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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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  • Post #31 - June 14th, 2011, 6:33 pm
    Post #31 - June 14th, 2011, 6:33 pm Post #31 - June 14th, 2011, 6:33 pm
    got back over to 25th &whipple today for some quick tacos .
    they are some of the best :mrgreen:
    philw bbq cbj for kcbs &M.I.M. carolina pit masters
  • Post #32 - June 24th, 2011, 7:38 am
    Post #32 - June 24th, 2011, 7:38 am Post #32 - June 24th, 2011, 7:38 am
    If Chaparrita doesn't get a GNR there's something terribly wrong with this forum. I dare say this is the best taco place in Chicago.
  • Post #33 - June 24th, 2011, 7:51 am
    Post #33 - June 24th, 2011, 7:51 am Post #33 - June 24th, 2011, 7:51 am
    c_howitt_fealz wrote:If Chaparrita doesn't get a GNR there's something terribly wrong with this forum. I dare say this is the best taco place in Chicago.


    If you feel that way, don't forget to nominate it during the next round of GNR nominations in the spring.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #34 - June 24th, 2011, 9:51 am
    Post #34 - June 24th, 2011, 9:51 am Post #34 - June 24th, 2011, 9:51 am
    stevez wrote:
    c_howitt_fealz wrote:If Chaparrita doesn't get a GNR there's something terribly wrong with this forum. I dare say this is the best taco place in Chicago.


    If you feel that way, don't forget to nominate it during the next round of GNR nominations in the spring.


    Or even, dare I say it, post a review of your experience - which is ultimately what will have the most influence on GNR-worthiness consideration?
    Objects in mirror appear to be losing.
  • Post #35 - June 24th, 2011, 11:11 am
    Post #35 - June 24th, 2011, 11:11 am Post #35 - June 24th, 2011, 11:11 am
    Kman wrote:
    stevez wrote:
    c_howitt_fealz wrote:If Chaparrita doesn't get a GNR there's something terribly wrong with this forum. I dare say this is the best taco place in Chicago.


    If you feel that way, don't forget to nominate it during the next round of GNR nominations in the spring.


    Or even, dare I say it, post a review of your experience - which is ultimately what will have the most influence on GNR-worthiness consideration?

    Yes, good advice all the way around. :)

    =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 #36 - June 24th, 2011, 3:23 pm
    Post #36 - June 24th, 2011, 3:23 pm Post #36 - June 24th, 2011, 3:23 pm
    i stopped again today
    had 2 pastor with pineapple .
    i might have to go back to get more just from talking about them :mrgreen:
    philw bbq cbj for kcbs &M.I.M. carolina pit masters
  • Post #37 - June 24th, 2011, 10:02 pm
    Post #37 - June 24th, 2011, 10:02 pm Post #37 - June 24th, 2011, 10:02 pm
    The tacos are all-around amazing. From the tacos al pastor (top photo without pineapple, second with):
    Image

    Image

    To the head:
    Image

    To the brains:
    Image

    To the tongue:
    Image

    To the molleja (glands):
    Image

    And don't forget the side of onions:
    Image

    The tripas are so clean you almost wouldn't know what you were eating. And the huaraches are excellent - I tried a mushroom and cactus combo the other day and my wife liked it so much she had it the next time. I also recommend you try the freshly-blended aguas frescas (nothing like the lime).

    It's the type of place I'd love to run myself in my wife's hometown in southern Mexico.
  • Post #38 - June 26th, 2011, 5:21 pm
    Post #38 - June 26th, 2011, 5:21 pm Post #38 - June 26th, 2011, 5:21 pm
    The Lovely Donna and I hit Chaparrita for lunch both yesterday and today. She had pastor, both ways, and the asada. I tried tripas, mollejas, cabeza and lengua. I haven't had tacos this tasty since leaving Dallas eleven years ago. In addition to perfectly cooked fillings, we especially enjoyed the tortillas, which are just barely dipped in the bubbling stock before being lightly griddled rather than nuked.

    We'll be back soon.

    Evil
    "Bass Trombone is the Lead Trumpet of the Deep."
    Rick Hammett
  • Post #39 - July 3rd, 2011, 9:47 am
    Post #39 - July 3rd, 2011, 9:47 am Post #39 - July 3rd, 2011, 9:47 am
    I think it's telling that each poster had a different fave at La Chapparita; I'm no exception: I didn't care much for the pastor or the molleja, but the tripa was out of this world, a crunchy, almost bacon-y swell of organ goodness; the longanisa was a close second.

    One thing to note: the tacos in LTH pictures may appear larger than they actually are. My gf and I are about as skinny as you can get and were sated only after eating one of every taco, including three longanisa--that's 12 in total, for those you counting at home.
  • Post #40 - July 8th, 2011, 1:10 pm
    Post #40 - July 8th, 2011, 1:10 pm Post #40 - July 8th, 2011, 1:10 pm
    It's alfalfa season at La Chaparrita.

    Image

    Their take on agua de alfalfa is a little different than others. Those familiar with the food at La Chaparrita won't be surprised by the extra care and effort they put into this beverage. It's much thicker and frothier than other versions I've had.

    Image

    The secret is pinguica, also known as uva ursi, a dried berry that gets ground to a powder before mixing with the alfalfa and pineapple.

    Image

    I got to sample some other aguas frescas at La Chaparrita and thought almost all were best-of-type. I'm more and more impressed with each visit (and I loved it the first time).
  • Post #41 - July 10th, 2011, 3:30 pm
    Post #41 - July 10th, 2011, 3:30 pm Post #41 - July 10th, 2011, 3:30 pm
    Rene G wrote:I got to sample some other aguas frescas at La Chaparrita and thought almost all were best-of-type. I'm more and more impressed with each visit (and I loved it the first time).

    I wholeheartedly agree. I thought the melon agua fresca was phenomenal. I loved the alfalfa one about which you posted, as well as the lemon one that I ordered.

    Lunch at La Chaparrita, my first time there, was a major eye opener. With almost no exception, everything I ate was outstanding, and I say this as someone who went in with very high expectations. This meal ended with me very full (I never even ate dinner on this night) and very happy (couldn't stop thinking about the glorious lunch). Here's a photo recap, though glancing back upthread, I'm not sure I have all the tacos properly labeled, so corrections are welcome . . .

    Image
    La Chaparrita - 2500 S. Whipple, Chicago


    Image
    Menu
    There were other items offered on individual signs but this covered most of the offerings.


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    Limes, Radishes & Salsas
    Oh my. I loved the green one, I loved the red one...hard to decide which I loved more. Both were sensational, complex and hot.


    Image
    Shrine
    This shrine is very cool. I especially love the bottles of tequila on the right.


    Image
    Cooking
    Where the magic happens.


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    Huarache con Hongos, Salsa Roja
    The huaraches were very tasty. I preferred this one, with the mushrooms and red sauce.


    Image
    Huarache con Noples, Salsa Verde
    This huarache was topped with cactus leaves and green sauce.


    Image
    Cebollitas & Jalapenos
    Great stuff. On this particular day, the jalapenos were extremely fiery, which I appreciated.


    Image
    Plate o' Tacos
    Ok, it's a mighty big lunch but I just couldn't stop ordering tacos. The waitress laughed at me and told me that I was only 2 away from ordering one of each...a goal I hope to someday acheive. :wink:


    Image
    Pastor
    I loved this one.


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    Mojella
    A little dry and chalky. Unquestionably my least favorite, though I'm glad I tried it.


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    Suadero
    Great flavor, moist and nicely-textured. It was tender and slightly chewy.


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    Lengua
    Meaty, rich and tender. Awesome.


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    Tripa
    Wow! Crispy, chewy, mildly-funky and full of flavor. If I could only order one, this would be it.


    Image
    Asada
    Intensely meaty and ultra-tender.


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    Longaniza
    Phenomenal...like a really excellent, ramped-up version of chorizo. I liked this quite a bit and hadn't had one close to this good since I was in Kansas City in 2009 (at Camino Real). This one was better.


    Image
    Cabeza
    Unctuous, fatty, sticky, gelatinous and entirely wonderful.


    Image
    La Cuenta
    Not at all bad for 6 hungry and thirsty young men.

    What a great lunch. I cannot wait to return. It's places like this that make me so grateful for LTH and the exlporation/reporting that folks around here do. I would have never known about this place if not for reading about it here. Even after only one visit, I have a strong feeling that La Chaparrita is going to be my personal benchmark for tacos in Chicago. A co-worker of mine lives about a mile from here and she didn't even know about it. I filled her in and I cannot wait to she what she thinks of it. Hell, I might even join her there.

    =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 #42 - July 10th, 2011, 6:34 pm
    Post #42 - July 10th, 2011, 6:34 pm Post #42 - July 10th, 2011, 6:34 pm
    Ron,

    WOW!!!

    You're above post and pics couldn't have done more justice to the most exciting food spot I've been introduced to in Chicago in quite some time (thanks, GWiv...and btw, happy birthday).

    One note about La Chapparita: the charola master pictured above is truly a master taco maker. Of the 5-6 times I've been there, the man has routinely come out from the kitchen to see if you're enjoying his creations. There is no doubt that this guy takes tremendous pride in what he does and it shows in every taco he makes.

    The owner himself told me once that he wouldn't even remotely consider trying to do what is does, having years of experience at this craft under his belt.

    Thanks.
  • Post #43 - July 27th, 2011, 12:30 pm
    Post #43 - July 27th, 2011, 12:30 pm Post #43 - July 27th, 2011, 12:30 pm
    Rene G wrote:
    G Wiv wrote:I find tacos de canasta particularly appealing.

    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).

    Image

    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.

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


    Bringing things full circle, Emma happens to be the mother of La Chaparrita #1's Angelina. In addition to owning La Chaparrita #2, she also owns a handful of carts--Marquette Park, 95th and the Lake, and the one in Peter's photo--which Jose helps to operate.

    Due to a police crackdown, items like tacos de canasta, tamales, and elotes have been, shall we say, less evident, along 26th St. in the last year or so, though fruit is still prevalent.
  • Post #44 - September 9th, 2011, 10:04 pm
    Post #44 - September 9th, 2011, 10:04 pm Post #44 - September 9th, 2011, 10:04 pm
    Stopped by la chaparrita tonight for a late dinner. Had 4 tacos: al pastor, tripa, asada, and longaniza. Each was exemplary, though I got the al pastor w pineapple this time and prefer it without. Washed it down with a guava agua. This place is dope y'all.

    Love,
    John
    It isn't that I'm not full...
  • Post #45 - November 1st, 2011, 3:02 pm
    Post #45 - November 1st, 2011, 3:02 pm Post #45 - November 1st, 2011, 3:02 pm
    There's nothing I can add that hasn't already been said except that for today and tomorrow only, mole is in the house. Sapinchebrosso! Apparently it's traditional for los dios de los muertos. Lunch was even more wonderful than normal (I know, it's hard to believe) w/this addition.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #46 - November 22nd, 2011, 4:16 pm
    Post #46 - November 22nd, 2011, 4:16 pm Post #46 - November 22nd, 2011, 4:16 pm
    Made my maiden voyage to Chaparrita and couldn't be more impressed. Since G Wiv first posted about the place, its been number one on my must try list. If I don't eat out again before going back to NYC after the holiday weekend, I won't even care - this place was so good.

    I loved the tripa, which was offered either sauve (soft) or doradito (golden-crispy). Saudero was deeply flavorful and like the crispy tripa I chose, laced with crunchy bits. I loved the mollejas - Ronnie S. called them chalky, I prefer custard-like. Longaniza, house-made, exploding flavor and red-tinted grease.

    These are the best tacos I've had anywhere. Period. The cooking method allows the various meats and their juices to co-mingle and pleasure one another. Of course, it takes a master hand to coax out the perfect doneness, texture and flavor from each cut of meat. The taquero must have taken master classes from a French chef to achieve such harmony.

    What makes these tacos especially pleasurable is the deft hand with which they are dressed. Onions and cilantro are chopped fine and used sparingly. The sides - cebollitas and jalapenos stewed slowly in rendered fat, are masterpieces in their own right.

    And that alfalfa agua? Haunting.

    Thanks G Wiv and LTH for showing me this place. I would never have found it otherwise (not completely true - my good friend lives two blocks away). What a gem.
    "By the fig, the olive..." Surat Al-Teen, Mecca 95:1"
  • Post #47 - November 22nd, 2011, 6:47 pm
    Post #47 - November 22nd, 2011, 6:47 pm Post #47 - November 22nd, 2011, 6:47 pm
    Habibi wrote:...I loved the mollejas - Ronnie S. called them chalky, I prefer custard-like.

    Excellent! I'll have to try them again. They were pretty dried out on the day I had them but that was the only thing that wasn't truly outstanding on that day.

    =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 #48 - December 4th, 2011, 4:40 pm
    Post #48 - December 4th, 2011, 4:40 pm Post #48 - December 4th, 2011, 4:40 pm
    Just got turned on to this thread by Jazzfood. Looks like a great place. Definitely somewhere I'll want to hit the next time I can get to Chicago.

    I haven't had time to read through the whole thread, just skim it, but I thought I might as well add a little to the discussion of the style of food.

    1) The term "fritangas" in regards to this style of tacos isn't something anyone who makes or eats the tacos would use. As best I can tell with my weak-ass Spanish is that it's a play on words that Iturriaga, who is a brilliant food-lover, applied to the stuff. Those in DF don't really have a general term. They would just say "tacos" and then be specific by saying "tacos de...." as in "tacos de suadero", "de tripas", "de longaniza", etc. This style of taco is the most popular in Mexico City, at least for casual eating on the street and in taquerias. I would say about half the places serving this style of tacos also serve al pastor, but they're really two separate types of tacos. These same places also often have alambres, massive stir-fries usually topped with melted cheese, though those are often also served with tacos de guisado. I see now that RST covers a lot of this here. (It's also interesting to see RST mentioning this place as a great example of the style back in 2008.)

    2) Tortillas are rarely if ever especially good with this style of taco. It's the cheapest of the taco styles, where you're often getting 5 tacos for as little as 10 pesos. (They're also usually smaller tacos compared to some.) I'm not sure I've ever seen handmade tortillas with them. However, the tortillas are usually dipped in the bubbling fat and placed on the nipple of the charola briefly to lightly pan-fry them which largely counters the problems of tortilla machine tortillas.

    3) I've never seen suadero served as they seem to here, in thin slabs. It looks more like cecina or bistek. Suadero is slow-fried brisket. I usually tell people it's like carnitas but from a cow. When I make it at home, it takes about 3-4 hours. I usually start it frying on each side, butterfly it, then pan fry it until tender and crisp. It's often marinated in milk, but I think that's unnecessary with our beef. Whenever I've seen it served in DF, it's cut off the slab of brisket and chopped into little tender crispy bits.

    4) Types of tacos tend to have their "times". Tacos de guisado is a morning and early afternoon taco. The stands are gone by 2 or 3pm. Carne asada is a night taco. Tacos de canasta is definitely a morning taco. Barbacoa is a morning and weekend taco. And while "fritangas" are definitely more of a night taco, I think I've seen more 24 hour stands and taquerias with this style of taco than any other. Just don't count on suadero being ready at 11am.

    5) Speaking of tacos de canasta, I don't like them or tacos al vapor either. I don't get them at all. But Chilangos? Chilangos go batshit crazy for tacos de canasta. They long for them like an American might long for french toast or blueberry pancakes.

    6) Campechanos can really be any sort of mix. A campechano in a mariscos place will have a mix of seafood. At a taco spot, it will have a mix of meats. There are some mixes more typical than others, though.

    7) Toppings can be extensive. Cebollitas like they have are ubiquitous. Cilantro and onions are a usual option along with a couple simple and very spicy salsas. Nopales, often also slow-fried, are very common, too.

    Some video I shot in DF (I cannot guarantee that you won't be subjected to my shitty ala minute Spanish, so turn down the sound). Some of these aren't really fritangas:













    I will also say it drives me up the fucking wall how many goddam taquerias open with the same crap: carne asada (though usually flat-top grilled and more steamed than anything) or "fajita meat" in Tejas, carnitas, pollo, and al pastor (with no trompo in sight, making it more properly adovada), maybe lengua and cabeza (and if you're really lucky, buche), but not any of the other multitude of taco styles, including the "fritangas", which is much more appropriate for a taco truck or small taqueria option, imo.
  • Post #49 - December 4th, 2011, 10:05 pm
    Post #49 - December 4th, 2011, 10:05 pm Post #49 - December 4th, 2011, 10:05 pm
    extramsg wrote:1) The term "fritangas" in regards to this style of tacos isn't something anyone who makes or eats the tacos would use. As best I can tell with my weak-ass Spanish is that it's a play on words that Iturriaga, who is a brilliant food-lover, applied to the stuff. Those in DF don't really have a general term. They would just say "tacos" and then be specific by saying "tacos de...." as in "tacos de suadero", "de tripas", "de longaniza", etc. This style of taco is the most popular in Mexico City, at least for casual eating on the street and in taquerias. I would say about half the places serving this style of tacos also serve al pastor, but they're really two separate types of tacos. These same places also often have alambres, massive stir-fries usually topped with melted cheese, though those are often also served with tacos de guisado. I see now that RST covers a lot of this here. (It's also interesting to see RST mentioning this place as a great example of the style back in 2008.)

    I got that impression during my first visit to La Chaparrita. When asked about "fritangas" José said he wouldn't use that word to describe his tacos. As I recall, he said it better describes a mess of leftovers you'd fry up together for breakfast (or something like that).

    extramsg wrote:2) Tortillas are rarely if ever especially good with this style of taco. It's the cheapest of the taco styles, where you're often getting 5 tacos for as little as 10 pesos. (They're also usually smaller tacos compared to some.) I'm not sure I've ever seen handmade tortillas with them. However, the tortillas are usually dipped in the bubbling fat and placed on the nipple of the charola briefly to lightly pan-fry them which largely counters the problems of tortilla machine tortillas.

    The tortillas at La Chaparrita aren't made in house but they're not bad either. They're commercial products from one of the many local tortillerias (I want to say Atotonilco on 47th). Most of these, including Atotonilco, prepare and grind their own fresh masa and deliver cartons freshly made tortillas as soon as they're packed. There's usually a line of trucks in front being loaded with still-warm boxes.

    Image

    I'd guess La Chaparrita uses tortillas within hours of the time they are made. Nothing wrong with that.

    extramsg wrote:3) I've never seen suadero served as they seem to here, in thin slabs. It looks more like cecina or bistek. Suadero is slow-fried brisket. I usually tell people it's like carnitas but from a cow. When I make it at home, it takes about 3-4 hours. I usually start it frying on each side, butterfly it, then pan fry it until tender and crisp. It's often marinated in milk, but I think that's unnecessary with our beef. Whenever I've seen it served in DF, it's cut off the slab of brisket and chopped into little tender crispy bits.

    I'd been confused about suadero for years and looked into it again after my first trip to La Chaparrita. I'm handicapped by my lack of Spanish but think I now understand it a little better. There's more (mis)information available than I can link to (see this useful old Chowhound thread) but I believe suadero may be the cutaneous trunci muscle. You can see its location in the cow on this nifty Cortes de Carne chart. When we asked César, the taquero, where suadero comes from, he tapped himself around the armpit. I'm not absolutely certain about the cutaneous trunci and wouldn't be surprised if multiple muscles were sold as suadero, if butchering methods vary, or if there are regional variations in the term's usage. Here are a couple photos of a taco de suadero from La Chaparrita that might show the somewhat gelatinous, tendon-like quality of the meat.

    Image

    Image

    Does this look more like what you're used to?

    extramsg wrote:4) Types of tacos tend to have their "times". Tacos de guisado is a morning and early afternoon taco. The stands are gone by 2 or 3pm. Carne asada is a night taco. Tacos de canasta is definitely a morning taco. Barbacoa is a morning and weekend taco. And while "fritangas" are definitely more of a night taco, I think I've seen more 24 hour stands and taquerias with this style of taco than any other. Just don't count on suadero being ready at 11am.

    Interesting. I wonder if that might partly explain the variability of the suadero.

    extramsg wrote:5) Speaking of tacos de canasta, I don't like them or tacos al vapor either. I don't get them at all. But Chilangos? Chilangos go batshit crazy for tacos de canasta. They long for them like an American might long for french toast or blueberry pancakes.

    In Chicago I appreciate tacos de canasta partly because of their rarity. I do enjoy good versions but lesser ones can be truly nasty. A few months ago La Chaparrita prepared a batch for us, at the request of Pigmon.

    Image

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    These were sealed in a bowl, rather than a basket (or Igloo cooler), to steam before serving.

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    Their version was a little oilier, less "sweated," than other versions I've tried.

    Image

    The usual fillings—frijoles, papas con chorizo and chicharrón—were all very good. I really enjoyed these tacos de canasta but honestly La Chaparrita's other tacos are better.
  • Post #50 - December 5th, 2011, 1:59 am
    Post #50 - December 5th, 2011, 1:59 am Post #50 - December 5th, 2011, 1:59 am
    One of the problems is that "suadero" has multiple meanings. From Ricardo Munoz Zurita's encyclopedia of Mexican food:

    Nombre que recibe la grasa de res que se encuentra pegada a la parte interior la piel y que contiene finas capas de carne. Es muy apreciada, pues con ella se hacen los famosos tacos de suadero.


    Basically it's the fat and meat under the skin of a cow, according to him. However, that's not really what tacos de suadero are made from. When you see it being made or ask at a carniceria in Mexico City, it's brisket (and plate). It may have variability, but that's my experience.

    Also from Ricardo in his entry on tacos de suadero:

    Tacos de tortilla de maiz rellenos de suadero picado. Las tortillas son generalmente pequenas (de unos diez centimetros de diametro) las llamadas tortillas taqueras. A veces se emplean dos tortillas juntas. El suadero se tiene en un comal especial redondo que en el centro tiene una especie de cupula metalica y alrededor una franja acanalada que le da toda la vuelta. En la franja se tiene el suadero en trozos, surmegido en un poco de su misma grasa y algo de caldo o agua, de manera que siempre esta bien caliente. Cuando se piden los tacos, se saca un pedazo, se pone sobre la cupula caliente para que se dore ligeramente, se pica y se rellenan los tacos con cebolla y cilantro picados y salsa de la preferencia. A cada comensal se la da una o dos cebollitas de cambray fritas que tienen en el comal junto con el suadero.


    Not much new given there. Just says they're made of suadero, fried in their own fat, chopped into pieces on a butcher block, and topped with cilantro and onion if you like. Ricardo lives and runs a restaurant in Mexico City at UNAM, so you'd definitely say that he is likely familiar with the stuff. It'd be nice if he was more specific.

    Iturriaga says in his de tacos, tamales y tortas just says:

    carne que esta encima del costillar


    The meat above the rib, which definitely wouldn't be the brisket or the suadero in the cuts of meat link you gave, which puts it in the belly. According to a comment on this MexConnect post on Mexican cuts of beef, it's the same cut as in the cuts of beef link you gave. If so, my guess is that that's the cut, but for the tacos, they use a lot more because they're so damn popular that they wouldn't be able to get enough beef for it, so they end up using the suadero, the plate, and the brisket, as indicated by the taqueros and carniceros that I asked about it. (This cut and buche were the focus of many questions on a visit last year.)
  • Post #51 - December 5th, 2011, 2:06 am
    Post #51 - December 5th, 2011, 2:06 am Post #51 - December 5th, 2011, 2:06 am
    Oh, and yes, those latter pictures look more like what I'm used to, although, frankly, it's often meatier.
  • Post #52 - January 2nd, 2012, 2:08 am
    Post #52 - January 2nd, 2012, 2:08 am Post #52 - January 2nd, 2012, 2:08 am
    I had another great lunch at La Chaparrita last week and picked up a couple pieces of information:

    1) One of the owners' connections (Angelina's mother, iirc) has opened a bakery and tamaleria in some of the attached space, just to the west of the taqueria.

    2) La Chaparrita will be closed for the first 2 weeks of January. I'm not sure of the details, so best to call before heading over.

    As I mentioned above, lunch was great and we tried a couple of tamales from the new tamaleria . . .

    Image
    Tamales
    These corn-husk wrapped tamales were tasty. I'm not sure what they were filled with, as they were ordered before I arrived and I forgot to ask.


    Image
    Huarache
    I'm pretty sure this tender-crisp masa boat was topped with hongos and sauced -- half-and-half -- with red and green.


    Image
    Taco Assortment
    Longaniza, Tripa (crispy), Lengua and Cabeza (clockwise, from bottom left)


    Image
    Grilled Cebollitas
    I loved these knob onions. Not pictured are some grilled jalapeno halves, which were particularly spicy on this day.


    Image
    Longaniza Taco


    Image
    Cabeza Taco


    Image
    Tripa Taco and Lengua Taco (left to right)
    I was asked whether I wanted the tripa, crispy or soft. Crispy, please. :)


    Image
    The Real Thing


    Image
    Candy
    The owners, Angelina and Jose, kindly shared these candies with us and also picked up the tab for our lunch, which they said was a "thank you" for our kindness.

    La Chaparrita continues to be a stellar destination. If it were closer to my office/home, I'd be there a couple times a month -- a sentiment shared by a couple of my lunchmates, who also work and reside north. Still, even with brutal, mid-day traffic, we were there in an a little under an hour (from Niles). On a good day, I bet I can be there in under 30 minutes. I'm not much for new year's resolutions but I need to eat at La Chaparrita more often in 2012.

    =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 #53 - January 7th, 2012, 9:16 pm
    Post #53 - January 7th, 2012, 9:16 pm Post #53 - January 7th, 2012, 9:16 pm
    Tried to hop in today but found the door locked--looks like they're closed for some remodeling until the 16th or 17th. Maybe all that LTH traffic is allowing them to expand a bit.
  • Post #54 - January 7th, 2012, 10:31 pm
    Post #54 - January 7th, 2012, 10:31 pm Post #54 - January 7th, 2012, 10:31 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    2) La Chaparrita will be closed for the first 2 weeks of January.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #55 - January 16th, 2012, 10:25 am
    Post #55 - January 16th, 2012, 10:25 am Post #55 - January 16th, 2012, 10:25 am
    My wife and I drove down to La Chaparrita yesterday afternoon without catching up on this thread first, and it is still closed. This turned out to be much less of a disaster than I had initially thought, since the panaderia/tamaleria next door was open. We decided to stop in for some tamales instead of tacos.

    The tamales were $10 for a baker's dozen. . . I have no idea what the going rate is for tamales in Little Village, but this seemed like a good value to me. We tried the chicken and the pork, which were both excellent. I particularly liked the chicken, which was just slightly spicy. I kept thinking how delicious they would have been with some of the wonderful salsas from next door, but they were still very good on their own.

    The woman working the counter (I am guessing it was the owner, but I didn't ask) could not have been nicer or more friendly. She let us try one dessert free of charge. The language barrier prevented me from catching its name, but it was basically a jello mold with fresh oranges - very tasty. The real standout, though, was the tres leches cake we got to go. The cake itself was incredibly moist and gooey, and it was topped with a thick layer of whipped cream and toasted coconut. It was so good, I was tempted to turn the car around and go back for another piece.

    When La Chaparrita re-opens, this is going to be one hell of a one-two punch. Tacos para aqui, tamales and dessert para llevar. I'm looking forward to going back as soon as possible.
  • Post #56 - January 21st, 2012, 3:08 pm
    Post #56 - January 21st, 2012, 3:08 pm Post #56 - January 21st, 2012, 3:08 pm
    Had some sensational tacos de canasta this afternoon at the adjacent tamaleria which were prepared by the matriarch of the La Chaparrita empire (Angelina's mother). All three tacos we tried (chicken in green "mole" (salsa really), chicken in mole, and chicharron in mole) were excellent but the chicken in green sauce was truly exceptional being seductively moist and tasty. They were nowhere near as greasy as when we ate them the first time around (she blotted each taco before serving).

    I'm really looking forward to trying the other types they have on offer. These tacos are a strong addition to the already great La Chaparrita arsenal.
  • Post #57 - January 21st, 2012, 3:24 pm
    Post #57 - January 21st, 2012, 3:24 pm Post #57 - January 21st, 2012, 3:24 pm
    To add on to what Mr. THEPIGMON said:

    1. Make sure you get a side of the salsa (thin/flavorful) with the aforementioned tacos de canasta.
    2. If you like hot chocolate variations, try the champurrado. It's a masa and chocolate-based hot drink with banana, egg, sugar, and baking spices whisked in to the mix. Perfect for this time of year...

    That is all.

    Duberstein / LA Kewl out.
    "The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity."
  • Post #58 - April 16th, 2012, 8:13 pm
    Post #58 - April 16th, 2012, 8:13 pm Post #58 - April 16th, 2012, 8:13 pm
    I popped my La Chaparrita cereza today. I'm happy. Seriously. Got to pick Gwiv and Philw's brains about bbq. I'm planning to tackle serious q (brisket) pretty soon. They could not have been more gracious in answering my noob questions, tho I sensed Gary grew a tad impatient with my "know it all" attitude. ( I kid, I kid.) Thanks, guys! Anyway, Chaparrita is a neat little joint, but everyone who's been here already knows that. The people were exceptionally nice, and Cesar The Taquero knew exactly what he was doing. Played that charola like a member of the philharmonic. One of the things that surprised me was the distinct flavors of each meat. This is a place that honestly gives a shit about their product. Almost unheard of in this "land of 1000 taquerias with only about 20 of them serving food that is worthy of eating sober" that we call home. They are not just sloppin out food here. They care, and it shows. I would love to ask them where THEY like to go for Mexican food around town.

    We ordered a mess of tacos:
    Image
    Suadero, cabeza, tripas (crunchy,) longaniza, lengua, and mollejas.

    All were great save for the mollejas,imo. Texture thang for me. Had I been with my "crew," I'm quite sure I would have started ranting on the mollejas (in jest.) My first and only bite left me holding my tongue on a long waxing of drawing comparisons to Friskies' "Country Dinner" flavor, but I didn't want to make my tablemates uncomfortable, so I kept what little cool I have, left my once bitten sweetbreads taco to the side, and dove into the other offerings. The main stars for me were the tripas and the longaniza -
    Tripas (crunchy)
    Image

    Longaniza:
    Image

    Though it's already been said, the tripas were, in a word, immaculate. Almost too clean for this chitlin lover. The longaniza was simply awesome. It's like chorizo's smart and refined cousin, the brain surgeon out east. It's what I always wish chorizo would be. I'm generally not a big fan of chorizo, usually finding it to be an oversalted, greasy mess. Their longaniza had the same spice profile, just a touch more subtle, and about half the salt of the normal taqueria chorizo. This stuff was just plain good, and they knew it. Right on the menu, they had a sign advertising their longaniza at 5 bux a lb, and it also said "same longaniza that's in our tacos." Yeah, they KNOW they have a winner. I could not resist ordering another longaniza taco. And I'm not even kidding when I say that I could have eaten two or three more after Gary and Philw were fully sated. I mean, they were just that good, and I rarely am a chorizo fan.
    Um, I bought a pound to go as well. That stuff was the shizz.

    I also ordered a taco with tripas suaves (soft, not crunchy) for comparison to the crunchy version:
    Image
    Cooked lighter, and more unctious, a little more "wet." I liked this as well, but the crunchy version gets the nod, imo. Both were really good, but the crunchy version was just better.

    I washed it all down with an aguas fresca de sandia (watermelon drink:)
    Image
    Light, totally refreshing, and not too sweet.

    Though everything was good, nothing wowed me as much as the longaniza and the tripas. I need a La Chaparrita closer to me, but as it is, I'll probably start going there a lot. I have a very strong feeling that this is gonna be one of those places that I take wife 1.0 to, and she will promptly tell me once again that "that food site you go on totally nailed it again" after putting a squirt of that avocado salsa on a chip, BEFORE any food even hits the table.

    Grabbed a dozen of their chicken in green sauce tamales. I'll get to those bad boys tomorrow am.

    OOOOOOH. Just thought of something. This could also be a sneaky spot for post Sox game munchies.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #59 - April 18th, 2012, 2:38 pm
    Post #59 - April 18th, 2012, 2:38 pm Post #59 - April 18th, 2012, 2:38 pm
    seebee it was great to meet you :mrgreen:
    this is a great stop. loved them all.fun lunch
    and any time on the que. 8)
    philw bbq cbj for kcbs &M.I.M. carolina pit masters
  • Post #60 - April 26th, 2012, 9:54 am
    Post #60 - April 26th, 2012, 9:54 am Post #60 - April 26th, 2012, 9:54 am
    seebee wrote: I have a very strong feeling that this is gonna be one of those places that I take wife 1.0 to, and she will promptly tell me once again that "that food site you go on totally nailed it again" after putting a squirt of that avocado salsa on a chip, BEFORE any food even hits the table.

    Grabbed a dozen of their chicken in green sauce tamales. I'll get to those bad boys tomorrow am.


    Well, I had a tough time waiting to return, but we were within 2 miles last night around dinnertime, so, I nudged wife 1.0 and Jr. to try La C out. I was incorrect in my assumption, because it was the RED salsa (chile de arbol) that left wife 1.0 speechless. She tried the avocado salsa first, and said, this is gonna be great food, but after she tried the red salsa on the huarache, there was silence. For a WHILE.
    We ordered:
    Mushroom huarache half green, half red
    Crispy tripe tacos (tripas doradas)
    Longaniza tacos
    Suadero and Asada for Jr
    Tamale Oaxaqueno
    cebollitas
    alfalfa and watermelon aguas frescas

    The red salsa was insanely good last night. It was markedly better than the avocado salsa for whatever reason. It had a VERY robust smoky flavor, and packed a decent punch.

    The tamales run a little salty for my taste here. I bought a dozen chicken ones last time, and the oaxaqueno confirmed for me that the masa is a little too salty for me. Probably fine for many others, but the wife and I didn't finish the tamale.

    Anyway, here's something that struck me. Cesar came out from the kitchen area to take our order. Jr was kinda squirmy while he was taking the order and while we chatted about what some of the things were (Avena means wheat, by the way - if anyone wants to try an avena licuado.) So Cesar goes back in the kitchen, and we see him cooking and chopping away. Several minutes later, after we got the drinks, Cesar re-appears with Jr's plate. Didn't ask or anything, he just gathered that he should get Jr's stuff out asap instead of bringing out a plate of tacos all at once, and he was all kinds of right. We got him started and a few minutes later, Cesar came out with everything else.

    It's just so refreshing to see a place like this that actually cares about what they are doing.

    Also, the alfalfa agua fresca was flippin delicious.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.

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