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Pollo Vagabundo

Pollo Vagabundo
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  • Post #31 - November 17th, 2015, 3:19 pm
    Post #31 - November 17th, 2015, 3:19 pm Post #31 - November 17th, 2015, 3:19 pm
    I always call ahead now before visiting Pollo Vagabundo. I have shown up three times during their posted operating hours to find it closed. Each time was lunch on a Saturday, so maybe that day of the week is particularly bad for them.

    I still love the place (especially the tortillas), but they do seem to keep somewhat erratic hours.
  • Post #32 - November 19th, 2015, 5:31 pm
    Post #32 - November 19th, 2015, 5:31 pm Post #32 - November 19th, 2015, 5:31 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    fropones wrote:Note the 8pm closing time. Wasn't really thinking about and showed up at 8:05 the other night to a lot of disappointment. Although Gene and Jude's isn't the worst consolation.

    As long as we're on the subject of hours, I'm pretty sure that they're closed on Wednesdays, which is not noted on their website.

    =R=


    They are absolutely closed on Wednesdays.

    I'm only there when I'm nearby at work so I haven't tried to go on a Saturday.
  • Post #33 - March 22nd, 2016, 8:04 am
    Post #33 - March 22nd, 2016, 8:04 am Post #33 - March 22nd, 2016, 8:04 am
    In an effort to visit as many of the paces nominated for a GNR award as I can, I made it out to Pollo Vagabundo. It's been a while since my office was close enough to make regular visits, so it was good to see that everything has held up well. We ordered some "greatest hits" and weren't disappointed in any of them. I'd also echo the advice given by others to call ahead to order your chicken, especially at lunch time and on weekends. We were advised to do so no less than three times by the workers there.

    1/2 of the Salsa Bar
    Image

    Pollo Asado
    Image

    Hand Made Tortillas
    Image

    Chile Relleno Plate
    Image

    stevez wrote:
    jane franklin wrote:Also...their carne asada is very tasty.. I think I figured out why.. Carlos grills the cheese alone first and then puts in the tortilla and regrills it.. It makes a difference.


    What cheese?


    I think I finally figured out what Jane Franklin was talking about. She must have been referring to a carne asada quesadilla.

    Carne Asada Quesadilla
    Image

    This is the carne asada quesadilla gigante (and it really is gigante). There is a crispy, chewy, salty layer of cheese inside that must have been cooked in the manner that Jane Franklin wrote about upthread. This was the sleeper hit of the night, at least for me.

    Pollo Vagabundo
    101 W Grand Ave
    Northlake, IL 60164
    (847) 288-0713
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #34 - August 5th, 2017, 6:50 am
    Post #34 - August 5th, 2017, 6:50 am Post #34 - August 5th, 2017, 6:50 am
    We went to Pollo Vagabundo last night. Great as always. Split a desebrada gordita and a tinga chicken burrito. Both were wonderful. chunky avocado salsa is my new favorite.

    We congratulated the owner, Carlos, on his GNR award. He did not have a clue what we were talking about. He said he has never heard of the LTHforum. Was the award ever given to him?
  • Post #35 - August 5th, 2017, 9:27 am
    Post #35 - August 5th, 2017, 9:27 am Post #35 - August 5th, 2017, 9:27 am
    funkyfrank wrote:We went to Pollo Vagabundo last night. Great as always. Split a desebrada gordita and a tinga chicken burrito. Both were wonderful. chunky avocado salsa is my new favorite.

    We congratulated the owner, Carlos, on his GNR award. He did not have a clue what we were talking about. He said he has never heard of the LTHforum. Was the award ever given to him?

    Awards were sent via messenger/Fed-Ex (along with a letter of explanation). And yes, they definitely received it . . . at least according to the tracking information. That said, the awards are easily reproduced. I can bring them another one.

    =R=
    Same planet, different world
  • Post #36 - August 5th, 2017, 12:35 pm
    Post #36 - August 5th, 2017, 12:35 pm Post #36 - August 5th, 2017, 12:35 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    funkyfrank wrote:We went to Pollo Vagabundo last night. Great as always. Split a desebrada gordita and a tinga chicken burrito. Both were wonderful. chunky avocado salsa is my new favorite.

    We congratulated the owner, Carlos, on his GNR award. He did not have a clue what we were talking about. He said he has never heard of the LTHforum. Was the award ever given to him?

    Awards were sent via messenger/Fed-Ex (along with a letter of explanation). And yes, they definitely received it . . . at least according to the tracking information. That said, the awards are easily reproduced. I can bring them another one.

    =R=

    Just curious and Thanks for your work!

    When a restaurant is awarded a GNR is the owner told or is the award just mailed?
    "Very good... but not my favorite." ~ Johnny Depp as Roux the Gypsy in Chocolat
  • Post #37 - August 5th, 2017, 6:28 pm
    Post #37 - August 5th, 2017, 6:28 pm Post #37 - August 5th, 2017, 6:28 pm
    Panther in the Den wrote:Just curious and Thanks for your work!

    When a restaurant is awarded a GNR is the owner told or is the award just mailed?

    In this case they were Fed-Ex'd a silver 17" x 14" padded pouch with a framed GNR certificate and a letter enclosed. I think it would be very hard to miss but perhaps it was. In any case, we never just mail. We generally try to call first or show up in person. When we fail to make person-to-person contact, we use a delivery method that provides for proof of delivery. However, even in years past when we held the awards banquet, non-responses were fairly common . . . and this when we were inviting places, as our guests, to a banquet at which they'd be honored.

    =R=
    Same planet, different world
  • Post #38 - November 9th, 2017, 8:54 pm
    Post #38 - November 9th, 2017, 8:54 pm Post #38 - November 9th, 2017, 8:54 pm
    Embarrassingly late to the game here. I just never bothered to look up this place and never knew where Northlake was. Well, as it turns out, it's pretty close to O'Hare and not very far from my office.

    Two visits this past week: carne asada burrito was really good, including the house-made flour tortilla. Today, the grilled chicken, which is about as fantastic as chicken can be. The seasoning was fantastic and the meat beautifully cooked and moist. I can think of only a few places where the chicken rivals what they serve here. And guess what: it's served with more of those house-made tortillas. And oh, that salsa bar. Spectacular! So sorry, it took me a while, but I'm trying to make up for all of my missed trips quickly.

    And by the way, the GNR certificate is standing to the left of where you order.
  • Post #39 - November 9th, 2017, 9:24 pm
    Post #39 - November 9th, 2017, 9:24 pm Post #39 - November 9th, 2017, 9:24 pm
    BR wrote:Embarrassingly late to the game here. I just never bothered to look up this place and never knew where Northlake was. Well, as it turns out, it's pretty close to O'Hare and not very far from my office.

    Two visits this past week: carne asada burrito was really good, including the house-made flour tortilla. Today, the grilled chicken, which is about as fantastic as chicken can be. The seasoning was fantastic and the meat beautifully cooked and moist. I can think of only a few places where the chicken rivals what they serve here. And guess what: it's served with more of those house-made tortillas. And oh, that salsa bar. Spectacular! So sorry, it took me a while, but I'm trying to make up for all of my missed trips quickly.

    And by the way, the GNR certificate is standing to the left of where you order.


    This, so much this. Also, the steak quesadilla (why would anyone order a steak quesadilla? You need to order a steak quesadilla.) is a whole new world here. One day I will make a three-ply quesadilla of two of these and one of chicharron and papalo from Cemitas Puebla in the middle and lie me down happy in a green field.
  • Post #40 - January 21st, 2018, 2:39 pm
    Post #40 - January 21st, 2018, 2:39 pm Post #40 - January 21st, 2018, 2:39 pm
    I felt up for a drive last night before coming back home to take in the stinker of a Blackhawks game, so I made the half hour drive to Pollo Vagabundo for the first time, even though I had tacos (at Macho Taco in Justice) for lunch, and wasn't in the mood for chicken. But what had caught my eye when I looked at the menu at home was the gorditas, especially the rajas con queso.

    My first reaction to the place was jubilation. It's the kind of place that visually may turn some people up, but it's more "beaten up" and not dirty at all. Little things made me happy such as the business filing cabinets next to the cashier, and the GNR right next to them, on shelving which also included a big fan and some bankers boxes. And it was busy, even at 6:30pm on a Saturday, and almost everybody else there was a family. These are clearly people working their behinds off.

    I ordered a gordita and another one of my favorite Mexican items, a plate of guidado de puerco in a red sauce. They gave me a larger and a smaller container for the salsa bar, but I went pretty traditional in my choices. The wait was a solid 10-12 minutes, as there were a lot of call-in orders as well as the people in front of me.

    I unwrapped the gordita to let it cool off and ate half of it in the Oakbrook Terrace Costco parking lot after I finished buying gas. The tortilla texture and taste was completely unexpected, almost like thinking you're eating Wonder bread and getting a bite of a good sourdough instead. But I think the rajas kinda got lost, there were a generous portion, but they never quite overshadowed the tortilla.

    Now the guisado, that would be outstanding in that tortilla. Then again, it was outstanding by itself. The portion was huge, and after the gordita I could only manage to eat 1/3 of it for dinner, and just finished off the other 2/3 a few minutes ago for lunch.

    My new setup at work has me taking a lot less morning flights out of O'Hare in exchange for mostly 1:30pm or 6:30pm flights. This is definitely going to be part of the pre-flight meal rotation.
    "Fried chicken should unify us, as opposed to tearing us apart. " - Bomani Jones
  • Post #41 - January 21st, 2018, 4:05 pm
    Post #41 - January 21st, 2018, 4:05 pm Post #41 - January 21st, 2018, 4:05 pm
    Glad you liked It! Don't overlook the outstanding quesadillas. Carne asada is my personal favorite. Served with the cheese browned up on the plancha before being stuffed into a homemade flour tortilla.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #42 - January 22nd, 2018, 7:32 am
    Post #42 - January 22nd, 2018, 7:32 am Post #42 - January 22nd, 2018, 7:32 am
    I really gotta get over here
  • Post #43 - January 22nd, 2018, 5:03 pm
    Post #43 - January 22nd, 2018, 5:03 pm Post #43 - January 22nd, 2018, 5:03 pm
    stevez wrote:Glad you liked It! Don't overlook the outstanding quesadillas. Carne asada is my personal favorite. Served with the cheese browned up on the plancha before being stuffed into a homemade flour tortilla.


    It feels so weird saying this about a place with chicken in the name, but carne asada really is the way to go. Some of the best I've had in Chicagoland.
  • Post #44 - May 24th, 2023, 11:44 am
    Post #44 - May 24th, 2023, 11:44 am Post #44 - May 24th, 2023, 11:44 am
    I'm really happy that a recent change in my work routine has me going right past PV on a regular basis. What used to be quite out of the way for me is now directly on one of my regular routes. I've stopped in few times recently, including earlier this week, for a quick solo lunch . . .

    Image
    Quesadilla - Shredded Beef w/Green Sauce
    Additional salsas from the salsa bar.

    I have to agree with the above comments in that this pollo-free dish was spectacular, in spite of it containing none of the eponymous ingredient. Quesadillas seem so simple and yet, this one continues to consistently transcend.

    =R=
    Same planet, different world
  • Post #45 - May 20th, 2024, 12:27 pm
    Post #45 - May 20th, 2024, 12:27 pm Post #45 - May 20th, 2024, 12:27 pm
    FYI, Pollo Vagabundo was as good as ever for lunch yesterday, but I note a sign on the door suggesting the business is for sale. Hopefully nothing changes.

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