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Homewood Area - Southside Lunchies

Homewood Area - Southside Lunchies
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  • Post #31 - February 9th, 2024, 12:29 pm
    Post #31 - February 9th, 2024, 12:29 pm Post #31 - February 9th, 2024, 12:29 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:Conchas is something I do not appreciate also. I have heard some comment it is due to inexpensive ingredients. If it is a good one with better ingredients, then you want to fresh from the oven. Just have not found this elusive Concha.
    I believe some places use a dry mix. I actually like these bright colored crumbly "Mexican donuts" once in a while. Stale ones are really really bad though.
  • Post #32 - February 9th, 2024, 12:33 pm
    Post #32 - February 9th, 2024, 12:33 pm Post #32 - February 9th, 2024, 12:33 pm
    seebee wrote:
    mrbrowncanmoo wrote:

    I dont get to the Heights all too often, but, when I do, I go here for Tacos Al Pastor. I retired in 2021 as a probation officer and was assigned to the Cook County Jail. Gios often times rivals taco joints in that area for Carne Asada and Al Pastor. Their salsa verde is delish! The salsa roja at times can be blistering.


    Say less. Already mapped it.
    Looks like a pawn shop and an Aldi are right there, too.
    I brought a big ass salad today, but I could still be tempted to try a few tacos.


    I have some friends that live in Homewood and they have indicated Old Fashioned Donuts opening an outpost in the area
  • Post #33 - February 9th, 2024, 3:31 pm
    Post #33 - February 9th, 2024, 3:31 pm Post #33 - February 9th, 2024, 3:31 pm
    My take on Gio's Grill:

    The tacos, rice and beans were decent. Far better and well presented than you'd expect. This counter is basically inbetween a Dunkin Donuts counter, and a liquor store, inside of a gas station. Slot machines blaring. BUT, everything was clean, and kinda nice, actually. Much nicer inside than it looked like it was going to be. Just a counter for ordering, and a counter for eating with about 6 stools, with a fantastic view of the gas pumps, and a few pawn shops, and gyros signs off in the distance, like the peaceful, midwestern, prairie vista, one should have grown to expect in Chicago HEights.

    Anyway, the goods:
    3 taco dinner. 2 steak, one pastor, rice and beans. All good, nothing remotely great, but they take pride in the food, and it shows. Rice was VERY good, seasoned well, fluffy. Beans were nothing special, but not bad in any way at all. The steak was the same - nothing special, but not bad in any way at all. Pastor was a bit better than the steak, but nothing special. Everything was fresh and hot. The salsas, however, absolutely fantastic. Green was ultra fresh, totally popping with fresh flavor and bright. The red was a deep, deep, roasted, earthy concoction that was sizzling hot. More of a thin and oily, than a thick and tomato based. LOVED the salsas.

    Supermercado San Francisco is still my winner (so far) for the taqueria battle of the deep sout side, but Gio's is no slouch at all. Surprisingly good.

    Went back to Daisy's Bakery and copped another piece of their carrot cake. If anyone is near these parts, do NOT sleep on Daisy's Bakery 2. Carrot cake slices, yellow cake slices, any cake slices, pound cake slices. Don't sleep on this little shack of a gem. They had the bread pudding slices out today, as well. I tried one of their really nice looking giant cupcake kinda lookin things with the chocolate frosting. The chocolate frosting was flavorless trash, kinda like that dark brown wax on those overpriced Entenmann's donuts, but it was worth trying. Can't believe I'm loving on carrot cake, but theirs is pretty nice. If you can score an edge piece, it'll probably have some crunchy/greasy parts where the sugar was caramelized. I think I'm going to start concentrating on Chicago Heights food, just so I can't be disappointed, cuz I can get a carrot cake slice for fallback therapy. I spotted Kimmy's Soul Food, Chicago Pit BBQ, Nick's Gyros, and a Jerk Chicken joint all pretty much right next to Gio's. Someone's gotta be making some decent food round here!
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
    Pronoun: That fool over there
    Identifies as: A human that doesn't need to "identify as" something to try to somehow be interesting.
  • Post #34 - February 9th, 2024, 3:53 pm
    Post #34 - February 9th, 2024, 3:53 pm Post #34 - February 9th, 2024, 3:53 pm
    seebee wrote:about 6 stools, with a fantastic view of the gas pumps, and a few pawn shops, and gyros signs off in the distance, like the peaceful, midwestern, prairie vista, one should have grown to expect in Chicago HEights.


    Poetry and taco reviews. Move over J Gold.
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow
  • Post #35 - February 13th, 2024, 12:08 pm
    Post #35 - February 13th, 2024, 12:08 pm Post #35 - February 13th, 2024, 12:08 pm
    Taqueria Hacienda Tapatia.

    Google showed it had some decent reviews. One review picture showed it had the creamy green salsa. It's in Chicago Heights, stone's throw away from Daisy's Bakery 2, so...

    Again, this is another one that shares walls with a gas station, like Gio's Grill. However, this one actually has an expansive seating area, and table service. It looks like an ordering counter with a few stools, but there is a doorway that leads to a dining room with big area. Probably ten tables, spread out. They could easily fit more.

    A few Google reviewers made mention of the server / counterperson being quite attractive, and super nice. I concur. Had nothing to do with me targeting the place, I really just went because of the salsa cremosa.

    So, when dining in, chips and salsa comes out. The table salsa for the chips was excellent. Decent kick, blended red. The chips were actually REALLY good. Warm, crunchy, lightly salted. Thin and crispy. They also brought out a red and green bottled salsa. The bottled red salsa was completely flavorless. The green was delicious. Tangy, spicy, garlicky. I asked if there were any other salsas, hoping for the creamy green, but the server, said they only had an extremely spicy red, and asked if I'd like to try it. Of course I would. She warned me that it was very spicy a few times. It was a thick, mildly deep flavored arbol chile salsa. Not too flavorful, but when mixed with the red table salsa, or the nicely flavored green, it brought everything up a level in the spicy department, and brought a decent bead of sweat to the ol brow.

    3 Taco Dinner. Two steak, one chicken. Rice and Beans
    One crispy tripe taco.

    This is one of those joints that chops everything to smithereens. The meats were all just little micro tidbits, but well seasoned. The tripe was nicely crispy, and my favorite of the three meat selections. Tortillas were all nicely griddle crisped. Onion / cilantro was all clean. The meats were seasoned. Rice and beans were straight up, just ok.

    Nothing was super noteworthy, nothing was bad in any way at all

    If Gio's Grill and this place had a merger, it might be the best Mexican Restaurant around town. Gio's salsa was easily superior, the tacos were about the same, tho Gio's gets a slight edge. Gio's Grill just needs the seating area.

    I had to stop at Daisy's Bakery 2 again. Their carrot cake has a hold of me. Their bread pudding was really good, but had raisins. It was good enough for me to pick it apart and pluck the raisins out. I can eat handfuls of raisins on their own, but once they are cooked, or put into baked goods, I am OUT. Blech.

    Taqueria Hacienda Tapatia
    322 W Lincoln Hwy Unit 2
    Chicago Heights, IL 60411

    ETA -
    I'm going to ask a very Mexican seeming guy in the ofc here if he knows of any taco joints around town that are special in some way. I've only talked to him once or twice, but it's time to see if he has some suggestions. If not, based on the lesser google review ratings of what's left for me to try, it mite be time to pivot. There's a bunch of BBQ, Jerk, and Soul Food well within striking distance.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
    Pronoun: That fool over there
    Identifies as: A human that doesn't need to "identify as" something to try to somehow be interesting.
  • Post #36 - February 14th, 2024, 11:05 am
    Post #36 - February 14th, 2024, 11:05 am Post #36 - February 14th, 2024, 11:05 am
    Welp - the Mexican gentleman here laughed at me when I asked if there were any joints down here that he liked. He said the closest place to here that I actually like is La Casa De Samuel, and it's far away, in Pilsen. So, I gather he knows of what he speaks. He also said, there's no places that he knows of around here that has decent carne asada, OR flame grilled asada for tacos.

    I'll probably try Tacos El Chiquito next, but BBQ and Soul Food are definitely on deck.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
    Pronoun: That fool over there
    Identifies as: A human that doesn't need to "identify as" something to try to somehow be interesting.
  • Post #37 - February 15th, 2024, 3:23 pm
    Post #37 - February 15th, 2024, 3:23 pm Post #37 - February 15th, 2024, 3:23 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:If I understood you correctly, is it worth the effort to check these Mexican places out and will anyone show up?

    Yes, eventually and perhaps those who are familiar with the area will jump in with information. In the past, LTH has been northside leaning, but nobody is recruited or excluded.
    .
    .
    .
    You seem to have an engaging personality, I am sure you will find someone who will relay their favorites to give you momentum. Since you grocery shop and go to bakeries, you can ask people where they like to go as a source of information.

    Jane and Michael Stern have walked in, taken a look and left. If you see other people's plates and don't get order envy, maybe someplace else will. It does take some nerve to do this. Paying for disappointing meals may just be an incentive.

    I'd like to make a suggestion, that is probably in line with Cathy's post, maybe even exactly what she was thinking.

    As you probably have observed, there are LTH groups that get together for lunch on a regular basis in Evanston and in the north suburbs, to try new places and to hang out together. Since you're lunching regularly in Homewood, if you wanted, you could arrange a lunch for an LTH South Lunch Group. There's really not much to arranging; you just post in the Events Calendar a date/time and place to meet for lunch in your area a few weeks in advance, and ask anyone who plans on joining you to post so you know how big a table to sit at. (You might want to also mention it here in this topic, in case those in your area don't normally browse the Events Calendar.) The best outcome is you meet others who enjoy doing the same, and you start getting together regularly at places in your area. The worst outcome is nobody joins you, in which case you're lunching alone and haven't really lost anything by doing so.
  • Post #38 - February 16th, 2024, 9:10 am
    Post #38 - February 16th, 2024, 9:10 am Post #38 - February 16th, 2024, 9:10 am
    nsxtasy wrote:As you probably have observed, there are LTH groups that get together for lunch on a regular basis in Evanston and in the north suburbs, to try new places and to hang out together. Since you're lunching regularly in Homewood, if you wanted, you could arrange a lunch for an LTH South Lunch Group.


    Yeah, ummmm - Homewood ain't Evanston, bruh.

    Kidding aside, I get you.

    I was under the impression that most of the meetups were for recommended places, as in, someone found a place and really liked it - so tried to get more ppl to check it out, and have more ordering power. I've only been down here for a month, haven't seen anything worth trying to form a get-together yet, but I love the hunt.

    As luck would have it today, I didn't bring a lunch, so I'll be on a new adventure. Perhaps Twisted Q gets the call today. My issue is that I'm just drawn to the ghetto lookin shacks.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
    Pronoun: That fool over there
    Identifies as: A human that doesn't need to "identify as" something to try to somehow be interesting.
  • Post #39 - February 16th, 2024, 9:57 am
    Post #39 - February 16th, 2024, 9:57 am Post #39 - February 16th, 2024, 9:57 am
    seebee wrote:I was under the impression that most of the meetups were for recommended places, as in, someone found a place and really liked it - so tried to get more ppl to check it out, and have more ordering power.

    Not necessarily. Sometimes we go to a place that someone tried and liked. But other times we go to a place that none of us has been to. (For next month I'm suggesting a place that doesn't even open until next week, so it will be new for everyone.) Ordering power does provide a way to try more dishes than one would when dining solo, as a nice side benefit to go along with the camaraderie of dining with others.

    seebee wrote:Perhaps Twisted Q gets the call today. My issue is that I'm just drawn to the ghetto lookin shacks.

    Since you're writing the post, you get to choose where you're going, based on whatever type of place you like, and others can then decide to join you there. (With our group, since we already meet every month, we decide at lunch where we're going the following month and who's writing the post.)
  • Post #40 - February 21st, 2024, 3:55 pm
    Post #40 - February 21st, 2024, 3:55 pm Post #40 - February 21st, 2024, 3:55 pm
    Ruby's Soulfood.
    201 W 144th St, Riverdale, IL 60827.

    I ordered wrong. Let's just say that up front.

    A few days ago, I got in the car, ready for my lunch adventure, and selected the wrong Ruby's. I was like 2 miles into the ride before I started thinking, "Where the hell is this Google lady taking me?" Anyway, I made it to a different Ruby's, walked in, saw a line of customers waiting, visibly angered, like, waiting too long. Taking the line of customers into account, I figured I should be ordering something that is probably easy for their kitchen to pump out. I heard the counterperson state a few times, "Thanks for being so patient," when orders were sent out to them. The counterlady was 119% "frazzled," trying to take my order, She couldn't find her pen, but it was literally right in front of her. After she patted herself down a few times, I suggested she take a deep breath, and pushed her pen towards her. She laughed and said, "It was right in front of me this whole time?? One of those days, thank you for being patient."
    Special of the day was Jerk Chicken Fried Rice. I pretty much assumed anything else would take them way too long, so I opted for it. And a side of candied yams, because I will never, ever, ever not order candied yams. Never.

    I stared at my phone for a good 10 minutes, and the food appeared, absolutely piping hot. It was obviously yesterday's leftover jerk chicken, chopped up, some bits reheated and dried out, some bits still had some tenderness. The fried rice was greasy as hell, but, I was hungry as hell, so, I forged ahead. I couldn't finish it all because the grease started weighing on me, but the flavors were actually pretty decent. Light jerk seasoning, could have used a lot more, but it was enough to know it was jerk. Only a hint of heat. At 8.99, it was kinda worth it. The yams? pure, filthy, sugar. If they knew how to apply butter correctly, I would have been in heaven. Almost too sweet to finish the side. (Almost.) No caramelized bits, no good, strong, butter flavor, but totally scratched the itch. These things were just filthy sweet.

    There's easily 5 or 6 soul more food spots well within striking distance:
    Another Ruby's
    Kimmy's
    Faye&Joe's Southern Bowl
    Soul 2 Go
    And a few more.

    I'm back on the 3 lunches from home, 2 lunches out plan, so I'll hit another one in a few days.

    Today, after I ate my big salad from home, I took a trip back to Daisy's Bakery 2. NO CARROT CAKE today. Grrrr. BUT.....they had some kinda nice lookin caramel pecan sticky rolls, and they were EXCELLENT. It was the batter from the Mexican yellow muffins with the red muffin wrapper we all know. That was the batter, but the muffin tin was lined with caramel and pecans, and there you go. So it was like a pecan sticky roll, but made with a lighter, fluffier batter. DANGEROUS. The entire top was all sticky and caramelized - the stuff that sticks to your teeth. That was better than their carrot cake. Daisy's Bakery 2 is over here killing the Mexican Bakery game, if you ask me, but it's just a tiny little corner shack.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
    Pronoun: That fool over there
    Identifies as: A human that doesn't need to "identify as" something to try to somehow be interesting.
  • Post #41 - February 21st, 2024, 8:53 pm
    Post #41 - February 21st, 2024, 8:53 pm Post #41 - February 21st, 2024, 8:53 pm
    seebee wrote:It was the batter from the Mexican yellow muffins with the red muffin wrapper we all know.
    Mantecadas which I believe translates to "little lardy ones." Those sound absolutely great, and an ingenious upgrade/hybrid of Mexican and American baking.

    Thanks for the great story. You've got me trying to figure out an excuse to go south, altho maybe not to Ruby's.
  • Post #42 - March 7th, 2024, 9:44 am
    Post #42 - March 7th, 2024, 9:44 am Post #42 - March 7th, 2024, 9:44 am
    Been a few days since I last rapped at ya...

    Salad kick, so not a lotta lunch explorations recently. Gotta get in spring break beach shape. Round is a shape, right?

    Anyway, a coworker's been mildly hyping up a small grocery / taco counter joint for few weeks. Finally gave it a shot:

    Los Amigos
    15746 Woodbridge Ave.
    Harvey, IL 60426.

    Tiny grocery store, mostly a meat counter with homemade chorizo, and a small selection of fresh meats like chicken, beef cheeks, a few steaks, a few pork cuts, house marinated pastor. Not a lot at ALL. The rest of the store was just an aisle or two of shelf staples, and a countertop box for the "bakery," which was 3 shelves of a few conchas, and a bolillo or two. The taco counter had 4 stools and an eat in counter next to it.

    Standard + list of tacos. All the regulars, plus tripe, and a "Spicy Lomo De Puerco."
    They had a full trompo going, which was surprising for such a tiny space. 3 salsas, the green was the weakest, but the red was nicely spicy, and they had the creamy green, which was easily the best of the lot. Not Chaparrita level, but totally legit.

    Steak was standard issue.

    Spicy Lomo was served in a creamy reddish sauce, and it was FLAMING. Reminded me of Chaparrita's reddish salsa if you've ever had it. I think it might be their "peanut" salsa? Anyway, whatever it was, it cleared my sinuses, and I liked it a lot.

    The pastor was lost on me, since my tastebuds were fried after the spicy lomo.

    Supermercado San Francisco is still in the lead, but Los Amigos surprised me. Both joints are TINY.

    No salad today, so I'll be on the hunt again.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
    Pronoun: That fool over there
    Identifies as: A human that doesn't need to "identify as" something to try to somehow be interesting.
  • Post #43 - March 13th, 2024, 12:26 pm
    Post #43 - March 13th, 2024, 12:26 pm Post #43 - March 13th, 2024, 12:26 pm
    JimTheBeerGuy wrote:They have a sort of signature sandwich called the Guido Special that is sold by weight

    D&D Foods
    1023 S Halsted St
    Chicago Heights, IL 60411
    (708) 755-1520


    Be careful with that one. However much you figure the sandwich is going to weigh, it's heavier than that. It's not hard to find yourself with a $40 sandwich.
  • Post #44 - April 4th, 2024, 12:27 pm
    Post #44 - April 4th, 2024, 12:27 pm Post #44 - April 4th, 2024, 12:27 pm
    A few more data points to add.

    Whatataco
    18217 S Crawford Ave
    Country Club Hills
    I was ready to easily name Whatataco the best in show, but I made the foolish mistake of a return visit. First visit had really good steak, almost tasted like it was flame broiled. AND their fish tacos were cheap and delicious (but small.) Their salsa game was a tad weak, but their red salsa de arbol was decently spicy. They had two other salsas that were forgettable, but the arbol made up for them. The fish tacos were made from a small thin strip of mystery fish filet, but it had seasoned breading, and crispy, yet not overpowering batter. Came with a choice of slaw or not, and the slaw was GOOD, not Orville Kent sugar slop. I eagerly returned a week later, and the steak was subpar. The fish tacos still had the same fish, but the slaw was just slopped on, and it was soupy, and overflowing. Just a total mess. On the bright side, I saw a handwritten sign stating that they did sell avocado salsa as an extra in small containers from a small countertop cooler that I didn't see the first visit. I had already ordered and paid before I saw the sign, and I had no cash, or I would have tried it. I'll still go back and give them another try. A decent amount of promise here.

    BUT...

    Found another place that I can almost guarantee takes real pride in their food. It's another one that shares walls with a gas station, and the ratings were high, so I gave it a go.

    Taqueria Mis Arandas
    306 Dixie Hwy, Chicago Heights

    This one is tiny. A counter for ordering, and about 4 stools along another counter, and not much else. When I walked in, I kinda thought I made a huge mistake, because it smelled strongly like Mccormick brand taco seasoning. I figured we were gonna get some Mexican delicacies in the style of a Des Moines suburb, but I was really wrong here. I'm pretty sure I tried the steak, barbacoa, and chicken, and probably one more. I don't really recall any of the taco meats being great, but none were bad. The tacos were piping hot with nicely warmed tortillas, and clean cilantro/onion. What I most absolutely recall is that they had three salsas, and all of them were droolworthy. Red Arbol, Green Tomatillo, and a Creamy Avocado salsa were all VERY distinct, and excellent. None were boring, standard, renditions. All were very bright and fresh. My dining companion and I had real trouble trying to decide which of the three was the best. I'd suggest they were knocking on the door of Chaparrita greatness (the salsas ONLY.) But, they made the shortcomings of not having any truly outstanding meats far less noticeable. These salsas were great. The guy manning the counter was probably the owner, just because of his demeanor: chill, helpful, asking us questions on what we liked, not just trying to get us in and out. I'm definitely excited to go back, and ask him about what he really likes to make. Perhaps it'll net me some secret fire lunchies in the near future.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
    Pronoun: That fool over there
    Identifies as: A human that doesn't need to "identify as" something to try to somehow be interesting.

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