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Guajolota: A Mexican Mother in Law?

Guajolota: A Mexican Mother in Law?
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  • Guajolota: A Mexican Mother in Law?

    Post #1 - June 26th, 2020, 9:43 pm
    Post #1 - June 26th, 2020, 9:43 pm Post #1 - June 26th, 2020, 9:43 pm
    Heading down Ashland on a Saturday or Sunday it's difficult to miss the giant cow parked in Swap-O-Rama's lot. It's owned by Cremeria Santa Maria, a very nice shop in La Villita, that maintains a booth at the flea market.


    If you go around to the sidewalk on Ashland, directly under the bovine's backside, you'll find a humble stand with some interesting offerings.



    It was the guajolota (guajolote means turkey) that caught my eye. These bolillos stuffed (like a turkey) with a tamal are far from unknown in Chicago, but in my experience it's not terribly common to see it listed on menus, at least by that name. Sometimes it's called a torta de tamal. As I understand, in and around Mexico City it's a convenient breakfast or snack, inexpensive and easy to eat neatly without utensils. Atole or champurrado are classic accompaniments to tamales.

    They have two types of tamales: green (chilies and cheese) and red (pork in a mildly spicy sauce). I chose the red, which was outstanding.


    I'm no expert on assembly of guajolotas, but this was the first time I recall seeing the tamal carefully sliced into thirds. It's a good idea, slightly lengthening the tamal for better fit and releasing some delicious juices to mingle with the bread.


    Two salsas are available: a tomatillo-based green and a somewhat hotter red. Both are excellent.


    Of course, the guajolota is quite similar to the Mother in Law, a tamale-in-a-bun sometimes found at Chicago hot dog stands. I don't believe the guajolota to be the mother of the Mother in Law, however, and can find no evidence of any influence of one on the other. Most likely, it's a pair of oddities that arose independently in two different culinary cultures.

    4100 S Ashland Av
  • Post #2 - June 26th, 2020, 11:18 pm
    Post #2 - June 26th, 2020, 11:18 pm Post #2 - June 26th, 2020, 11:18 pm
    Across the street effectively from Park Packing, if you wish to combine adventures.


    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #3 - June 27th, 2020, 8:40 am
    Post #3 - June 27th, 2020, 8:40 am Post #3 - June 27th, 2020, 8:40 am
    Nice find, as always. Chicago's street food game has never been better. Was just talking with someone last night about how four of my current five favorite taco spots are either street stands or pop-up type setups. Going to go for a torta de tamal tomorrow if I can. Seems like carbs on carbs are big in DF these days as the Torta de Chilaquiles is also making the social media rounds. If anyone is looking for one of them in Chicago - Tamales Y Restaurant Costa Grande out on the East Side makes a good one. Thanks for sharing Peter!