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  El Nuevo Kappy's GNR [Mexican antojitos] [CLOSED]
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  • El Nuevo Kappy's GNR [Mexican antojitos] [CLOSED]

    Post #1 - June 12th, 2006, 12:45 pm
    Post #1 - June 12th, 2006, 12:45 pm Post #1 - June 12th, 2006, 12:45 pm
    Image

    El Nuevo Kappy’s is the ultimate hole-in-the wall restaurant. Housed in an old fast food place on a busy corner, it looks – at first glance – as if it has nothing of interest to offer. But take a second look and notice items like tlacoyos and enchiladas potosinas up there on the sign along with the gyros and pizza puffs.

    Image

    Kappy’s is a fast food place: producing a number of regionally specific Mexican antojitos – corn masa formed into different shapes (quesadillas, gorditas, picaditas, tlacoyos…), cooked to order with your choice of filling (requesón, flor de calabaza, huitlacoche, hongos, chales, nopales …) Other less than common offerings include enchiladas potosinas, Durango style menudo on the weekend, and now – with a Oaxacan cook in the kitchen – Oaxacan style tamales.

    There is only a single thread on LTHForum which discusses Kappy’s at length:

    http://lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=2958

    But a number of LTH regulars have contributed to that thread, all with praise for Kappy’s. Antonius and I first reported on it, and we revived the thread last December when I described a special lunch I hosted there for 10 people; leesh, G Wiv, JiminLoganSquare, and David Hammond have all praised their meals there; Seth reminds us that Kappy’s can be the high point of a day spent on jury duty; zim believes it to be the best place in the city for vegetarian Mexican food.

    G Wiv was also struck by the dedication of the owner:

    The most telling, at least to me, as we were paying our bill and chatting with the woman I assume, though you know what's said about assumptions, co-owns Kappy's with her husband, was her checking out our table to see if we ate everything. She said she likes it when people eat everything they are served.


    The food at Kappy’s is made with love and care, and includes items difficult or impossible to find elsewhere in Chicago. I happily nominate Kappy’s for a GNR award.

    Amata
  • Post #2 - June 12th, 2006, 12:54 pm
    Post #2 - June 12th, 2006, 12:54 pm Post #2 - June 12th, 2006, 12:54 pm
    Hey, I see they have Italian beef, hamburgers and hot dogs, too! How are those? I don't see how I can support this nomination until we know about the things most highly touted on the signage.

    (Seriously, isn't that about the biggest mismatch of signage and actual food in the city? Or is the Gyros pre-Columbian after all?)

    P.S.
    El Nuevo Kappy's Restaurant
    2759 Cermak Road
    773-847-3200
    Last edited by Mike G on June 12th, 2006, 12:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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  • Post #3 - June 12th, 2006, 12:56 pm
    Post #3 - June 12th, 2006, 12:56 pm Post #3 - June 12th, 2006, 12:56 pm
    I second the motion for El Nuevo Kappy's. As I recall, I especially liked tlacoyos con chales and even the chile relleno, which I was fully prepared not to enjoy, as it looked very standard (but turned out to be one piquant and meaty pepper).

    My only concern would be that with all the paperwork on the walls, the LTH GNR certificate would get lost ( :lol: ).

    Hammond

    PS. When I told my youngest daughter I was going to get dinner at El Nuevo Kappy's, she said with mock-snotty teenage girl excitement: "There's a NEW Kappys?!"
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #4 - June 12th, 2006, 1:06 pm
    Post #4 - June 12th, 2006, 1:06 pm Post #4 - June 12th, 2006, 1:06 pm
    I'm very happy that Amata has nominated this place.

    I've already expressed my very positive feelings about El Nuevo Kappy's elsewhere and won't say much beyond reaffirming them here in the course of offering a 'thirding' of Amata's nomination. This little restaurant serves a number of really interesting items that are really quite good. The tlacoyos are excellent (de requesón and de chales being especially noteworthy)... well, I'm starting to get caught up in this. Suffice it to say I think this place deserves a GNR award.

    For those who haven't been: If you like fresh masa products and are interested in trying some dishes not so commonly found around town, go to Kappy's.

    Antonius
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #5 - June 12th, 2006, 1:13 pm
    Post #5 - June 12th, 2006, 1:13 pm Post #5 - June 12th, 2006, 1:13 pm
    This seems like as good a place as any to raise the question: what are the defining characteristics of Durango style (as in Kappy's Durango-style menudo)?

    My eye has been caught by "Durango-style hamburgers" advertised at a little joint on Lake Street in Melrose, but I haven't stopped in yet.

    I've looked at few allegedly Durango-style recipes, and I cannot say I see any consistency or unique differentiators in ingredients or preparation.

    Hammond
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #6 - June 12th, 2006, 3:36 pm
    Post #6 - June 12th, 2006, 3:36 pm Post #6 - June 12th, 2006, 3:36 pm
    Amata wrote:El Nuevo Kappy’s is the ultimate hole-in-the wall restaurant. Housed in an old fast food place on a busy corner, it looks – at first glance – as if it has nothing of interest to offer.

    Amata,

    I passed El Nuevo Kappy numerous times without even a second glance, but thanks to Antonius's post and your follow up, I was introduced to a really terrific neighborhood restaurant.

    Please consider this post a hearty 'second' for El Nuevo Kappy's nomination.

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

    Low & Slow
  • Post #7 - June 12th, 2006, 8:33 pm
    Post #7 - June 12th, 2006, 8:33 pm Post #7 - June 12th, 2006, 8:33 pm
    Image

    Yeah, that's some Mexican restaurant you nominated there, Amata...

    Image

    Okay, that's more like it.

    Actually, talking to the lady after we ate, she noted, a bit sadly, that even the families in the neighborhood mainly want hamburgers these days (as was true of the mom and son next to us), not the Oaxacan and Guerreriense food that they like to make. She seemed pleased that we tried so many other things and that the boys liked the tlacoyos, enchiladas and Oaxacan tamale that we ordered, and urged on us for next time the quesadilla de flor de calabaza and champignones (which seemed, from the description, to mean huitlacoche, not button mushrooms or something). Incidentally, not to take anything away from that half-mythical explorer RST, but you know, there are places where he claimed to have to come back every day for a week to win their confidence and start prying out their secrets... and then there are places like this where you just ask a question or two and you get the whole story in a torrent, they make food from Oaxaca and Guerrero, in America everybody wants it with rice and beans on a plate, this is the way the poor people eat, you have to make it with the fresh masa or it's no good, try the jamaica, and so on and on... Very nice lady and happy to chat with folks who take an interest in her food-- other than the hamburgers.

    Anyway, we pretty much hit the greatest hits from the thread linked above, including a couple of different tlacoyos:

    Image

    The chales (pork) was a little too lardy/pork-stinky, but the requeson (which is ricotta and herbs) and the frijoles negro were big hits with all. If I had to tell you to go there for one thing, though, it would be the enchiladas:

    Image

    The name conjures up the traditional enchilada covered in sauce, but these in fact are almost like empanadas (or pot stickers), little crispy-fried pockets with a perceptible chili kick in the masa. I liked these a lot.

    El Nuevo Kappy isn't much to look at, but don't be fooled by the hot dog stand ambience and offerings, they hide a sincere, authentic place making fresh, homemade Mexican food with a lot of love.

    Afterwards, walking back to our car, I spotted another lesson to share with the kids about things hidden in plain sight. Who knows what this architectural style on a realty office signifies?

    Image

    The telltale signs of a WWI-era nickelodeon-- arched facade and bare electric lights (an innovation derived from Sullivan's Auditorium Theatre). See the end of this post for another example....
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  • Post #8 - June 12th, 2006, 10:40 pm
    Post #8 - June 12th, 2006, 10:40 pm Post #8 - June 12th, 2006, 10:40 pm
    Mike,

    Very nice post. I hope to follow everyone's footsteps there fairly soon.

    I promise not to order the hamburger.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #9 - June 12th, 2006, 10:57 pm
    Post #9 - June 12th, 2006, 10:57 pm Post #9 - June 12th, 2006, 10:57 pm
    Mike G wrote:She seemed pleased that we tried so many other things and that the boys liked the tlacoyos, enchiladas and Oaxacan tamale that we ordered, and urged on us for next time the quesadilla de flor de calabaza and champignones (which seemed, from the description, to mean huitlacoche, not button mushrooms or something).


    Actually, they are button mushrooms -- and my kids like them very much -- though huitlacoche is on the menu, too, in enchiladas.

    Fascinating about the nickleodeon architecture.

    I would go back for the enchiladas potosinas and habas (which I didn't get first time around).

    Hammond
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #10 - June 12th, 2006, 11:15 pm
    Post #10 - June 12th, 2006, 11:15 pm Post #10 - June 12th, 2006, 11:15 pm
    Maybe she said they had both mushrooms AND huitlacoche quesadillas, but she seemed to be talking about the same dish.

    I also notice that everyone else talks about food from Durango, but she clearly said Guerrero to me when mentioning places the food came from.

    None of these are, I suppose, mutually exclusive.
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  • Post #11 - June 12th, 2006, 11:25 pm
    Post #11 - June 12th, 2006, 11:25 pm Post #11 - June 12th, 2006, 11:25 pm
    Mike G wrote:I also notice that everyone else talks about food from Durango, but she clearly said Guerrero to me when mentioning places the food came from. None of these are, I suppose, mutually exclusive.


    Durango and Guerrero are fairly distant from one another, so you'd think their cuisines would be somewhat different, too, but I cannot get a fix on what Durango cuisine is like, so who knows?

    I'm surprised they had the Oaxacan tamales -- I thought they were a Sunday speciality at Kappy's.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #12 - June 12th, 2006, 11:28 pm
    Post #12 - June 12th, 2006, 11:28 pm Post #12 - June 12th, 2006, 11:28 pm
    HI,

    In my experience, you almost never hear anyone refer to huitlacoche as a mushroom. Corn smut, corn fungus, yes, but not corn mushroom. In Ag circles it is also referred to as a gall.

    Huitlacoche enchiladas is a new preparation for me. Maybe it will inspire me to crack open the 2 pounds of huitlacoche in my freezer.

    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 #13 - June 12th, 2006, 11:41 pm
    Post #13 - June 12th, 2006, 11:41 pm Post #13 - June 12th, 2006, 11:41 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:Huitlacoche enchiladas is a new preparation for me. Maybe it will inspire me to crack open the 2 pounds of huitlacoche in my freezer.Regards,


    C2, I checked my notes; I mispoke: the huitlacoche we had from Kappy's was in a quesadilla...though there's no reason why you couldn't put it in an enchilada.

    Hammond
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #14 - June 13th, 2006, 5:54 am
    Post #14 - June 13th, 2006, 5:54 am Post #14 - June 13th, 2006, 5:54 am
    Mike, I'm glad you went to Kappy's and enjoyed it so much. Just a few comments on the recent discussion:

    I've had both the champiñones and the huitlacoche there, and they are definitely not the same thing.

    I think the only enchiladas on the menu are the enchiladas potosinas, which (as explained in the beginning of the thread linked above) are "en-chile-d" by virtue of the chile worked into the masa dough, rather than the more familiar method of dipping the tortillas into a chile sauce. I would guess that the enchiladas potosinas are only available with their standard filling, not with the choices available for the tlacoyos, etc.

    Regarding regions: the husband and wife who own Kappy's are from the states of Durango and Guanajuato, respectively. Around the time of Antonius and my first visit to Kappy's, the main cook in the kitchen was from Morelos. (Thanks to RST for this information.) Last December, when I was arranging the menu for the lunch I was hosting, the cook was from Oaxaca. Perhaps they now have a cook from Guerrero. In any event, the proprietors of Kappy's clearly have an appreciation of regional specialties.

    Finally, what distinguishes Durango-style menudo? David, I think the best way to answer that question is for you to get back to Kappy's on a weekend, have a bowl, and discuss it with the owners! :)

    Amata
  • Post #15 - June 13th, 2006, 9:53 am
    Post #15 - June 13th, 2006, 9:53 am Post #15 - June 13th, 2006, 9:53 am
    On my one visit (I should really go again) they didn't have the enchiladas potosinas, but did have enchiladas verdes. Which were fine, but nothing really special. I do suspect they're still on the menu, though.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #16 - June 17th, 2006, 7:50 pm
    Post #16 - June 17th, 2006, 7:50 pm Post #16 - June 17th, 2006, 7:50 pm
    I've only been once, but it was a great experience. Friendly and accommodating service, delicious Oaxacan tamales. I only stopped in for a snack that one visit, but I need to get back again. A limited data point, I suppose, but for what it is worth, I support this nomination.
    JiLS

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