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Huaraches Dona Chio: glorious masa "snacks"

Huaraches Dona Chio: glorious masa "snacks"
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  • Huaraches Dona Chio: glorious masa "snacks"

    Post #1 - June 18th, 2008, 9:51 am
    Post #1 - June 18th, 2008, 9:51 am Post #1 - June 18th, 2008, 9:51 am
    Yesterday I was with my son at the playlot on Elmdale when I noticed a bunch of construction guys hanging out by what appeared to be a garden level apartment but as we walked closer I saw that it was in fact, a teeny restaurant called Huaraches Dona Chio "Estilo DF" (style of Mexico City, I presume this means?)

    Seeing how it was lunchtime and we have a complete dirth of cheap Mexican food in Andersonville, I practically dove down the stairs into the little spot. The main draw does seem to be the huaraches, I noticed the woman behind the counter taking big handfuls of masa, pressing it under a wooden "tortilla" press and then placing the big slabs on the griddle. After waiting a bit I ordered a gordita with picadillo (ground beef) with cheese. So the only drawback was that it took a very long time. It seems to be a true Mom and Pop (and grandma in the back washing dishes) operation. The woman (Dona Chio?) did all the cooking and the man took the money, bagged things up and served people who were eating in--there are 4 or 5 tables. But to be fair to the real process, I don't think it took so long because of lack of skill, I just think the really thick cakes of masa she made take a long time to thoroughly cook through. Ditto on the huaraches. I ended up taking mine home and it was very much worth the wait (we waited about 20 minutes which probably was even more painful as I had an antsy 5 year-old tugging at my shirt).

    The first thing that struck me was the masa: it had that tangy, earthy smell before I even sank my teeth into it. It was crispy on the outside but also slightly chewy. It was a real gordita not a wimpy tortilla sliced in two. (And it was big, about the size of a salad plate.) The picadillo really impressed me. It was not store ground crumbly "hamburger meat." This was definitely hand ground or even chopped meat, big chunks but not gristly. It had been sauteed with potatoes, onions and poblanos in a mild red sauce. Whoever made it, knows how to take something super simple and inch it toward the sublime. There was a nice amount of cheese, enough to make it salty and add a little gooeyness but not gloppy or overwhelming. Happily, there was no iceberg lettuce or pallid tomatoes in sight.

    I kept telling myself as I was eating that I'd only eat half so that I'd have some more to enjoy later, but the next thing I knew I was staring at an empty styrofoam container. Of course I felt like taking a very long nap about an hour later (those post-lunch siestas are so civilized!) but it was worth the sleepy feeling.

    I noticed they also serve breakfast, notably chilaquiles (!!!) but when I asked the man he said they were going to start serving breakfast in two weeks. So I am not sure if this is a new thing or what time they really open for lunch.

    Anyhow, I watched many people order the Huaraches con tinga -- a spicy marinated chicken she had bubbling away on the stove. So we will be back to try one of those. The menu also says they have Menudo and Pozole on the weekends.

    If you go, I would love to hear about your experience . . .

    Huaraches Dona Chio
    1547 W. Elmdale Ave. (just east of Clark)
    Chicago, IL
    773-878-8470
    Menu says they are open 7 days from 10 am until 9 pm but not sure if this is current.

    bjt

    Original subject line
    hole in the wall Mexican joint: glorious masa "snacks"
    "eating is an agricultural act" wendell berry
  • Post #2 - June 18th, 2008, 10:13 am
    Post #2 - June 18th, 2008, 10:13 am Post #2 - June 18th, 2008, 10:13 am
    Thanks for the report, bjt! If it's half as good as another of your great discoveries--Tacos del Pacifico--we're in for a great treat. Will report back soon...
  • Post #3 - June 18th, 2008, 4:11 pm
    Post #3 - June 18th, 2008, 4:11 pm Post #3 - June 18th, 2008, 4:11 pm
    Huaraches Doña Chio Hurache de Tinga
    Image
    earthy, homey, good, big as a dinner plate

    Detail of Masa
    Image

    We also sampled another hurache with al pastor as well as a gordita with picidillo. While the masa was very good across the board, neither of those spoke to me like the tinga did. They also have a killer salsa verde!
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #4 - June 19th, 2008, 7:10 pm
    Post #4 - June 19th, 2008, 7:10 pm Post #4 - June 19th, 2008, 7:10 pm
    bjt wrote:he first thing that struck me was the masa: it had that tangy, earthy smell before I even sank my teeth into it.

    BJT,

    Entering Huaraches Dona Chio I was struck by the faint aroma of masa, earthy with a subtle tangy sharpness, in an odd case of cultural juxtaposition I was put in mind of simmering chicken soup in my grandmothers kitchen. Happily pleasant associations continued with the huaraches, rough edged beauties, crisp almost meaty masa, tinga multi-layered, complex.

    Huaraches con tinga
    Image

    Al pastor was full flavored and very moist with noticeable, though not overpowering, pepper heat. Very much enjoyed the picadillo with, as BJT mentions, big hunks of ground meat, nothing like the oily baby food beef I've often been presented as picadillo.

    Gordita with picadillo
    Image

    Gordita interior view
    Image

    Two types of salsa, and I'd agree with Steve green is the go-to. There's bowls of dried peppers as well, which I assume is generally intended for weekend menudo and posole.

    Image

    Huaraches are not fast food, at least not at Dona Chio, gorditas and huaraches are made to order and well worth the short wait.

    Huaraches Dona Chio
    Image

    Easy to find, slightly hard to spot, Peterson Ave turns into Elmdale East of Clark Street.

    Image

    Thanks BJT, looking forward to trying the chilaquiles.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #5 - June 20th, 2008, 8:11 am
    Post #5 - June 20th, 2008, 8:11 am Post #5 - June 20th, 2008, 8:11 am
    I'm really glad to see this post and a few other recent "old-school" documentaries of great but previously obscure spots. Unfortunately, this kind of post has become an anachronism.

    I have nothing against enthusiastic resonance among LTHers about things I could see on the Food Network regarding well-funded and carefully marketed BBQ "joints" and high-end temples of gastronomy. But I'm here for stuff like Dona Chio's and the Audubon-like taxonomy and illustration of fried pork sandwiches in their native habitats. Good stuff. Thanks.

    [Edited to correct the spelling of Audubon.]
    Last edited by JeffB on June 20th, 2008, 9:26 am, edited 2 times in total.
  • Post #6 - June 20th, 2008, 8:33 am
    Post #6 - June 20th, 2008, 8:33 am Post #6 - June 20th, 2008, 8:33 am
    JeffB wrote:But I'm here for stuff like Dona Chio's and the Audobon-like taxonomy and illustration of fried pork sandwiches in their native habitats. Good stuff. Thanks.


    Banner quote if I ever heard one!
  • Post #7 - June 27th, 2008, 8:46 pm
    Post #7 - June 27th, 2008, 8:46 pm Post #7 - June 27th, 2008, 8:46 pm
    This slipped off the first page and really needs to be permanently nailed to it. Great find, bjt -- not even a hole in the wall; more like a hole in the floor.

    I heartily concur with JeffB; this type of discovery is (for me) the real raison d'être of this forum. I also concur with bjt that this is not a light meal -- my huarache pretty much put me out of commission and the drive home is fairly fuzzy in my mind. In fact, I'm not altogether sure I'm actually typing this right now.

    Some advice: get it without the salsa already on it. It's too much salsa and distracts a bit from the tinga. Instead, apply it yourself.

    P.S.: The wait was under 10 minutes after ordering.
  • Post #8 - July 1st, 2008, 10:22 pm
    Post #8 - July 1st, 2008, 10:22 pm Post #8 - July 1st, 2008, 10:22 pm
    bjt wrote:I noticed they also serve breakfast, notably chilaquiles (!!!)

    Went Saturday for chilaquiles, a tasty version, but not up to the outright deliciousness of Dona Chio's huaraches. We, I had brunch with Steve Z, split chorizo and tinga chilaquiles, tasty but they were made with store bought tortillas, I had visions of house made tortillas, and were very saucy, I prefer a drier version such as Nuevo Leon.

    chilaquiles, Tinga (top) Choizo (bottom)
    Image

    We split pozole, available on weekends only, a decent version, broth was full flavored with tender bone-in hunks of pork, but the dried corn could have used another hour or two of cooking. I will be back again, and soon, for gorditas and huaraches.

    Pozole
    Image

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    Nuevo Leon Restaurant
    1515 W 18th St
    Chicago, IL 60608
    312-421-1517
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #9 - October 19th, 2008, 6:23 pm
    Post #9 - October 19th, 2008, 6:23 pm Post #9 - October 19th, 2008, 6:23 pm
    We visited yesterday for a late lunch -- outstanding! We will be back.

    We split a huarache al pastor and a gordita with chorizo. Both were excellent. The chorizo was not greasy, a common complain I have at some taquerias.
  • Post #10 - January 31st, 2009, 11:27 am
    Post #10 - January 31st, 2009, 11:27 am Post #10 - January 31st, 2009, 11:27 am
    Happy to report that this place is still kickin ass.

    My first visit to Huaraches Dona Chio yielded the blissful Mexican food experience I've been looking for since a series lackluster south of the border meals.

    Lord almighty, if they have Mexican restaurants in paradise, then certainly these heavenly discs of fresh, earthy masa and complex, smokey tinga topped with the familiar Mexican accouterments are on the menu - prix fix or not.

    I had a combo huarache with the aforementioned tinga (stewed chicken w/ smoked peppers) AND nopales. It was a great combination.

    The masa is excellent - its the giant tortilla I have always dreamed about.

    BTW they had Mexican cokes with sugar clearly printed on the back label - its probably the last of whatever stock is available as Mexican coke goes the way of high fructose corn syrup.

    In either case, this place is quite a find. I hope it sticks around for a while - it will be my go to Mexican place in the Rogers Park area from now on.
    "By the fig, the olive..." Surat Al-Teen, Mecca 95:1"
  • Post #11 - January 31st, 2009, 10:48 pm
    Post #11 - January 31st, 2009, 10:48 pm Post #11 - January 31st, 2009, 10:48 pm
    Habibi wrote:I hope it sticks around for a while

    Lately it's pretty hard to get a seat, so hopefully they're doing well.

    Much as I love the huaraches, they're just too much food for me. So my standard order is now a gordita, which is still damn filling. Both the picadillo and nopales versions are delicious, but I'm stuck on the chorizo and potato -- so satisfying.

    Edit: Thanks!
  • Post #12 - July 31st, 2009, 4:49 pm
    Post #12 - July 31st, 2009, 4:49 pm Post #12 - July 31st, 2009, 4:49 pm
    I had to take the back roads on the way back from the Airport this afternoon b/c of traffic; hungry, I was thinking about where to go and it hit me: Huaraches Dona Chio. I hadn't been there since I moved out of the neighborhood, and I cannot believe I have been so neglectful. Then, while thinking about how much I was enjoying myself and looking at the menu, I realized that I was not the only one who had been neglectful; there has not been a post on this thread since January.

    I don't want anyone else to forget about this glorious little hole in the ground. Now I hope I don't forget again when it is time for GNR nominations.
  • Post #13 - July 31st, 2009, 9:30 pm
    Post #13 - July 31st, 2009, 9:30 pm Post #13 - July 31st, 2009, 9:30 pm
    I am so glad that others have checked it out and enjoyed it. My husband and our wiggly toddler went a few weeks back and we ordered a huarache and a side of beans and rice. My Spanish is so pobre/bad these days that I didn't get that you can order one huarache with up to 3 toppings (for an additional cost but it is minimal). We went for the picadillo again which was good, a little sweeter than I'd remembered but still interesting and satisfying. But the trio of toppings is so what we should have done because I always want a bunch of tastes and seriously, one of the things can feed two people.

    My husband ordered a coke, was given a can of coke and then with a smile and some gesticulating, he got a bottle of proper Mexican coke. He was in heaven and I think he earned some sort of unspoken props for doing so.

    The grandmotherly woman in the back took extra care of my little guy (who gobbled up the rice) and I now know that my kid is as interested in steamy telenovellas (spanish-speaking soap operas) as any goofy cartoon.

    It's funny the talk of it being a Great Neighborhood Restaurant. For me, it is in that there are no other Mexican places in my hood. But oddly, I think most of the clientele aren't coming from the neighborhood but rather they know if it and if there work is nearby they go. But that is completely naive in my part.

    bjt
    "eating is an agricultural act" wendell berry
  • Post #14 - September 2nd, 2009, 7:05 am
    Post #14 - September 2nd, 2009, 7:05 am Post #14 - September 2nd, 2009, 7:05 am
    I had another terrific lunch at Dona Chio the other day. We split a Huarache de Al Pastor and a Gordita de Tinga. Both were excellent, though the al pastor was more like carnitas because it had lost is crisp edges (still delicious). Dona Chio does one thing very well, namely creating earthy, rustic masa preparations cooked with care. Every order is cooked from scratch. There are no shortcuts; no stack of pre-formed masa boats sitting around waiting to have the ingredients added for quick service. You've got to wait a while at Dona Chio, which is fine with me, considering the quality of the finished product. I evaluate which taqueria I want to visit based on the tortilla's fillings, Dona Chio is a place where (literally) the supporting character is the star. Go there for the masa. While this isn't an every day stop for me, when I need a serious masa fix, Huaraches Dona Chio is the place I think of most often.

    Huaraches Dona Chio Gordita de Tinga
    Image

    Huaraches Dona Chio Huarache de Al Pastor
    Image
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #15 - September 2nd, 2009, 2:24 pm
    Post #15 - September 2nd, 2009, 2:24 pm Post #15 - September 2nd, 2009, 2:24 pm
    I enjoyed my inaugural trip to Doña Chio and if not for this forum, I would have never even known about it (if I had a nickel for everytime I said that, I'd have a lot of nickels). Nestled away on that mostly-residential, tree-lined, portion of Elmdale, the place just oozes charm. It's a location that just screams out "hidden gem" and one that almost makes the place itself seem like a magical portal -- as if it's only there at certain times.

    My family and I split one huarache, on which we ordered both tingas and rajas. This was our 6th eating stop of the day (we were touring GNR nominees) and as such, we weren't very hungry, which may have had some bearing on my perception. I always try to rely on my training but when you're full, you're full. In any case, I liked the rajas side of the huarache, which also had a mix of onions and mushrooms on it. The green (tomatillo?) salsa that was mixed in was excellent, too. The tingas, I was less enamored with. They had good flavor but they were some fairly dry, shredded white chicken meat, which never really does it for me (I was expecting pork and should have asked). The huarache itself was distinctive but it was somewhat hard in texture, not particularly hot in temperature and overall, a bit lifeless. I've never had a huarache this gigantic before, so I have no real basis of comparison but I was expecting something a bit more tender. It wasn't bad by any means, just not what I was expecting.

    Next time I go there -- and there will definitely be a next time -- I will stick to my normal preferences and order something a bit more to my liking -- like lengua or some sort of pork. Even though I didn't entirely love my first visit, I can see where this place could easily groove. I'd still heartily recommend it to a friend because it's distinctive, handmade food served by very nice people in a really comfortable and charming space. I just get the feeling that it might take a few visits -- and some real hunger -- before I find the precise combinations I end up loving at Doña Chio.

    =R=
    There are many things that are legal that are not a great idea --Nick Shabazz

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #16 - September 2nd, 2009, 9:21 pm
    Post #16 - September 2nd, 2009, 9:21 pm Post #16 - September 2nd, 2009, 9:21 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:It's a location that just screams out "hidden gem" and one that almost makes the place itself seem like a magical portal -- as if it's only there at certain times.


    <<El Brigaduno>>

    Estrelando Gene Kelly y Roni Suburbanito.
  • Post #17 - September 8th, 2009, 1:34 pm
    Post #17 - September 8th, 2009, 1:34 pm Post #17 - September 8th, 2009, 1:34 pm
    I have to say, I stopped by Dona Chio's today for lunch and was a little underwhelmed. I ordered a gordita al pastor, and found that while it was fresh, it lacked the crisp exterior/fluffy interior that I look for in a gordita, and the whole thing needed salt. That being said, the place was completely line-out-the-door slammed, which may have had something to do with it.

    The staff couldn't have been nicer or more pleasant; there was a 20 minute wait for my to-go order (not that I minded, it was a beautiful day and they were making it all right in front of me.) It also may have been that these items are just a different style from what I'm used to: the portion sizes are huge (my gordita was spilling out of a 7" square styrofoam clamshell) and flatter than others that I've seen, thus soaking up the juices (and there was a lot of juice in the Al pastor) and making it less crisp. Huaraches I saw were gargantuan and equally loaded up with toppings. It's a great deal for lunch: I had trouble eating everything I got, and the entire lunch was $5.50 with a soda. I liked the two accompanying sauces, especially the red sauce that seems to be some kind of roasted pepper blend.

    I'm guessing that, since they're directly between Senn High School and the La Raza offices, it's not uncommon for weekday lunchtime to be hopping. There is a lovely little park between two buildings just to the southeast, if you get takeout I highly recommend eating outside (though the tiny restaurant is a warm and friendly, if crowded, space.) I love handmade masa preps, I was very sorry that this didn't meet my expectations.
  • Post #18 - September 29th, 2009, 11:57 am
    Post #18 - September 29th, 2009, 11:57 am Post #18 - September 29th, 2009, 11:57 am
    I couldn't make it to Dona Chio in time for the GNR nomination period, but I finally did make my first visit yesterday for lunch. I found the space and location charming, but my main impression is that this is the place for oversized, pretty good huaraches and tacos. I had read previous posts and seen photos, but these huaraches are HUGE--they seemed almost twice the size of the huaraches I usually eat at Maxwelll Street Market with three times the amount of topping. I loved the smell of masa in the space, but the masa of our huaraches was buried and lost under too much huitlacoche and chicharron with salsa verde. I also had a lengua taco, which was very good, but somehow also oversized (and not because of the huge huarache I had eaten first)--the tortilla and the pieces of tongue.

    I think I need some time to get over the pro/portions of this place and return for a second try.
  • Post #19 - September 29th, 2009, 12:09 pm
    Post #19 - September 29th, 2009, 12:09 pm Post #19 - September 29th, 2009, 12:09 pm
    happy_stomach wrote:I had read previous posts

    Not mine. :(
  • Post #20 - September 29th, 2009, 12:26 pm
    Post #20 - September 29th, 2009, 12:26 pm Post #20 - September 29th, 2009, 12:26 pm
    cilantro wrote:
    happy_stomach wrote:I had read previous posts

    Not mine. :(


    I did, I did! I swear, cilantro.

    I had read/heard from various people who said that it's too much food, a claim which, in the context of LTH, even if oft repeated, is difficult to weigh. Too much food was a secondary issue with our meal yesterday. I think even if the masa support of the huaraches was smaller, it seems like they'd still over top it. So, I could have (and should have) shared my lengua taco yesterday, but even if split in half, I think it'd be oversized for me. And I'm no food prude. :wink:
  • Post #21 - September 29th, 2009, 4:08 pm
    Post #21 - September 29th, 2009, 4:08 pm Post #21 - September 29th, 2009, 4:08 pm
    I had take out from Dona Chio on Saturday. Mr. X and I split a tinga huarache and a chorizo gordita. I had read here that items were large, but I hadn't realized how large until I got them home to split. We both had parts of our lunch left for the next day. I really liked the tinga hurarache. Excellent masa, flavorful chicken stew. The chorizo gordita was a little one-note for me. (I hadn't recalled some of the recommend items from above.) It could have used some avocado or something different texturally. Not that I didn't finish my half though... ;-) I look forward to exploring the menu further in the future.

    -Mary
    -Mary
  • Post #22 - September 29th, 2009, 4:37 pm
    Post #22 - September 29th, 2009, 4:37 pm Post #22 - September 29th, 2009, 4:37 pm
    I've not yet eaten at this spot. Having said that, I can tell you that huarache's typically sold in Mexico City - the "D.F" - are large, but they're not as round as I see pictured above in one of the photos posted earlier (you most often find them in the shape of the sole of a large sandal - a size 11 for example - though some small sizes can be easily found). They're a meal in themselves, as some of you are finding out. They're not something I look for - because of their size - but the tinga de pollo topping is a favorite of mine so I may try to fit-in a visit to give it/them a try.
  • Post #23 - September 29th, 2009, 5:00 pm
    Post #23 - September 29th, 2009, 5:00 pm Post #23 - September 29th, 2009, 5:00 pm
    These are in the shape of a sandal if you're Robert Wadlow. Maxwell Street has some vendors who do normal-size-11 huaraches: you could put two or three of them in one of these (OK, it's been a while, I might be exaggerating somewhat, but they're really A LOT bigger than most huaraches.)
  • Post #24 - September 29th, 2009, 6:21 pm
    Post #24 - September 29th, 2009, 6:21 pm Post #24 - September 29th, 2009, 6:21 pm
    Bill wrote:I've not yet eaten at this spot. Having said that, I can tell you that huarache's typically sold in Mexico City - the "D.F" - are large, but they're not as round as I see pictured above in one of the photos posted earlier (you most often find them in the shape of the sole of a large sandal - a size 11 for example - though some small sizes can be easily found). They're a meal in themselves, as some of you are finding out. They're not something I look for - because of their size - but the tinga de pollo topping is a favorite of mine so I may try to fit-in a visit to give it/them a try.


    Mhays wrote:These are in the shape of a sandal if you're Robert Wadlow. Maxwell Street has some vendors who do normal-size-11 huaraches: you could put two or three of them in one of these (OK, it's been a while, I might be exaggerating somewhat, but they're really A LOT bigger than most huaraches.)


    If I remember correctly, Ricos Huaraches on Maxwell St. indicates "Estilo D.F." on their signage.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #25 - October 17th, 2009, 10:29 pm
    Post #25 - October 17th, 2009, 10:29 pm Post #25 - October 17th, 2009, 10:29 pm
    I stopped at Huaraches Doña Chio for the first time, this afternoon. The principal reason for the visit was to sample the pozole, but I was disappointed to learn that the restaurant wasn't serving pozole today. Huaraches of the size Doña Chio serves are too large for my liking (or maybe more accurately, too big for my appetite this afternoon), so I chose a slightly slimmed-down (from the size of a huarache) sope with a topping of tinga de pollo and salsa verde. To wash-down my sope I chose a bottle of Jarritos piña.

    Sope con tinga de pollo y salsa verde

    Image

    Actually, the version of sope made/sold by the restaurant is a scaled-back huarache, something much larger than sopes I think you'd typically see in the D.F., or elsewhere in Mexico (and constructed a little differently, as are the huaraches). And since this is a restaurant that specializes in huaraches, maybe that should come as no surprise . . . that the sopes and huaraches are similar in appearance.

    The masa part of the sope was very good. I didn't notice what surface the huaraches/sopes are cooked on but the bottom side of mine had some parts that were charred and there was a nice smoky taste/flavor to it (the bottom). It almost had a cracker-crust thing going. The tinga topping was a large portion for a sope (costing just $4). I didn't like the tinga, though. The mixture tasted to me as if the chicken and marinade had been prepared separately and the marinade added at the last minute. The flavors didn't seem to have melded. I didn't enjoy the salsa verde, either - and I thought it tasted more of a commercially-produced consistency than something made on the spot or in the home. I later observed, though, when paying my bill, a woman cooking salsa verde in a large pot - so it was something prepared from scratch in the restaurant.

    Food prepared in a style similar to what's eaten/sold in Mexico City isn't something we see advertised or prominently promoted here in Chicago, probably because there haven't been many persons moving to this area from the D.F. Sopes and huaraches are popular things to eat in that city (popular "street food," sopes) and having someplace here in Chicago at which to sample them does add further depth to the already extensive selection/variety of Mexican food available to enjoy.

    Some additional observations during the visit would probably cause me to pause before returning again, but if I learned that the weekend-only pozole (well, some weekends - call ahead to see if its available) is especially good I’d think about it.
  • Post #26 - October 17th, 2009, 11:16 pm
    Post #26 - October 17th, 2009, 11:16 pm Post #26 - October 17th, 2009, 11:16 pm
    Bill wrote:Food prepared in a style similar to what's eaten/sold in Mexico City isn't something we see advertised or prominently promoted here in Chicago, probably because there haven't been many persons moving to this area from the D.F. Sopes and huaraches are popular things to eat in that city (popular "street food," sopes) and having someplace here in Chicago at which to sample them does add further depth to the already extensive selection/variety of Mexican food available to enjoy.


    Currently, at Maxwell Street Market, there are several vendors touting the D.F. provenance of their chow:

    Image

    Image

    I do agree, though, that not many brick-and-mortar restaurants seem to boast a D.F. connection.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #27 - November 17th, 2009, 9:38 am
    Post #27 - November 17th, 2009, 9:38 am Post #27 - November 17th, 2009, 9:38 am
    Good lord yes! This is what I'm talking about! EXCELLENT hauraches, crispy on the outside, chewy in the middle, filled with up to 3 toppings. Try the corn fungus, no really! The tinga was tasty, as well as the carne asada. Not crazy about the picadillo, just ground beef...

    BYOB too. One of my new faves!
  • Post #28 - January 4th, 2010, 10:09 pm
    Post #28 - January 4th, 2010, 10:09 pm Post #28 - January 4th, 2010, 10:09 pm
    Just went there with the girlfriend. I ordered a huarache con rajas, pastor y queso (mozzarella), she a sope con pollo en salsa verde, and a tostada with pastor en salsa roja. Everything came with a touch of onions and cilantro. First off, let me just say that after trying the two salsas, I was more than excited to see what came next. The salsa verde errs on the acidic side, which is all good in my book. The red sauce has a smokiness to it that's really delightful. Oh, that's right, we also asked for some chicharron regular on the side, which came marinated in green sauce with just enough tortilla chips on the side. Yum! I've actually never had chicharron non-crispy and marinated like that before and I have to say, considering it's straight-up pig fat it was executed with grace and finesse.

    Now, the huarache I got was not bad at all and will certainly bring me back for more, esp. given the generous portions. The pastor meat came in nice small chunks (not the semi-ground-up variety that you normally get in tacos throughout the city), drenched in their corpulent salsa roja. The rajas, or poblano with onions, was even better--the poblano was quite fresh and rich in flavor, and the salsa verde complimented it just so well. The cheese, on the other hand was somewhat skimpy. Finally, and I have to say this in the most muted tone possible, the masa, while certainly better than much of what is found in the city, could have gone further. I say that with some hushing because I really enjoyed what went on top of the huarache. To begin, the taste of manteca was not at all noticeable, and the dough needed a bit more salt to bring out it's flavor. That said, I will ask that you raise the volume a bit if you will when I say that the frijol filling for the huarache was utterly insipid and dry. Perhaps the filling suffered from a lack of manteca as well? A bit more oil could have brought it quite a bit further, not to mention some garlic, onions and salt. I won't comment on my girlfriend's order, but suffice to say the chicken was uneventful (it often is in restaurants) and the pastor on her tostada for some reason was a bit less rich in flavor than mine.

    None of this is to say that we did not enjoy our visit. In fact, I spent some time chatting with the owner (sic?) about how difficult it was to find the spot, esp. seeing as we both have lived in the immediate area for some time now. Yes, I cringed somewhat at the thought of making this seemingly secret GNR honoree more visible to the rest of the world, but then it's up to the owner to decide that for themselves. That said, after commenting that perhaps a sign on the corner of Clark might help, or even something closer to the street, he confessed that he envisioned a lit-up sign that might more easily grab the attention of a passerby. On the way out, I commented that "En estas regresamos y tienen el aviso prendido a full volumen," which summoned a warm, friendly laugh on his part.
  • Post #29 - June 27th, 2010, 7:45 pm
    Post #29 - June 27th, 2010, 7:45 pm Post #29 - June 27th, 2010, 7:45 pm
    Delightful place, and what this board is all about. Never in a million years would I have eaten here without the write ups on LTH. The food was great, and the portions enormous. Two of us (granted, we're not big eaters) ordered a huarache with one topping and a gordita. We barely finished the huarache and had the entire gordita wrapped to go.

    Jonah
  • Post #30 - January 12th, 2011, 7:58 pm
    Post #30 - January 12th, 2011, 7:58 pm Post #30 - January 12th, 2011, 7:58 pm
    I had dinner with a couple of friends last week who raved about Dona Chio. I had a meeting in the neighborhood today, and I hate trying new (to me) GNRs, so I stopped in for a late lunch.

    I asked the server what she considered to be the best thing on the menu and she pointed me toward the tinga huarache. I was a bit disappointed to see shredded chicken breast when it came out, but it was actually quite delicious. The huarache was the star, for sure, but the chicken stew was fresh, moist, and nicely spiced. This is simple, well-executed, handcrafted food. Reminded me of the guisos that the Mexican grandmother that I never had never used to make. If they can do this with chicken breast, I can't wait to see what they can do with a protein that I actually like.

    Was good.

    --Rich
    I don't know what you think about dinner, but there must be a relation between the breakfast and the happiness. --Cemal Süreyya

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