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Cafe Central [Pictures]

Cafe Central [Pictures]
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  • Cafe Central [Pictures]

    Post #1 - January 29th, 2005, 11:51 am
    Post #1 - January 29th, 2005, 11:51 am Post #1 - January 29th, 2005, 11:51 am
    LTH,

    Had a very nice lunch with Evil Ronnie last week at Cafe Central, a Puerto Rican restaurant on W Chicago Ave. One of the daily specials was pigs feet, which Evil, without hesitation, ordered. Him being a foot man from way back.

    Image

    Another of the daily specials, goat stew, appealed to me.

    Image

    Both specials, which were quite good, were served with yellow rice with pigeon peas (gandules) and pinto beans. We also had an order of very good mofongo, garlicky with small pieces of fried pork skin, and tostones topped with garlic.

    Image

    We rounded out our meal, and our waistlines, with a side order of sweet plantains, no picture. Cafe Central's condiments include a very nice jalapeno based mix

    Image

    Cafe Central is inexpensive, clean, and comfortable, there are both tables and counter service, with a friendly waitstaff, full menu and daily specials consisting of much more than just goat and pigs feet. :)

    Image

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    Cafe Central
    1437 W Chicago Ave
    Chicago, IL 60622
    312-243-6776
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #2 - January 30th, 2005, 5:13 pm
    Post #2 - January 30th, 2005, 5:13 pm Post #2 - January 30th, 2005, 5:13 pm
    I love me some goat. Will have to try. I miss Lydia's (?) on Damen (place with grocery in front and restaurant in back...)
    Aaron
  • Post #3 - February 1st, 2005, 9:22 pm
    Post #3 - February 1st, 2005, 9:22 pm Post #3 - February 1st, 2005, 9:22 pm
    Im sure it may have tasted good, but with all due respect, that looks awful.
  • Post #4 - February 1st, 2005, 9:52 pm
    Post #4 - February 1st, 2005, 9:52 pm Post #4 - February 1st, 2005, 9:52 pm
    Snark wrote:Im sure it may have tasted good, but with all due respect, that looks awful.


    :lol: yeah, it's a little too monochromatic for my viewing pleasure.
  • Post #5 - February 1st, 2005, 11:17 pm
    Post #5 - February 1st, 2005, 11:17 pm Post #5 - February 1st, 2005, 11:17 pm
    Snark wrote:Im sure it may have tasted good, but with all due respect, that looks awful.
    God I hate when people use "with all due respect" to preface an "eff you."
    Aaron
  • Post #6 - February 1st, 2005, 11:20 pm
    Post #6 - February 1st, 2005, 11:20 pm Post #6 - February 1st, 2005, 11:20 pm
    Snark wrote:Im sure it may have tasted good, but with all due respect, that looks awful.


    BumbleBee wrote: :lol: yeah, it's a little too monochromatic for my viewing pleasure.


    ~Sigh~

    Everybody's a critic. :roll: :wink:
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #7 - February 3rd, 2005, 6:28 pm
    Post #7 - February 3rd, 2005, 6:28 pm Post #7 - February 3rd, 2005, 6:28 pm
    Gary -- Thanks for the Cafe Central post. I really have warm feelings about this place beyond the food (which looks just fine to me -- what could be prettier than a big mofongo). First, the staff pictured above have all worked there for at least 10 years and are unfailingly incredibly nice. Second, when a dish is ready, the chef blows a whistle -- loudly. That always makes me smile. This place should be more of an institution than it is -- but I' kind of glad it isn't. I need to go there more.
  • Post #8 - February 3rd, 2005, 6:32 pm
    Post #8 - February 3rd, 2005, 6:32 pm Post #8 - February 3rd, 2005, 6:32 pm
    "what could be prettier than a big mofongo"

    With all due respect, I nominate the foregoing phrase for future consideration as an LTH signature quote.
  • Post #9 - February 3rd, 2005, 7:12 pm
    Post #9 - February 3rd, 2005, 7:12 pm Post #9 - February 3rd, 2005, 7:12 pm
    As Mofongo-Domo, I am happy to accede to your suggestion.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #10 - February 3rd, 2005, 8:01 pm
    Post #10 - February 3rd, 2005, 8:01 pm Post #10 - February 3rd, 2005, 8:01 pm
    That looks like a mighty fine lunch to me, Gary and Ronnie. Does Cafe Central fry up its Mofongo and tostones upon request or do they sit under a heat lamp?
  • Post #11 - February 3rd, 2005, 8:58 pm
    Post #11 - February 3rd, 2005, 8:58 pm Post #11 - February 3rd, 2005, 8:58 pm
    Hey Will,

    That was a good lunch. The trotters were some of the best. Way better than Johnson's

    The mofongo was definately of the steam table variety.

    While we're on the subject of pork, was that Taylor ham at TI the long loaf variety or the chub type and was it behind the deli counter?

    :twisted:
  • Post #12 - February 3rd, 2005, 10:35 pm
    Post #12 - February 3rd, 2005, 10:35 pm Post #12 - February 3rd, 2005, 10:35 pm
    Better than Johnsons? Wow! I remember you lickin' themfeet like they were Shania Twain's.

    The Taylor ham at Treasure Island is the small one (maybe two) pound chub pack. It is in a refigerated case directly across from the deli on the north side of the cheese case.
  • Post #13 - February 4th, 2005, 1:20 am
    Post #13 - February 4th, 2005, 1:20 am Post #13 - February 4th, 2005, 1:20 am
    These were more like Nigella Lawson's, but without the pretty pink slingbacks. :oops:

    :twisted:
  • Post #14 - February 4th, 2005, 9:34 am
    Post #14 - February 4th, 2005, 9:34 am Post #14 - February 4th, 2005, 9:34 am
    :twisted:

    Re: pig's feet. I remember my parents enjoying pickled pig's feet, and I've never been able to bring myself to suck on that variety of trotter, but those platters look very appealing.

    Hammond

    Nigella Lawson? You are, indeed, Evil.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #15 - June 23rd, 2010, 9:57 am
    Post #15 - June 23rd, 2010, 9:57 am Post #15 - June 23rd, 2010, 9:57 am
    Evil Ronnie wrote:These were more like Nigella Lawson's, but without the pretty pink slingbacks. :oops:


    The light from this comment just reached our solar system now after traveling through space for five years.

    Oh snap.
  • Post #16 - June 24th, 2010, 1:59 pm
    Post #16 - June 24th, 2010, 1:59 pm Post #16 - June 24th, 2010, 1:59 pm
    While we're on that subject, just realized I live near this place and haven't been. Is it still good, since the OP was from 2005?
  • Post #17 - June 24th, 2010, 2:02 pm
    Post #17 - June 24th, 2010, 2:02 pm Post #17 - June 24th, 2010, 2:02 pm
    Only one way to find out, but it seems like the kind of place that wouldn't change in a mere five years.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #18 - June 24th, 2010, 7:17 pm
    Post #18 - June 24th, 2010, 7:17 pm Post #18 - June 24th, 2010, 7:17 pm
    Mike G wrote:Only one way to find out, but it seems like the kind of place that wouldn't change in a mere five years.


    Yes. I started going to this place last year, and it's exactly as described in the 2005 original post. I'm surprised that this place doesn't get more discussion, but also a little grateful. It fits my personal definition of a GNR.

    I really enjoy their jibarito. The plaintains aren't overly greasy like some versions I've had, garlic is generous, and the steak is tender and cooked perfectly. Other highlights are the white fish (head on, flaky skin, flavorful) and creoles (a tomato-based stew with your choice of seafood, comes with a salad with lettuce, tomato, and fresh corn). On weekends they have roast pork, which you can also get on a jibarito in place of steak.
  • Post #19 - June 24th, 2010, 7:38 pm
    Post #19 - June 24th, 2010, 7:38 pm Post #19 - June 24th, 2010, 7:38 pm
    Glad to hear it. I was worried it might have changed in seven years. 8)
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #20 - June 24th, 2010, 11:56 pm
    Post #20 - June 24th, 2010, 11:56 pm Post #20 - June 24th, 2010, 11:56 pm
    Thank you for the post Gary! I ate arroz con gandules 5th-12th grade and I haven't had it since. It was my favorite thing to eat at my friends house and I've dreamed of it ever since. I don't know why it's taken me 5 years to find out what it is, but I'm glad I did. :D
    GOOD TIMES!
  • Post #21 - November 15th, 2010, 3:11 pm
    Post #21 - November 15th, 2010, 3:11 pm Post #21 - November 15th, 2010, 3:11 pm
    After today's stellar lunch here I am kicking myself for not strolling the two blocks and some change down my street more often for their incredible homestyle grub. How could you not love the warm and welcoming vibe of this old school lunch counter:
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    Without consulting this thread I coincidentally mirrored the order of the OP. Goat stew with beans and yellow rice with pigeon peas:
    Image
    I've had a few rounds of the goat lately and this plate offered the most succulent and fork-tender of recent. Light tomato sauce was goat-flavor- charged, imparting rich gaminess to that hunk of potato (which I might normally ignore). Rice was fluffy and packed with savory flavor. There are subtle and surprising moments to this food that reveal a serious complexity in their recipes (which I can only imagine are time tested), despite their seeming simplicity- an unpitted Spanish olive or two in the sauce, a hunk of rustic sausage in the rice, flecks of salty pork in the beans.
    The house made hot sauce is simply pulverized fresh green chilli which provides a bright, hot, and fresh counterpoint to the rich depth of the food.
    That's my buddy's order of chicken stew behind the sauce, which although I didn't get a chance to try, he tellingly cleaned the bones real good.
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    We ordered a side of mofongo. I like mofongo in concept but its starchy density is something I can only eat in moderation (not a softball sized lump). Especially paired with a plate teeming with potato, bean, and rice. To its credit, it had an upfront garlic bite and occasional hints of crispy pork skin. The hot sauce perked it up pretty well.
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    We nearly cleaned our plates, leaving stuffed, wallets shy of about ten bucks each.
    Cafe Central is firmly in my lunch- in- the- 'hood rotation. This place is classic.
  • Post #22 - November 15th, 2010, 3:24 pm
    Post #22 - November 15th, 2010, 3:24 pm Post #22 - November 15th, 2010, 3:24 pm
    Jefe--thanks for bumping this. I used to own a furniture store 2 doors down and ate here at least 3 meals a week for 2 years. I miss it and must get back soon!! Great lechon sandwiches as well.
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #23 - November 15th, 2010, 4:20 pm
    Post #23 - November 15th, 2010, 4:20 pm Post #23 - November 15th, 2010, 4:20 pm
    boudreaulicious wrote:Jefe--thanks for bumping this. I used to own a furniture store 2 doors down and ate here at least 3 meals a week for 2 years. I miss it and must get back soon!! Great lechon sandwiches as well.

    As Jen knows, I'm just down the way from Cafe Central and a big fan. Jefe, if you ever need ordering power, I can be there in 10. :wink:
  • Post #24 - November 15th, 2010, 4:41 pm
    Post #24 - November 15th, 2010, 4:41 pm Post #24 - November 15th, 2010, 4:41 pm
    Fantastic counter pic. And yes, as busy as it can sometimes be, it's always that clean!
  • Post #25 - January 9th, 2011, 9:14 am
    Post #25 - January 9th, 2011, 9:14 am Post #25 - January 9th, 2011, 9:14 am
    Jefe wrote:Without consulting this thread I coincidentally mirrored the order of the OP. Goat stew with beans and yellow rice with pigeon peas:
    Image


    Inspired by this picture in the 10 best Chicago meals of 2010 thread, I went to Cafe Central yesterday for the exact same thing. Great, hearty, affordable lunch. Don't have too much to add to what's already been discussed above, but I do look forward to going back to try other things on Cafe Central's menu.

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