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#1
Posted October 28th 2007, 1:36pm
I drove by the Carniceria Leon on Ashland this morning - sign is replaced (or covered) by a different one declaring it was now Carniceria Tierra [Something] (I forget what).

Wonder what happened? Will the pastor be the same? Any intelligence?

1402 N Ashland Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 772-9804
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#2
Posted October 28th 2007, 3:49pm
There was another Leon out west. Maybe they split and that one kept the name?

Here's hoping everything stays the same.
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Ed Fisher
my chicago food photos

RIP LTH.
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#3
Posted November 1st 2007, 3:48pm
gleam wrote:Here's hoping everything stays the same.

Ed,

After a dismal lunch at Tony C's favorite buffet, Buffet Palace (not my idea), I invoked the Kuhdo Rule* and stopped at Carniceria Y Taqueria Tierra Caliente, formerly Carniceria Leon . As I understand it Leon has been Caliente since September '06, but they just got around to changing the sign. The Armitage Ave Leon ownership did not change. **

Nothing seems to have changed and the Al Pastor was as good as ever.

Enjoy,
Gary

*If your first dinner is not up to snuff you owe it to yourself to have a second.

**I do not speak Spanish, but am fairly sure I caught the gist of the conversation correctly

Carniceria Y Taqueria Tierra Caliente (Was Caniceria Leon)
1400 N Ashland
Chicago, IL
773-772-9804

Carniceria Leon II
4301 W Armitage Ave
Chicago, IL 60639
773-276-9935
Last edited by G Wiv on November 1st 2007, 6:33pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#4
Posted November 1st 2007, 3:56pm
G Wiv wrote:After a dismal lunch at Tony C's favorite buffet, Buffet Palace (not my idea)


Maybe you should start a thread titled, "My Last Abominable Meal @ Buffet Palace?" :wink:

Thanks for the investigative journalism here. Good news.
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#5
Posted November 1st 2007, 4:18pm
As a fan of the Buffet Palace, I am saddened to hear you had a bad meal. In my defense I have only ever eaten there on weekend evenings when most buffets are much better.
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#6
Posted November 1st 2007, 4:33pm
Fantastic news, gary, thanks!
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Ed Fisher
my chicago food photos

RIP LTH.
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#7
Posted November 2nd 2007, 8:49am
Octarine wrote:As a fan of the Buffet Palace, I am saddened to hear you had a bad meal. In my defense I have only ever eaten there on weekend evenings when most buffets are much better.

Mike,

It wasn't so much an overtly bad meal as dull, boring, bland. Mini chive dumplings gelatinous, chili chicken sweet and sticky, General Tso's chicken sweet, sticky, not really distinct as chicken, and I could go on. The only passably tasty item was a 5-spice flavored roasted chicken thigh which was on the dry side.

For my once a year Chinese buffet fix I'm sticking with Hong Kong Buffet, General Tso's chicken is crunchy, veggies still have a wee bit of life to them and the chili oil is, if not complex, at least spicy hot.

Enjoy,
Gary

Hong Kong Buffet
6249 N Mccormick Rd
Chicago, IL 60659
773-649-0888
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Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

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#8
Posted November 2nd 2007, 9:06am
G Wiv wrote:It wasn't so much an overtly bad meal as dull, boring, bland.

That was my take on Buffet Palace, too, the one time I ate there. I had gone in a previous time just to scout the place out, and was intrigued by the many wonderful- and exotic-looking offerings. It seemed to hold the promise for me of being able to taste lots of things I'd be afraid or intimidated to order on a menu in Chinatown. I.e., I could try them without having to talk to anybody and risk making a complete fool of myself. When I went there to eat (on a weekday lunch, which may have been the problem), I filled my plate with those same fantastic-looking things, only to discover that none of them tasted like anything. The how-good-it-looks to how-good-it-is ratio was very high. (I should say that nothing tasted bad, either; it's just that nothing tasted, beyond the most obvious "flavor notes" of sweet and/or salty.)
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#9
Posted November 4th 2007, 3:12pm
Grabbed a few quick tacos last night. I don't think that 7pm on a Saturday is peak performance hours here. There were a few other diners, but the product wasn't as sensational as during a weekday lunch. Asada had great charred flavor, but was a bit dry from being held in a sixth pan. Al pastor was undercooked. And saddest of all, no charred coarse salted 'penos! I'm just glad the place hasn't changed and know better now when to hit up probably my favorite taco spot on this stretch of Ashland. And while on that subject- I think that De Pasada is under-rated, they are serving up a finer cut of asada, which most often is grilled fresh to order.
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Does anyone know what time they close?
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Carniceria Y Taqueria Tierra Caliente (Was Caniceria Leon)
1400 N Ashland
Chicago, IL
773-772-9804

chezbrad: call them and find out. jj
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#12
Posted December 31st 2009, 6:50pm
Lately, I've been going here more and more for the al pastor. When they're on, they're as good as I've had. Today, they had a special that I hadn't seen here before, birria de chiva. No idea how long it's going to be there, but worth the effort for those in need of getting your goat on.

Dos al pastors para mi novia y dos chivas con avocate para mi = $9. Muy magnifico.

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looks great jazzfood
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That is super news! Leon is my favorite mexican restaurant in the city and i do love birria. I'll have to check it out this weekend, i'll try to report back with pictures!
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I stopped by today and sadly they had sold out of the birria de chivo at the time. Though they were cooking up a new batch which would have been ready in a couple of hours. It was being stewed up in a pot big enough to fit "three chivos" the hunks of which they were very proud to show me. It looked delicious and rich. I asked for some specifics and found out they will be serving it daily from now on, tacos only, no consome (soup) to go with it. They did not have the barbacoa, and from the conversation i had, it seems they have replaced the barbacoa with the birria. That makes sense, considering they were using the only giant burner and pot available in the small area... However I had become quite fond of the barbacoa and will miss it greatly.

I settled with, and was more than happy to eat, my al pastor and campechanos (carnitas y chorizo) tacos which are the only tacos i dream about regularly.

One additional, interesting thing I noticed at Leon. They had for sale some "ya-cool" yogurt drinks. Other than the flavors (strawberry, peach and pineapple), they were identical to the yogurt drinks i became addicted to while in china called yakult. I've seen yakult around here from time to time, but had never heard of "ya-cool" which i assume is manufactured by the same company... same shot sized plastic containers, at $1 for a 5 pack. It was a good sweet drink to go with the tacos, if you're not enjoying their freshly prepared carrot and orange juices.
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Jazzfood wrote:Lately, I've been going here more and more for the al pastor. When they're on, they're as good as I've had...


Nice to meet you in there today and good to see you again GWiv. That was the most gringos I've ever seen inside there at once. I totally agree, when the tacos al pastor are on, they're as good as I've had. Except today was the first time I've ever seen a pineapple on top and had some in my tacos when here and I def. prefer them with. After y'all left I asked the guy to make me one out of the top part of the cone where it was crisped up perfectly. One of the best tacos I've had in a long time, maybe ever.


men at work

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taco al pastor

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birria de chiva taco

I'm still waiting to try those Tacos Canpechanos (chorizo/carnitas mix) discussed in another thread. Just another gem found thru LTH. Thanks to the finders for sharing.
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Went for lunch last Tuesday and to echo everyone else's sentiments, this place is great. Had the birria de chiva taco which I thought was fantastic and a burrito with chorizo/pastor mix. Probably should of stuck with tacos to bring out the goodness of the pastor but you live and learn. Really wanted the carnitas and was mildly depressed when he told me weekends only. Still, easily one of the best meals for under $10 in the city (one goat taco + one burrito w/two meats + one mexican coke = $6.66). My only complaint is that I took it to go, next time I'm going to belly up at the counter and escape to Mexico for a half hour.
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Da Beef wrote:Except today was the first time I've ever seen a pineapple on top and had some in my tacos when here and I def. prefer them with.

I don't remember pineapple in my al pastor at Tierra Caliente either, might be a new, and tasty, wrinkle. Tacos de Lomo daily special, tasty tender generous portion for a hyper-reasonable $1.50.

Al Pastor Tierra Caliente

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(L) Al Pastor, (R) Lomo, daily special

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Jazzfood mentions chivo upthread, mild goat flavor, rich with scattered pockets of clean flavored fat, a delicious 2 buck hand staining delight.

Chivo Taco

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Good as the al pastor/chivo/lomo tacos were the killer, deal breaker, king of the hill was the chivo gordita. Toasty crisp masa, ring of caramelized cheese seeping from the sides, chunks of red tinged goat, a whirlwind of texture and flavor.

Gordita de Chivo

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Cut into three parts for easy sharing

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Had the pleasure of running into Danny and Da Beef at lunch, always nice to see fellow LTHers.

Da Beef, Danny/jhawk1, Jazzfood, Dan S

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Jazzfood, thanks for the heads up on Tierra Caliente's chivo, it was as you said, delicious.

Enjoy,
Gary
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Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

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Man, I had a middling experience here today. Its right in my hood and I've had transcendent tacos here in the past. With this thread in play lately, I couldn't resist a Saturday afternoon lunch stop. G Wiv's theory of pastor doneness in relation to busyness of the counter was validated today as I witnessed layers of undercooked, red-stained pork being cut from an exhausted-looking trompo and finished hastily on the griddle. No pineapple in sight. I should have known better. Also, despite the crowds, asada was not being grilled to order and I received a taco promptly assembled from a holding pan. Fortunately the meat was not dried out, tough, gristly, or excessively greasy, but lacked a discernible char flavor or appearance. I ordered the "campechano" and received a mix of asada and pastor- which, by the way, is listed on the menu just as such, so I cannot blame them for false advertising, but I was hoping to receive the mythical chorizo and carnitas hybrid taco. So disappointed I couldn't even eat it, I took it to go for a nosh with less scruples to be had after 2 am later tonight. Watching some of the kitchen habits of those guys during a rush period might also be enough to turn me off from the place. At least they had the charred jalapenos today, which at this point, after a few unsuccessful runs, might be my only reason to return to Tierra Caliente. Boo.
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Jefe wrote:At least they had the charred jalapenos today, which at this point, after a few unsuccessful runs, might be my only reason to return to Tierra Caliente.

Missed you by a few hours, we were there just after 11am and the Al Pastor wheel was in good form, though no charred flavor bomb bits.

Tierra Caliente 1.9.10 @ 11:15am

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This made two Tierra Caliente days in a row, the lure of the Chivo Gordita strong. MsWiv and I had the distinct pleasure of running into Dansh and he and I both ordered Chivo Gorditas, both good, neither perfect. Mine was too meaty, all largeish chunks of meat, his very fatty with little meat. We should have combined the two gorditas for the perfect fat/goat flesh ratio. The chivo gorditas were still very enjoyable.

Chivo Gordita

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It being Saturday Menudo was on special, really terrific looking menudo. Yes, I snapped a picture of someone else's lunch. Please see my .sig line for explanation. :)

Tierra Caliente Menudo

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It was MsWiv's first time at Tierra Caliente, she really liked the Al Pastor and will be back.

Enjoy,
Gary
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Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

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That menudo is no joke. I had it a couple of weeks ago and it's delicious. Rich and flavorful, and tons of tripe. When i say tons, I mean in your picture that other customer must have eated a lot of it already and there are no illusions to the size of the bowl... Below is a picture of my also partially eaten bowl.

I can pack the food away like the best of them, but could only finish aboiut 3/4 of the menudo before i was stuffed. Whoever is the brains behind the Tierra Caliente restaurant corner needs to get a raise or a metal or something, they just keep getting better and better every day!

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This thread makes me happy.

Not the 0-100 mph groundswell that follows some "discoveries", but a snowball slowly gaining momentum for a great place that is easy for amy LTHers to visit, albeit somewhat daunting for the newcomer.
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So I had lunch a few weeks back at their 2nd location (I assume it is the second location based on exhaustive investigative measures of the name) and was very underwhelmed.

I had gone with a rajas gordita, pastor taco and lomo taco. Perhaps it was bad ordering at the time but nothing was all that exciting and I was picking up a harsh solventy taste in their red salsa.

Any comparisons between the two?

Carniceria y Taqueria Tierra Caliente #2‎
2556 West Armitage Avenue, Chicago, IL‎ - (773) 486-5936‎
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Jamieson22 wrote:So I had lunch a few weeks back at their 2nd location (I assume it is the second location based on exhaustive investigative measures of the name) and was very underwhelmed.

I had gone with a rajas gordita, pastor taco and lomo taco. Perhaps it was bad ordering at the time but nothing was all that exciting and I was picking up a harsh solventy taste in their red salsa.

Any comparisons between the two?

Carniceria y Taqueria Tierra Caliente #2‎
2556 West Armitage Avenue, Chicago, IL‎ - (773) 486-5936‎


I'd recommend visiting the main location.
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"Why should I eat a carrot when I can eat pizza?" - Dan Janssen
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Yes, I wouldn't expect fast-food system levels of consistency among ramshackle taquerias, even when related. Even the various Pasaditas aren't identical.
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#26
Posted January 12th 2010, 12:36am
JeffB wrote:Even the various Pasaditas aren't identical.

In fact, the pasaditas are far from identical if you ask me.
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Stopped by today around 1 and picked up some tacos to go. Pastor, birria de chivo, and the day's special of carnitas en salsa. Also asked the guy for a couple of the salted+roasted jalapenos on the counter and he proceeded to wrap up a nice handful of them!

It wasn't busy at all when I came in, with only one person dining at the counter, and the pastor wheel had some good charr which resulted in some excellent tasting albeit a bit dry al pastor. My guess is the meat had been on the wheel/spit for awhile and had gotten a little dried out. The birria was tasty and the carnitas, which were huge chunks of braised moist pork in a yellow sauce was very good, and at only $1.50, quite the deal.

This place is by far my favorite place for tacos, as the flavor and quantity (I've had some seriously skimpy tacos at other spots, but these are always overflowing with meat) combined with the prices make it hard for me to name another place I'd rather go. Only negative is the microwaved tortillas, but I don't really give a shit when everything else about it is so good.
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Hey PigOut, I must have just missed you. I was there around 1:20 for a chivo and an al pastor. The taco de chivo was great, with just the right mix of fat to meat and the cut-fresh-from-the-trompo al pastor, served with a extra slice of pineapple, had me ordering a second one.
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stevez wrote:Hey PigOut, I must have just missed you. I was there around 1:20 for a chivo and an al pastor. The taco de chivo was great, with just the right mix of fat to meat and the cut-fresh-from-the-trompo al pastor, served with a extra slice of pineapple, had me ordering a second one.


Yea, I must have missed running into you by a mere minute or so...I need to be sure to ask for some pineapple next time, cause I've yet to get any on my pastor.
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#30
Posted February 4th 2010, 12:58am
Ok, I'm confused...drove by, parked and attempted to go to Tierra Caliente today at about 1pm and the gates were locked and it was pitch black inside - why were they closed?
GNR

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