name for herself with selling out of her garage to neighbors. The Pozole here is made fresh daily and the maiz is not canned. This makes it different than most others. From scratch for real. Pozole comes served rojo, verde, or blanco. Just what I needed on what was one of the coldest days of my life. Plus some flautas bc those are good in warm weather, rain, sleet, or snow. Small menu also featuring platters of Patitas de Puerco aka pig trotters for those that like to get gelatinous.
Pozole at Peke's Pozole
I once did a little roundup on Mexican burgers which I'm a fan of now and then. I also long ago did a roundup on Southside tacos (also a fan). In that taco roundup I featured the fantastic guisado tacos from the now gone Favela's which was at Pulaski and Archer. They were replaced by a place called Leah's Pancakes. Well since Leah's closes after lunch the people at Favela's have been able to use the kitchen for dinner service where they're serving what was their most popular item almost exclusively. Lots of locals loved Favela's for their Hamburguesa estilo Santiago Papasquiaro. It's wider than your average burger and served with the typical toppings plus bacon, jalapeños, avocado, and Muenster cheese. They also do Micheladas and wings from 4-9p weekdays and 2-9p on wkds.
Hamburger at Favela's
Melrose Park, IL
The colorful facade at this tamale shop caught my eye. I went in hoping to find Oaxacan antojitos and instead found a Tamal de Torta. The tamale sandwich has taken off in spots like DF where popular vendors have started drawing lines of people for their product. I watched as who I presumed was the owner make me a torta paying special attention to each aspect of the sandwich. He lightly toasted the bun and made sure the sour cream and beans were spread on perfectly. Then he placed two rojo tamales (my choice) in between each bun and sliced it down the middle. This is a Carb bomb and a good one considering how well made the tamales were. Which were being made by whom I presumed to be the sandwich makers wife. I'll be stopping back here for tamales next time I'm around.
Tamal de Torta at Tamaleria Oaxaca
Here's a low key great spot for carne asada. Though it's not a total secret as I had a handful of people suggest it to me over the years via DM's, emails, and live human interactions. Carniceria Maribel sits on the corner of Cermak and Wood street. On the Wood side you'll find a full out mural painting of the late great Selena in different poses. Inside you'll find all the stuff a corner grocer carries including beer and in the special case of Maribel a full fledged butcher/taqueria in back. I haven't had a chance to explore the menu in-depth and that's bc the steak is sensational. They grill skirt steak to order so anything with it is most likely going to be really good. Including what are some of the best steak tacos anywhere in Chicago. I'd put these in my top 5 for sure. The meat is higher quality than most.
Steak Taco at Carniceria Maribel
Restaurant Y Taqueria Guerrero
Back of the Yards
Jalisco and Michoacán are the dominant Mexico states repped in Chicago. But Guerrero isn’t far behind. Here you’ll find a great little Guerrerense spot helmed by a lady from Guerrero originally. Her Picaditas estilo Acapulco are awesome. They’re beautiful too in that they display the colors of the Mexico flag in the toppings. As far as tacos go at spots helmed by those from Guerrero - always go with a cecina. More times than not it’ll be one of the house specialties served on made to order corn tortillas spread with beans as is the case here. I feel lucky to live in a city with strong connections to Mexico. The food, the culture, and the people are a major part of what make Chicago so great.
Picaditas (and cecina taco) at Restaurant Y Taqueria Guerrero
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