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Supermercado Taqueria Expedition w/Mike G, Sat 1/23, 11:30am

Supermercado Taqueria Expedition w/Mike G, Sat 1/23, 11:30am
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  • Supermercado Taqueria Expedition w/Mike G, Sat 1/23, 11:30am

    Post #1 - January 19th, 2010, 4:25 pm
    Post #1 - January 19th, 2010, 4:25 pm Post #1 - January 19th, 2010, 4:25 pm
    It's one of the last hidden worlds of authentic food in Chicago...

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    A place where few concessions are made to the non-native, and those who want what's good need at least a modicum of the native language and the willingness to look for indications of what might be special...

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    I've been exploring it for the last few months, all over the city, from Rogers Park to 26th street to the Indiana border. And now I invite you to come with me this Saturday and check out some of these highly authentic places.

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    What are they? They're the taquerias located inside Mexican grocery stores and supermarkets. One is rightly famous here— Tierra Caliente, formerly Carniceria Leon, home to some of the best tacos al pastor in Chicago. But there are dozens, located all over town— hidden in plain sight.

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    What makes them special and worthy of attention? One, because they're located deep inside Mexican markets, and thus largely unknown to the gringos who live nearby, they have unusually authentic menus with few concessions to non-Mexican tastes (or inability to read Spanish). Two, on weekends they often do it up big with specials such as goat consomme, caldo de siete mares, etc., which you don't normally see on restaurant menus.

    I've tried more than a dozen of these places lately, and identified ones that I think are a cut above. Usually I tried tacos de carne asada on the first visit, because that seems to represent 50% of the business at any of these places and was a good way to judge a place that cared from one that didn't; but if they emphasized something else, such as pollo al carbon or tortillas and sopes heche a mano (made by hand)—

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    —then I used that as the first data point for evaluation instead. So the idea here is, yes, I'll lead you on a tour of the ones that I thought had something special to offer. But one person, even if he's willing to order two lunches' worth of food, can only try so much on a preliminary visit. So I will encourage you to keep a sharp eye out on your own, and together through the power of an LTHForumite hive mind, I hope we can identify other outstanding dishes at the better supermercado-taquerias.

    But it will be a working expedition, with all the possibilities of new discoveries and crushing disappointments that that entails. Oh sure, you can count on some outstanding steak tacos:

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    and some pastor that might even rival Tierra Caliente:

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    But I can't guarantee that everything you try will be worth the (guaranteed low) price you will pay for it. On the other hand, only through expeditions such as these can we make discoveries such as a place offering chicken grilled over an authentic hardwood fire (ramshackle enough to make you think you just got off the bus in Guanajuato):

    Image

    Because these are often small places, I'm limiting the size of the expedition to ten besides myself, of which Cathy2 already has the first spot. Be aware that we're going to do a lot of driving (though a car is not necessary; I assume we'll have room enough if at least 3 drive), and may occasionally dine al trunko in the cold.

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    The proposed itinerary is still under construction but we will begin at Los Potrillos, 3624 W. Belmont, for goat consomme and a steak taco amuse bouche, at 11:30 am. I will provide everyone with a sheet summarizing my research to date and will be willing to evolve the itinerary as the day progresses; starting in this area, however, allows us to ensure a visit to two of the best up front, whatever else we do.

    I look forward to your participation.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
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  • Post #2 - January 19th, 2010, 4:48 pm
    Post #2 - January 19th, 2010, 4:48 pm Post #2 - January 19th, 2010, 4:48 pm
    Hi,

    I'm in. I can be a driver or a passenger, I'll wait to see how people stack up.

    This should be great fun!

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #3 - January 19th, 2010, 6:35 pm
    Post #3 - January 19th, 2010, 6:35 pm Post #3 - January 19th, 2010, 6:35 pm
    Can you add me and moetchandon to the list? We can drive others, and I'll bring my camera for additional documentation.
  • Post #4 - January 19th, 2010, 9:59 pm
    Post #4 - January 19th, 2010, 9:59 pm Post #4 - January 19th, 2010, 9:59 pm
    This sounds great! A few details--how long do you think the expedition will last? Any ballpark for how much you think each participant will spend (rough guess is fine :D )
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #5 - January 19th, 2010, 10:01 pm
    Post #5 - January 19th, 2010, 10:01 pm Post #5 - January 19th, 2010, 10:01 pm
    Count me in!
  • Post #6 - January 20th, 2010, 12:17 am
    Post #6 - January 20th, 2010, 12:17 am Post #6 - January 20th, 2010, 12:17 am
    Length, I think we're gonna go till we don't feel like going any more. Maybe that's three places, maybe four. Personally, there are cuisines I could nosh on all day, but Mexican probably isn't one of them. That's part of the reason I will pass out the sheet with my notes on a wide number of places, so you will have places to try in the future. (Yeah, it'll all get posted eventually.)

    Cost? This stuff is all pretty cheap. I could easily see hitting at least three places and everybody still having change from a $20. It just depends how much we order.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #7 - January 20th, 2010, 12:46 am
    Post #7 - January 20th, 2010, 12:46 am Post #7 - January 20th, 2010, 12:46 am
    Please add me to the list of the lucky eleven.
    "Life is a combination of magic and pasta." -- Federico Fellini

    "You're not going to like it in Chicago. The wind comes howling in from the lake. And there's practically no opera season at all--and the Lord only knows whether they've ever heard of lobster Newburg." --Charles Foster Kane, Citizen Kane.
  • Post #8 - January 20th, 2010, 7:58 am
    Post #8 - January 20th, 2010, 7:58 am Post #8 - January 20th, 2010, 7:58 am
    That's awesome, Mike G. The tacquerias are one of those gems of Chicago we miss since we moved away. We actually found one in the next town over in middle of nowhere Kentucky. It was so much fun to be back in a place where the only menu was a dry erase board on the wall and other than recognizing a few words (pastor! lengua!), we had the fun experience of simply pointing and saying 'how about one of those, and one of those, (and seeing a dish being prepared), and one of those, too."
    I hope you all have tons of fun and look forward to reading the post-trip reports.
    I hate kettle cooked chips. It takes too much effort to crunch through them.
  • Post #9 - January 20th, 2010, 8:08 am
    Post #9 - January 20th, 2010, 8:08 am Post #9 - January 20th, 2010, 8:08 am
    I'm a huge fan of joints like this, and if I worked or lived closer to an area with a plethora of these supermercados, I'd have already been to all of them. I visit a Jimenez where I work at the VERY least once a week. The prices are off the chain, and if you know what you're doing, some of the food is fantastic, and some of that food is ridiculously good for the price. I read this event last night and absolutely cursed my plans for Saturday, but my GAWD would I want to hear every flippin lil' detail - prices, salsas, tortillas, heat levels..everything.

    Ps. If you do plan on hitting a Jimenez with a tacqueria, they post their specials online, however, not all of them with a tacqueria have all of the specials - http://www.carniceriasjimenez.com/specials_2.php
    (More than likely, I'll be having that platillo de chuletas today)

    This expedition sounds like a blast and a half - good luck!
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #10 - January 20th, 2010, 8:25 am
    Post #10 - January 20th, 2010, 8:25 am Post #10 - January 20th, 2010, 8:25 am
    Like seebee, I've already got inalterable plans this weekend, but this sounds like a great expedition in the spirit of the early days of LTH! Have fun and please report back.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #11 - January 20th, 2010, 8:33 am
    Post #11 - January 20th, 2010, 8:33 am Post #11 - January 20th, 2010, 8:33 am
    Very cool, Seebee-- it never would have occurred to me that they'd advertise the taqueria specials on a supermarket flyer but... of course they do!
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #12 - January 20th, 2010, 9:07 am
    Post #12 - January 20th, 2010, 9:07 am Post #12 - January 20th, 2010, 9:07 am
    Is there room for one more? I'll have to drive separately, as me & Mr. Pie have plans later on with an time TBA. But my mouth's already watering!
    I want to have a good body, but not as much as I want dessert. ~ Jason Love

    There is no pie in Nighthawks, which is why it's such a desolate image. ~ Happy Stomach

    I write fiction. You can find me—and some stories—on Facebook, Twitter and my website.
  • Post #13 - January 20th, 2010, 10:24 am
    Post #13 - January 20th, 2010, 10:24 am Post #13 - January 20th, 2010, 10:24 am
    Can I get a copy of your list? Fifille and I would like to do this but since I've got the kids this weekend we thought it would make for too large a group. Perhaps we will follow in your footsteps on Sunday.
    I used to think the brain was the most important part of the body. Then I realized who was telling me that.
  • Post #14 - January 20th, 2010, 10:29 am
    Post #14 - January 20th, 2010, 10:29 am Post #14 - January 20th, 2010, 10:29 am
    Please, please, please, I'd love to come and I'll be happy to drive, count me in. Thanks for doing this MikeG.
    For what we choose is what we are. He should not miss this second opportunity to re-create himself with food. Jim Crace "The Devil's Larder"
  • Post #15 - January 20th, 2010, 11:29 am
    Post #15 - January 20th, 2010, 11:29 am Post #15 - January 20th, 2010, 11:29 am
    Cathy2 wrote:Hi,

    I'm in. I can be a driver or a passenger, I'll wait to see how people stack up.

    This should be great fun!

    Regards,


    If you're driving, I'm riding (pending work schedule).
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #16 - January 20th, 2010, 12:00 pm
    Post #16 - January 20th, 2010, 12:00 pm Post #16 - January 20th, 2010, 12:00 pm
    David Hammond wrote:
    Cathy2 wrote:Hi,

    I'm in. I can be a driver or a passenger, I'll wait to see how people stack up.

    This should be great fun!

    Regards,


    If you're driving, I'm riding (pending work schedule).

    Deal!
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #17 - January 20th, 2010, 12:53 pm
    Post #17 - January 20th, 2010, 12:53 pm Post #17 - January 20th, 2010, 12:53 pm
    I'd like to go, but have a class until 11 a.m. Could you tell me the next stop on the journey, about 12 p.m.? Thanks - Ruth
  • Post #18 - January 20th, 2010, 1:22 pm
    Post #18 - January 20th, 2010, 1:22 pm Post #18 - January 20th, 2010, 1:22 pm
    Sadly, we've got an incredibly full weekend and we can't make it - but I frequently stop off and buy dinner from one of the many Supermercados in Rogers Park, in particular I enjoy watching them hack apart a roast chicken for me at Supermercado Chapala...and I might stop by and get one for dinner Saturday night in hopes I'll run into you all!

    Terrific idea, Mike!
  • Post #19 - January 20th, 2010, 1:41 pm
    Post #19 - January 20th, 2010, 1:41 pm Post #19 - January 20th, 2010, 1:41 pm
    Okay, so here's the count...

    1. Cathy2
    2-3. Nr706/Moetchandon
    4. Boudreaulicious (that was a signup, right, not just the question?)
    5. CrazyC
    6. Tarte Tatin
    7. Pie Lady
    8. Mbh
    9. David Jamon
    10.

    I'm going to leave one slot and not consider Bruthsmirnoff one of the 10 if she joins us later. I will contact her separately.

    By the way, I don't think we're going to hit Chapala because chicken is one of the highlights of another spot on the itinerary, but I quite agree, they do a first-rate grilled chicken with a nicely subtle (ie, not just Goya Sazon) spicing.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #20 - January 20th, 2010, 5:33 pm
    Post #20 - January 20th, 2010, 5:33 pm Post #20 - January 20th, 2010, 5:33 pm
    Sadly, I'm going to be out-of-town. Maybe the next one!

    Jyoti
    Jyoti
    A meal, with bread and wine, shared with friends and family is among the most essential and important of all human rituals.
    Ruhlman
  • Post #21 - January 20th, 2010, 5:38 pm
    Post #21 - January 20th, 2010, 5:38 pm Post #21 - January 20th, 2010, 5:38 pm
    Actually, I wasn't sure I could make it but I know that I can now so thanks for adding me :D I have a friend who may join me but don't know yet so keep going and if there's still a spot open when he knows, then I'll take it!
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #22 - January 20th, 2010, 10:26 pm
    Post #22 - January 20th, 2010, 10:26 pm Post #22 - January 20th, 2010, 10:26 pm
    Do you know who will be driving?
  • Post #23 - January 20th, 2010, 10:41 pm
    Post #23 - January 20th, 2010, 10:41 pm Post #23 - January 20th, 2010, 10:41 pm
    I will (room for 3 more), Cathy will, who else?
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #24 - January 20th, 2010, 10:46 pm
    Post #24 - January 20th, 2010, 10:46 pm Post #24 - January 20th, 2010, 10:46 pm
    CrazyC wrote:Do you know who will be driving?

    Char, I was planning to pick you up, if you'd like. I already promised to give David a ride, too. I'm good for 1 (-2) more people.

    I'm guessing nr706, moet chandon and tarte tatin are driving together.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #25 - January 20th, 2010, 10:48 pm
    Post #25 - January 20th, 2010, 10:48 pm Post #25 - January 20th, 2010, 10:48 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:
    CrazyC wrote:Do you know who will be driving?

    Char, I was planning to pick you up, if you'd like. I already promised to give David a ride, too. I'm good for 1 (-2) more people.


    Great! Thanks Cathy!
  • Post #26 - January 20th, 2010, 11:06 pm
    Post #26 - January 20th, 2010, 11:06 pm Post #26 - January 20th, 2010, 11:06 pm
    I don't have the car Saturday so a ride would be much appreciated. I live on Belmont and was just going to hop the bus down to meet you, assuming I can catch a ride for the rest of the expedition...
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #27 - January 20th, 2010, 11:11 pm
    Post #27 - January 20th, 2010, 11:11 pm Post #27 - January 20th, 2010, 11:11 pm
    boudreaulicious wrote:I don't have the car Saturday so a ride would be much appreciated. I live on Belmont and was just going to hop the bus down to meet you, assuming I can catch a ride for the rest of the expedition...

    If you get yourself to the first stop, you are pretty much guaranteed a ride.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #28 - January 21st, 2010, 9:45 am
    Post #28 - January 21st, 2010, 9:45 am Post #28 - January 21st, 2010, 9:45 am
    I'm going to drive also, so I'm happy to take anyone (room for 3-4), but if we want to consolidate I can leave my car ride with someone else.
    For what we choose is what we are. He should not miss this second opportunity to re-create himself with food. Jim Crace "The Devil's Larder"
  • Post #29 - January 21st, 2010, 1:30 pm
    Post #29 - January 21st, 2010, 1:30 pm Post #29 - January 21st, 2010, 1:30 pm
    boudreaulicious wrote:Actually, I wasn't sure I could make it but I know that I can now so thanks for adding me :D I have a friend who may join me but don't know yet so keep going and if there's still a spot open when he knows, then I'll take it!


    If that extra spot is still available, I'll take it--I have a "wing girl". Neither of us has a car but sounds like there are plenty of drivers available.

    see ya Saturday!
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #30 - January 21st, 2010, 1:43 pm
    Post #30 - January 21st, 2010, 1:43 pm Post #30 - January 21st, 2010, 1:43 pm
    OK, we're full. Report to follow...
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.

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