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La Chaparrita Taqueria - D. F. style Tacos de Fritangas

La Chaparrita Taqueria - D. F. style Tacos de Fritangas
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  • La Chaparrita Taqueria - D. F. style Tacos de Fritangas

    Post #1 - May 11th, 2011, 11:11 am
    Post #1 - May 11th, 2011, 11:11 am Post #1 - May 11th, 2011, 11:11 am
    LTH,

    Sipping a Sunday coffee at Ipsento couple of rough looking guys tiredly plop down at the communal table. Turned out to be two interesting fellows, one Mexican the other Ecuadorian, who had been vending at Maxwell Street. Conversation quickly turned to food, as do many of my conversations, the Mexican gent, extremely knowledgeable ranging from Evanston Chicken Shack to Blackbird, became positively animated when I mentioned Tierra Caliente countering with "taqueria in the grocery at 25th and Whipple"

    He immediately seemed sorry, said his uncle would kill him for talking about La Chaparrita, but quickly brightened at the thought of sharing a hidden in plain sight gem with a fellow traveler on the road to deliciousness.

    Image

    Atempted to visit La Chaparrita that very day, compact grocery open, taqueria shuttered. Questions about the taqueria simply confirmed my lack of Spanish, so I shelved 25th and Whipple for a rainy day, much like a book you know is going to be a great read. Fast forward a few months, I meet Pigmon for lunch, he tends to be self deprecating about his palate, but notes nuance the way the Hubble Telescope spots stars.

    I've become slightly myopic lately, tending to view al pastor crisp cut from a spinning cone as the ne plus ultra of tacos and was initially disappointed to see an empty trompo, turned out to be a good thing widening our focus. La Chaparrita offers tacos in the style of Mexico City, which are referred to, according to an '08 Chowhound post by RST, as tacos de fritangas. Key is using a charola, where the meats are cooked around the periphery of a raised center disk. Its impossible to tell from my picture if this is the exact type of vessel used at La Chaparrita.

    La Chaparrita

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    Angelina, who I assume is the owner, hails from Mexico City shoring the D.F. connection.

    Angelina

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    We started with three classic of the D.F. style, Suadero, Tripa and Longaniza (chorizo). La Chaparrita has a light hand with spicing, not the typical overwhelming Goya Sazon flavor, meat unmasked as it were.
    - Suadero lightly crisp lean beef, bit of chew, full flavor.
    - Longaniza (house-made chorizo), rounded flavor/spicing, not overwhelmed/dominated by vinegar.
    - Tripa impossibly tender scant offal flavor, its a shame they don't do menudo as L.C. has a deft had with tripe.

    Tripa, Suadero, Longaniza

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    Suadero

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    Tripa

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    Huaraches con carne, lighter style than found at Ricos at the Maxwell Street market, ever so slightly oily, in a good way, couldn't decide red or green so we went both.

    Huaraches con carne

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    Four sauces on hand which the personable and patient Angelina explained. Potential errors due to my lack of Spanish.

    From Left)

    - Tomatillo, Arbol, peanuts, for tacos.
    - Guacamole (avocado), tomatillo, jalapeno, for tacos.
    - Tomatillo, jalapeno, cilantro, for huaraches
    - Tomatillo, chili morita, for huaraches.


    Image

    When we asked about the empty trompo Angelina said something about "inspectors" not sure what she meant, but I don't expect to see spinning al pastor at La Chaparrita anytime in the future. After asking if we liked pineapple she brought us a couple of al pastor tacos. Mild flavor, L.C. had a subtle hand throughout everything we tried, slightly overwhelmed by pineapple. Next time I will ask for al pastor without pineapple.

    Al Pastor

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    Compact grocery seems well stocked with snacks and convenience items, I can attest to the fact the popcorn is fresh.

    La Chaparrita Grocery area

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    Comfortable seating area tables, stools and booth.

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    Basic La Chaparrita menu

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    Shrine tucked away by the door

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    La Chaparrita has jumped to the top of my taqueria list, and @ThePigmon must have liked it as he blessed it with not one, but two tweets. I will be back in short order for lightly seasoned Mexico City style tacos, only question is which do I have first, tripa or suadero?

    Thanks again to the unknown fellow at Ipsento for the 25th and Whipple lead, I won't tell your uncle if you don't. <smile>

    Enjoy,
    Gary


    La Chaparrita Grocery
    2500 S Whipple
    Chicago, IL 60623
    773-254-0975

    Tierra Caliente
    1400 N Ashland
    Chicago, IL
    773-772-9804

    Ipsento
    2035 N Western Ave
    Chicago, IL 60647
    773-904-8177
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #2 - May 11th, 2011, 12:38 pm
    Post #2 - May 11th, 2011, 12:38 pm Post #2 - May 11th, 2011, 12:38 pm
    Looks good. NB: the mollejas (sweetbreads) taco option. Don't see that one often.
  • Post #3 - May 11th, 2011, 2:32 pm
    Post #3 - May 11th, 2011, 2:32 pm Post #3 - May 11th, 2011, 2:32 pm
    Tacos Campechano, isn't that a combination of chorizo and carne asada? If so, that sounds promising. That, and the Cebollitas Asadas (grilled onions) must be worth some special attention.
  • Post #4 - May 11th, 2011, 4:37 pm
    Post #4 - May 11th, 2011, 4:37 pm Post #4 - May 11th, 2011, 4:37 pm
    Any idea about the hours?
  • Post #5 - May 11th, 2011, 7:47 pm
    Post #5 - May 11th, 2011, 7:47 pm Post #5 - May 11th, 2011, 7:47 pm
    Just went. Like Gary said, these are authentic D.F. style Mexico City tacos. Tripa, longaniza, cabeza, pastor were all very good, but I enjoyed the mollejas (sweetbreads) the most. Very rare to see that on a menu. The "charola" was up and running, as was the vapor steam table that is ubiquitous in Mexico City, used to keep lengua and cabeza with moist heat. Cesar the taquero really knows what he's doing and will even recommend salsas to pair with meats. Apparently he's from Veracruz but moved to Mexico City at an early age which is where he learned how to prepare tacos.

    I spent some time talking to Jose, the owner, who is very friendly and was amused when I told him there was a thread about La Chaparrita on the web. He was almost sure that I had to be talking about La Chaparrita #2, which has an entirely different menu. He takes a lot of pride in the fact that his establishment specializes only in this style of taco. Chaparrita #2, which is run by his mother-in-law, has an entirely different menu and caters more to families.

    Wonderful people and very good food. I hope they get more business as a result. I'll be back.
  • Post #6 - May 12th, 2011, 4:17 am
    Post #6 - May 12th, 2011, 4:17 am Post #6 - May 12th, 2011, 4:17 am
    Excellent find and post, Mr. Wiviott.

    The overwhelming pineapple on the tacos al pastor is something I've encountered a few times, and I always thought it was a mistake though at La Chaparrita it sounds intentional. That aside, this place sounds fantastic (love the multiple sauces and uncommon types of taco fillings).
    “We all have to stand before the kitchen gods.” Chef Jacob Sahaya Kumar Aruni
  • Post #7 - May 12th, 2011, 7:39 am
    Post #7 - May 12th, 2011, 7:39 am Post #7 - May 12th, 2011, 7:39 am
    Yikes...that "shrine" looks pretty creepy to me.
    i used to milk cows
  • Post #8 - May 12th, 2011, 11:10 am
    Post #8 - May 12th, 2011, 11:10 am Post #8 - May 12th, 2011, 11:10 am
    I'm not the PC police, but that sort of shrine is pretty commonplace in Mexican (and other Latino) homes and businesses and is an expression of faith and honor to departed loved ones. It might not mean what you think it means and isn't terribly different than what you see in many Chinese, Viet, Thai, and other Asian spots. I'd also say there's a high correlation between such shrines and good grub.
  • Post #9 - May 12th, 2011, 11:22 am
    Post #9 - May 12th, 2011, 11:22 am Post #9 - May 12th, 2011, 11:22 am
    JeffB wrote:I'm not the PC police, but that sort of shrine is pretty commonplace in Mexican (and other Latino) homes and businesses and is an expression of faith and honor to departed loved ones. It might not mean what you think it means and isn't terribly different than what you see in many Chinese, Viet, Thai, and other Asian spots. I'd also say there's a high correlation between such shrines and good grub.


    I didn't think twice about the shrine (because as you say, they're common) but this one (with Death, pentagram) seems a little darker than many I've seen (and I know Day of the Dead skeletons are usually a part of such set-ups, but this shrine seems to swing to the dark side in a somewhat more pronounced way).
    “We all have to stand before the kitchen gods.” Chef Jacob Sahaya Kumar Aruni
  • Post #10 - May 12th, 2011, 11:44 am
    Post #10 - May 12th, 2011, 11:44 am Post #10 - May 12th, 2011, 11:44 am
    Is that Buddha I also see in the shrine?
    Fettuccine alfredo is mac and cheese for adults.
  • Post #11 - May 13th, 2011, 7:31 am
    Post #11 - May 13th, 2011, 7:31 am Post #11 - May 13th, 2011, 7:31 am
    wahpahh wrote:Wonderful people and very good food. I hope they get more business as a result. I'll be back.
    Very happy you went, hard to say on just one visit but La Chaparrita seems a special place, and not simply for the scarce in Chicago cooking style.

    I'm thinking you speak Spanish, impressive amount of info. I did a little google on vapor/tacos al vapor, not something I was familiar with, and there seems two styles. One where meat is kept with moist heat and another where completed/filled tacos are held and the masa melds to the meat resulting in juicy moist packets of delicious.

    From your post La Chaparrita does the meat held with moist heat, not unlike the way a good Jewish deli keeps corned beef/tongue/pastrami, I wonder if the later style is available in Chicago.

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

    Low & Slow
  • Post #12 - May 13th, 2011, 12:11 pm
    Post #12 - May 13th, 2011, 12:11 pm Post #12 - May 13th, 2011, 12:11 pm
    G Wiv wrote:. . . La Chaparrita seems a special place, and not simply for the scarce in Chicago cooking style.

    La Chaparrita looks real good and I'll be sure to stop by next chance I get. For cooking of a similar style consider Arandas on 47th (Back of the Yards). They also employ a charola and steam table. In the first picture below you can see suadero (I think) searing on the elevated central dome and other meats (including chorizo/longaniza and who knows what else) and onions stewing in the moat of juices.

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    This second picture shows the dome and moat of the charola more clearly. You can also see the plastic-covered steamer where ingredients for tacos al vapor are kept.

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    Arandas makes their own tortillas (though from Maseca). I've had mixed success at Arandas but it can be very good indeed.

    Birrieria y Taqueria Arandas
    1738 W 47th St
    Chicago
    773-376-9770

    G Wiv wrote:I did a little google on vapor/tacos al vapor, not something I was familiar with, and there seems two styles. One where meat is kept with moist heat and another where completed/filled tacos are held and the masa melds to the meat resulting in juicy moist packets of delicious.

    From your post La Chaparrita does the meat held with moist heat, not unlike the way a good Jewish deli keeps corned beef/tongue/pastrami, I wonder if the later style is available in Chicago.

    There are a number of taquerias in Chicago, including Arandas, that serve tacos al vapor. I think the second style you refer to is usually called tacos de canasta. These "basket" tacos get tightly wrapped and steam while sitting in the vendors' containers (in Chicago, almost always plastic coolers). This is generally street food and you should be able to find vendors advertising this specialty (my favorite guy had a small wicker basket symbolizing his wares that hung near his Igloo cooler). Below are old pictures of my favorite tacos de canasta (set of three: bean, potato and chicharron) from a corner on 47th Street. Unfortunately this vendor doesn't seem to be around any more. I think you can get an idea of the texture from the pictures. Done well, these taste much better than they look.

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    I think there may currently be a cart near the arch on 26th where you can find tacos de canasta. Unfortunately they're not very good and I wouldn't recommend them. Any more tacos de canasta sightings? They're definitely around.
  • Post #13 - May 15th, 2011, 8:13 am
    Post #13 - May 15th, 2011, 8:13 am Post #13 - May 15th, 2011, 8:13 am
    Rene G wrote:La Chaparrita looks real good and I'll be sure to stop by next chance I get. For cooking of a similar style consider Arandas on 47th (Back of the Yards). They also employ a charola and steam table.
    Thanks for the info, I'll check out Arandas, tacos al vapor and tacos de canasta soon. I find tacos de canasta particularly appealing.
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #14 - May 17th, 2011, 12:49 pm
    Post #14 - May 17th, 2011, 12:49 pm Post #14 - May 17th, 2011, 12:49 pm
    G Wiv wrote:Sipping a Sunday coffee at Ipsento couple of rough looking guys tiredly plop down at the communal table. Turned out to be two interesting fellows, one Mexican the other Ecuadorian, who had been vending at Maxwell Street. Conversation quickly turned to food, as do many of my conversations, the Mexican gent, extremely knowledgeable ranging from Evanston Chicken Shack to Blackbird, became positively animated when I mentioned Tierra Caliente countering with "taqueria in the grocery at 25th and Whipple"

    La Chaparrita was an absolutely great recommendation. Pigmon and I went on Sunday and ordered almost the entire menu.

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    You only have to glance at the platter to realize the taquero takes great pride in his work. César is a taco artist. Each taco has distinct flavors and textures. Each taco is one of the best I've had. Let's have a closer look.

    Tripas
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    I don't love all chitlins but this stuff is great. One of these tacos might convert professed intestine haters.

    Cabeza
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    Wonderfully rich and beefy with a nice contrast of fat and char.

    Al Pastor
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    We had two versions; this is the one with less pineapple. Flavor is so good that the char is hardly missed. I can only imagine how good these were when carved of the trompo.

    Mollejas
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    Sweetbreads, perfectly cooked. A great taco. Maybe the best way to spend $1.85 on food in Chicago.

    Suadero
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    Yet another distinct flavor and texture. The meat had great beef flavor and a slightly gelatinous texture.

    Longaniza
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    Another favorite. Well flavored but not overpowering, with nice char on some pieces.

    Asada
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    I'm not sure what cut of meat this is. The thin, lean strips of steak had great flavor and a pleasant chewy texture (reminiscent of cecina).

    Not a bad one in the bunch. A taco tour de force. So...did this guy at Ipsento recommend any other places?

    David Hammond wrote:The overwhelming pineapple on the tacos al pastor is something I've encountered a few times, and I always thought it was a mistake though at La Chaparrita it sounds intentional.

    As I mentioned above, you can get them either way. José, the owner, confessed to not liking the piña and had us try two versions. We also preferred the one with less pineapple.

    G Wiv wrote:Thanks for the info, I'll check out Arandas . . .

    Having now tried La Chaparrita, I can say they're playing in a different league. The food at Arandas (1738 W 47th) was particularly disappointing the other day. Everything tasted the same—greasy and tired. In past visits there was usually at least one standout item.

    G Wiv wrote:I find tacos de canasta particularly appealing.

    I was going through my old photos looking for vapor/canasta pics and look what I found!

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    I remembered the tacos al vapor sign but not the name of the restaurant or that they served tacos de canasta (this is mentioned in RST's post). That's interesting as I never noticed them on restaurant menus, thinking of tacos de canasta only as street food.

    Here's the cart at the base of the arch I mentioned above (the photos are from last summer). It wasn't there last Sunday but the weather was awful. Hopefully they'll be back. I think you can just make out the drawing of a basket on the cart's sign (at left).

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    If you want to try their tacos de canasta I'd recommend getting there early. I recall missing out a couple times in early afternoon. When I finally scored a bag (also early afternoon) they were clearly past their prime. You can see they had started to split open by themselves, not a good sign. I suppose I should reserve judgment on this cart until I've tried their fresh product. As the weather warms up there ought to other tacos de canasta vendors appearing.

    La Chaparrita Grocery
    2500 S Whipple St
    Chicago
    773-254-0975

    Birrieria y Taqueria Arandas
    1738 W 47th St
    Chicago
    773-376-9770

    Taqueria La Chaparrita #2
    5958 S Kedzie Av
    Chicago
    773-778-1625

    Tamales Emma (street cart)
    approx 3117 W 26th St
    Chicago
    773-247-1402

    Edited to correct translation of tripas.
    Last edited by Rene G on July 4th, 2011, 10:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #15 - May 19th, 2011, 10:47 am
    Post #15 - May 19th, 2011, 10:47 am Post #15 - May 19th, 2011, 10:47 am
    G Wiv wrote:Thanks for the info, I'll check out Arandas, tacos al vapor and tacos de canasta soon. I find tacos de canasta particularly appealing.

    Rene G wrote:I remembered the tacos al vapor sign but not the name of the restaurant or that they served tacos de canasta (this is mentioned in RST's post). That's interesting as I never noticed them on restaurant menus, thinking of tacos de canasta only as street food.

    I don't think you'll find La Chaparrita #2's tacos de canasta particularly appealing. I sure didn't.

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    Tacos de canasta come as an order of 4 ($5.99) with a small salad and a bowl containing a huge amount of grated cheese. I'm almost certain these are prepared to order, not "sweated" in the proper manner. The tacos were shockingly greasy and had an unpleasant crispy, leathery texture. Nothing like any tacos de canasta I've had before. Fillings ranged from unpleasant (chicharron) to unremarkable (frijoles) to quite good (chorizo y papas).

    I also tried a taco al vapor (cabeza). It was edible but nothing to get excited about and suffered greatly from comparison to the stellar version at the other La Chaparrita.

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    La Chaparrita #1 and #2 may share a name but from what I've seen the food has little in common.

    Restaurant La Chaparrita #2
    5958 S Kedzie Av
    Chicago
    773-778-1625

    Those interested in tacos de canasta might enjoy this how-to video (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3). It's in Spanish but it's easy to get the gist of things without a word of the language. At nearly 24 minutes it's a bit long (and some may find Chucheman a little annoying) but the last part where he packs the basket with sautéed onions and tacos is fascinating. This would be a fun dish to make for a party.
  • Post #16 - May 21st, 2011, 9:30 pm
    Post #16 - May 21st, 2011, 9:30 pm Post #16 - May 21st, 2011, 9:30 pm
    This is an absolutely incredible place. After the above posts (and Rene G's description at the Culinary Historians event today), I knew I couldn't make it home without a little detour here. The people who run the place are extremely welcoming. They had a few menu items posted on the walls (huaraches and a few others--I couldn't get past the tacos). Also, my agua fresca de limon was freshly made with lots of rind/zest so I'm looking forward to trying other flavors (and their licuados). Great find Gary (is your contact going to be upset if it gets a GNR?)!!
  • Post #17 - May 24th, 2011, 2:52 pm
    Post #17 - May 24th, 2011, 2:52 pm Post #17 - May 24th, 2011, 2:52 pm
    what a great place . had 1 of every thing? i think
    i will be heading back soon .
    great flavors :mrgreen:
    philw bbq cbj for kcbs &M.I.M. carolina pit masters
  • Post #18 - May 24th, 2011, 3:53 pm
    Post #18 - May 24th, 2011, 3:53 pm Post #18 - May 24th, 2011, 3:53 pm
    philw wrote:what a great place . had 1 of every thing?

    Yes...and then some. Thank you philw, boudreaulicious, justjoan and G Wiv for the company and ordering power. Ridiculously good lunch. This is what I enjoyed, in order:

    1) Tie: Tripa and Lengua
    2) Longaniza
    3) Sweetbreads
    4) Al Pastor
    5) Suadero
    6) Asada
    7) Brains

    Definitely lengua in the foreground and maybe suadero and pastor:

    Image

    The salsas were very good, but I was so impressed with the meat of the tacos, that I stopped using salsas half way through the meal. For huaraches, I'd easily choose La Chaparrita over Dona Chio's or the ones I've had MSM. Again, I liked the meat better, and the masa didn't seem overwhelming, which is usually how I feel at the latter places.

    I tried just two aguas frescas, the guanabana and watermelon, which were both almost creamy and excellent (and quite helpful after I bit into an exceptionally hot, raw jalapeño toward the end of the meal). Next time, I will try an alfalfa agua fresca or jamaica if they have it.

    Raw jalapeños (grilled ones came later) with house-made potato chips in the background:

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    And so much more than a side were these beautiful, sweet onions:

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    We also tried the coffee ice cream from the grocery, though I can't remember the vendor - Joe & something... Strong coffee flavor but not creamy enough for my tastes. Then, philw pulled out a sour cream cheese coffee cake to share with everyone in the store, which was the perfect way to end this happy, happy lunch (which was then really capped by basically a second lunch at Cremería Santa Maria--for another post).

    Image

    The people who run La Chaparrita are unbelievably nice, and I can't wait to return. Thanks to all who've brought this place to light.
  • Post #19 - May 24th, 2011, 4:36 pm
    Post #19 - May 24th, 2011, 4:36 pm Post #19 - May 24th, 2011, 4:36 pm
    GREAT lunch! Possibly the best tacos I've ever had. This place will not stay under the radar long. Loved the tripa, chorizo and the pastor (pineapple was present which I typically don't care for but these were delicious!). Have to also give props so the homemade potato chips with housemade pepper/vinegar sauce--mmmmm. And the onions...

    Nice work Gary!
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #20 - May 24th, 2011, 7:15 pm
    Post #20 - May 24th, 2011, 7:15 pm Post #20 - May 24th, 2011, 7:15 pm
    wahpahh wrote:
    I spent some time talking to Jose, the owner, who is very friendly and was amused when I told him there was a thread about La Chaparrita on the web. He was almost sure that I had to be talking about La Chaparrita #2, which has an entirely different menu. He takes a lot of pride in the fact that his establishment specializes only in this style of taco. Chaparrita #2, which is run by his mother-in-law, has an entirely different menu and caters more to families.

    Wonderful people and very good food. I hope they get more business as a result. I'll be back.


    lunch today was fantastic. just wanted to point out that angelina is the owner, not her husband. jose works there part time. he was working a shift today at lunch, and at some point his college age daughter, lara, came in to replace him. the family couldn't have been more gracious. and the food was fantastic, but i think we might have missed out on the cabeza? does anyone remember eating that today???
  • Post #21 - May 24th, 2011, 8:01 pm
    Post #21 - May 24th, 2011, 8:01 pm Post #21 - May 24th, 2011, 8:01 pm
    justjoan wrote:and the food was fantastic, but i think we might have missed out on the cabeza? does anyone remember eating that today???

    Head is different than brains, right? If I ID'd this photo correctly....

    happy_stomach wrote:Definitely lengua in the foreground and maybe suadero and pastor:

    Image


    ...then there may have been cabeza on this plate....

    Image

    ...because I'm fairly sure this plate was just the sweetbreads and brains:

    Image

    I think the only thing I forgot to photograph was our second round of tripa tacos. Sheesh, we ate a lot!

    I also forgot to mention that I love this sign on La Chaparrita's door.

    Image

    Very fitting that the character has a paunch...

    [Edited to fix a Flickr link for the sign, same one JoelF translated below.]
    Last edited by happy_stomach on May 24th, 2011, 9:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #22 - May 24th, 2011, 8:13 pm
    Post #22 - May 24th, 2011, 8:13 pm Post #22 - May 24th, 2011, 8:13 pm
    happy_stomach wrote:I also forgot to mention that I love this sign on La Chaparrita's door.

    Image

    Very fitting that the character has a paunch...

    I had to get a translation
    Before you enter: Forget...
    bitterness, fights, antipathy
    bad humor, gossip, envy
    Now go, your smile will be well received
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #23 - May 27th, 2011, 8:27 am
    Post #23 - May 27th, 2011, 8:27 am Post #23 - May 27th, 2011, 8:27 am
    happy_stomach wrote:The people who run La Chaparrita are unbelievably nice, and I can't wait to return.
    Agree on both counts, unbelievably nice and as I woke up dreaming about La Chaparrita's tripas I see a return in my immediate future.

    Jose, Angelina, Laura

    Image

    I sense there are few places Cesar would rather be than before the charola, an artist his medium masa and meat.

    Cesar, La Chaparrita Taquero

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    Jose took our order, I don't remember if it was his suggestion or H_S's inquiry, but I ended up with a guanabana agua fresca, my new go-to agua fresca, if I can ever learn to pronounce the name.

    Clockwise from bottom left. Happy_Stomach, Boudreaulicious, JustJoan, Jose, Phil W

    Image

    Packed charola, I could have watched the delicious jigsaw puzzle bubble away for hours. Cebolitas/knob onions took a spin in the charola and were incredible, tender, sweet with just a hint of toasty caramelzation.

    La Caparrita Charola

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    Cebollitas/Knob Onions

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    Lengua/tongue along with tripa/tripe may be my favorite at La Chaparrita, meat sauna lending a suggestively silky tender note.

    Vapor/steam, Lengua/Tongue, Molleja/Sweetbreads foreground

    Image

    I received a lovely, thoughtful email from Laura, Angelina's daughter after my first post. Laura took time from her studies, she was away at college, to fill in details and clear up questions. I should note Laura is even nicer in person than in email, nice seems to run in the family.

    Random La Chaparrita Customers

    Image

    Our LTH group had an incredible lunch we had one, two of some, of everything not a dud in the lot. Capped, actually overkilled, with sour cream cheese coffee cake Phil brought from Pticek's, his wife's bakery, and a shared scoop of coffee ice cream.

    First blush I thought La Chaparrita a special place, second visit confirmed.

    Image

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

    Low & Slow
  • Post #24 - May 27th, 2011, 2:31 pm
    Post #24 - May 27th, 2011, 2:31 pm Post #24 - May 27th, 2011, 2:31 pm
    wahpahh wrote:Any idea about the hours?


    Any update on this? I really want to make a trek after seeing these pics, but it's kind of a far hike to find a closed kitchen. OP said it was closed the first time they visited too.
  • Post #25 - May 27th, 2011, 2:48 pm
    Post #25 - May 27th, 2011, 2:48 pm Post #25 - May 27th, 2011, 2:48 pm
    Suiname wrote:
    wahpahh wrote:Any idea about the hours?


    Any update on this? I really want to make a trek after seeing these pics, but it's kind of a far hike to find a closed kitchen. OP said it was closed the first time they visited too.


    this gave me a good excuse to brush up on my rusty Spanish, so I called and found out that the taqueria is open from 11:30AM to 11PM on Friday and Saturday, and 11:30AM to 10PM during the week, but they do close early sometimes if it's slow.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #26 - May 27th, 2011, 2:53 pm
    Post #26 - May 27th, 2011, 2:53 pm Post #26 - May 27th, 2011, 2:53 pm
    Kennyz wrote:
    Suiname wrote:
    wahpahh wrote:Any idea about the hours?


    Any update on this? I really want to make a trek after seeing these pics, but it's kind of a far hike to find a closed kitchen. OP said it was closed the first time they visited too.


    this gave me a good excuse to brush up on my rusty Spanish, so I called and found out that the taqueria is open from 11:30AM to 11PM on Friday and Saturday, and 11:30AM to 10PM during the week, but they do close early sometimes if it's slow.


    Thanks for that info, I foresee a visit in my future soon.
  • Post #27 - May 27th, 2011, 4:35 pm
    Post #27 - May 27th, 2011, 4:35 pm Post #27 - May 27th, 2011, 4:35 pm
    I had lunch there yesterday with some friends and we were able to cut a wide swath through the menu. Everyone there was extremely friendly and I really liked everything I had, although I'm not sure it's worth a regular trip to that part of town when some excellent taquerias are located much closer to home. Still, I wouldn't say no if someone suggested it and look forward to occasional visits in the future. They do have some unique items.

    I agree. It's good to brush up on your Español before you go, although at least one of the staff spoke perfect English.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #28 - May 27th, 2011, 4:48 pm
    Post #28 - May 27th, 2011, 4:48 pm Post #28 - May 27th, 2011, 4:48 pm
    stevez wrote:I agree. It's good to brush up on your Español before you go, although at least one of the staff spoke perfect English.

    Yeah, truth is I didn't need it when I called either. Guy on the phone got tired of my slow, miserable Spanish and after 30 seconds or so he just put a perfect English speaking woman on the phone to deal with me.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #29 - June 6th, 2011, 1:22 am
    Post #29 - June 6th, 2011, 1:22 am Post #29 - June 6th, 2011, 1:22 am
    Pilsen's Taqueria Mezquite on 18th St. is doing tacos al vapor out on the sidewalk in front their store all summer. Had some terrific lengua and cabeza tonight. I didn't know those were allowed, but it reminded me of some wonderful outdoor taco eating experiences in LA. Have any of you run across any other sidewalk taco vendors here in Chicago?
  • Post #30 - June 9th, 2011, 6:48 am
    Post #30 - June 9th, 2011, 6:48 am Post #30 - June 9th, 2011, 6:48 am
    Finally made it here, and ordered a scaled-back taco sampler such as the one proposed upthread by PIGMON and ReneG. I'm a huge fan of sweetbreads, but, to my surprise, the rich, luxurious lengua was my favorite bite of the day. I have to say, it was quite a surprise, good enough to add to this year's Top Ten List. Add me to the chorus of those who experienced a warm welcome, along with zero language barrier, helpful for those who need clarification in English. This is a nice block off the main drag, and it was easy to find parking.

    Thanks, GWiv!
    Man : I can't understand how a poet like you can eat that stuff.
    T. S. Eliot: Ah, but you're not a poet.

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