Tag Archives: tacos

Tom 365 – July 7, 2016


It’s Open!

Antique Taco Bridgeport. 


Yes, that is bacon on my taco. 

Tom 365 – July 5, 2016


It’s a sign!

Actual tacos cannot be far away. 

Tom 365 – June 6, 2016


I can almost taste the tacos already. 

Antique Taco looks like it will be opening the Bridgeport location soon!

Tom 365 – April 26, 2016


Something interesting showed up at the sight of the new Bridgeport Antique Taco. 

I am interested to see how they plan to use it. 

Tom 365 – February 4, 2016

Tom 365 - February 4, 2016

Keep your eye on the corner of 35th and Morgan.  It is soon to be the home of the second location of Antique Taco.  Scheduled to be open this spring, it is sure to become a must visit spot in Bridgeport.  Grab a couple tacos and a cocktail before a Sox Game?

I will keep everyone updated.

 

Tom 365 – November 11, 2015

 

Today’s Taco Adventure. 

Starting today’s adventure at Big Star where we are sitting outside in November.  

15 Tacos and Counting – The Quickie and the day we told the truth.

Oh sure, we’re going to kill this challenge during the summer – the weather is better and bonus of all bonuses, I work downtown for the summer.  Working downtown for the summer has been a tremendous asset for our fun time, and a tremendous hindrance to our pocketbook.  Because my lovely summertime employer is so flexible, I usually drop of the Sweetheart at his job, drive to mine, and then pick him up on the way back.  This is detrimental to our bank balances because one of us will say, “Traffic is pretty bad, maybe we should stop for a drink.”

Traffic Jam

In the words of my darling mother, “Nobody has one drink.  Did you ever eat on potato chip?”  She’s a smart lady.

And then it becomes a thing, a ritual, something that we try not to do, “We need to go straight home tonight.  I am tired.”  Or “No matter how bad traffic is, let’s just go home.”  Never happens.  Let’s just file that under the “I’m going home early” lies/jinxes we tell ourselves.

On one such evening, I picked up the darling Sweetheart from work, and we started to make our way home.  “Are you hungry,” I asked.  “Not really.  Lunch wasn’t too bad today.”

We are lucky enough to get free lunch at work – but sometimes that comes with a cost.  Free lunch means we eat what they serve us.  Free lunch means that sometimes the quality or taste isn’t all that great, but you’re too tired or too broke to order out, so you just make do with a PB&J.  Free lunch can sometimes result in some serious heartburn.  No complaints, though, we both realize we are really lucky.

So on a good lunch day, we might not be all that hungry.  His was good.  Mine was not.  Free lunch at my place means I eat a lot of salads, but sometimes the lettuce isn’t all that fresh.  Today was one of those days.  I ate 10 olives for lunch.

“I’m kinda hungry.  Our lunch was pretty bad.  The lettuce was brown.”  (See what I did there?  I was laying the groundwork for a taco.)

Here comes the ridiculous part.  If I just said I wanted a taco, the car would have stopped at the closest place.  Tom is an amazing husband who does a fantastic job of following the adage “Happy Wife, Happy Life.”  It really is his personal motto.

Because we switched drivers, I got on the list (which is really just an open page on my phone) and looked for the closest place: Taqueria El Milagro.

El Milagro in Pilsen

We hadn’t gotten that far, so a fast exit on Ashland brought us to our place in Pilsen.  We love Pilsen.  We’ve been loving Pilsen since that first day when we went to Dusek’s.  We’ve loved Pilsen even when Tom urinated in a men’s bathroom next to a pool of blood.  We’ve loved Simone’s after the stabbing, we love the Barrel (which finally got a sign), we love the taco challenge, because so many of the places are in Pilsen.  Every visit to Pilsen yields a new surprise, a new adventure.

Rockstar parking, in Pilsen?  Untouched by the hands of Rahm??  I hesitate to mention that there is unmetered parking anywhere in the 606.  Rahm will install the meters in the blink of an eye.  I believe they are, much like Rahm, self-inflating.  Either way, this is a good sign.  So is the address.

Having lived in Spain twice, I always love the address tiles.  I think it adds something special.  My hungover eyes sparkle with anticipation.

The setup is cafeteria-style, and even at just a few minutes past 5pm, the place is packed.  People stand in front of the offerings/menu area debating, because the portions are enormous.  TOC refers to the tacos as mini-burritos and they didn’t lie.  The taco on order is the grilled steak, but what is Tom getting as his second choice.  I’m a girl, I eat lighter.  (So untrue.)

Inside El Milagro in Pilsen - Chicago

The couple in front of us decide to  to help.  The friendly guy at the register also provides some suggestions.  We narrow the second choice to a few: either the chile relleno tacos, the tamales, or a chicken in mole concoction.

With the help of our friendly co-patrons and the nice guy at the register, Tom opts for the chile relleno tacos.  It’s amazing how cheap a dinner bill is without booze. $11 for two plates of tacos.  For the first time in a long time, this is going to be a booze-free dinner.  I mean, we have them at home, but very rarely outside the home.  Dinner almost always involves drinks.

We get our number a find a table.  One of the interesting things about dining in Pilsen, or a few other neighborhoods (Bridgeport, Beverly, anywhere south of Madison) is that Southsiders know when you don’t belong.  The not-belonging in Pilsen is a bit more obvious than the lack of membership in Bridgeport, and I definitely belong in Beverly.  Because this place has already started the dinner rotation and is busy, we receive a lot of not-so-hidden stares.  Are they really staring, or is it our own awkwardness that makes us feel this way?  A quick glance around tells me that everything is as it should be, people are not looking at us, they are completely engrossed in their food and company.  Maybe we got the cursory glance, but most tables returned to the food and conversation.

Aaaah tacos.  The food arrives, preceded by it’s own aroma, which grabs me by the nose like an episode of Tom and Jerry.  These are big tacos.  I get a free-mini facial from the taco steam and Tom arranges the plates for his camera.  More stares.  Because we do this, I am immune to the stares of being the people that take pics of their food.  I hate it, but it’s a necessary evil.

Chile Relleno Taco and Grilled Steak Taco from El Milagro in Pilsen - Chicago

Tom is a man of legendary patience.  Sadly, his wife is not.  I annoyingly drum my hand while I wait for the process to be over.  He pronounces us ready to eat and I divvy up the food.  We always start with the taco on the list.  And then compare  it to the other tacos on the list, and re-order the list as needed.

Yum.  Yum Yum Yum Yum Yum.  It’s good.  The flavor has that nice little kick, the beef is tender, yet there are some crispy pieces, too (think burnt ends).  Clearly the fresh, homemade tortillas add a lot – this is a tortilla factory after all.  Filling, comforting, yummy.  Beef juice dribbles down my chin, but we aren’t the people that care.  He finishes his before me and hunkers down to a chile relleno taco.  “Babe, I know you don’t like peppers but I think you should try this.”

My derring-do in food adventures results from alcohol and we have none.  Jellyfish in Chinatown?  Eaten after a libatious-filled Sox game.  Multiple attempts to like calamari?  Multiple corresponding glasses of wine.  I think you get the idea.

I like what peppers can do, especially chile peppers.  I like the flavor and heat of the different peppers, so much so that I even grow them myself.  I hate the texture.  I really hate the texture of cooked peppers.  The skin reminds me of  chewy seaweed paper.  Don’t like it.  Won’t eat.  Call me a three year old, I don’t care.

However, if you are confronted with food you don’t like, and it’s covered in glorious gobs of cheese, you should eat it and I did.  It was amazing.  They almost got me to like peppers – a milagro in and of itself.  Think of the best jalapeño popper you have ever consumed, multiply it by 100 and that’s what in the taco.

We leave, sated, full, and honest.

We didn’t drink that night.  We didn’t lie.

El Milagro in Pilsen - Chicago

 

Tom 365 – August 18, 2015

  
They don’t just make fresh tortillas and chips, they also have a restaurant in Pilsen.   We made it in for a couple tacos shortly before the rain started. 

El Milagro is on Blue Island Avenue in Chicago. 

16 Tacos and Counting – Tamale Station

According to outdated 1950’s doctrine, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.  According to my darling, the way to my heart is tacos.  After a particularly rough day with a disrespectful teenager, he decided the best medicine would be some tacos at Tamale Station (http://thetamalespaceship.com/menu-station) and a beer or two at Happy Village.

The Tamale Station - Chicago

I have a temper.  It’s best described in the Veruca Salt song, “Seether.”  I never let her loose, but when she blows, batten down the mutha-effin hatches.  So all day long, I provided (at best) mediocre customer service, barked at my boss, and then drove through Chicago Rush hour to get my dearest to go to a place called “Happy Village.”  C’mon.  I call bullshit.

On the way there, I asked him to find out if Tamale Station is BYOB.  Siri was being a total bitch.  After a masterful parallel park job only one short block away, we arrived to our storefront, which had about 15 signs saying “BYOB.”  Siri was back from her break, and she told us there was a liquor store about  3 blocks away.  Tired and crabby,  I decided I would rather get this over with.  Tacos are not going to cure this shitstorm of a mood.

Tamale Station is very small, just really a counter and a few tables.  There are also several patio tables outside, but even at 5:30pm (which I believe is considered early bird time in Bucktown/Wicker Park), there was a line.  Like most people we waited, but it turned out we could just take two menus and head right to the patio.

According to Time Out, the taco du jour would be the barbacoa taco.  I would personally like to thank Time Out for introducing me to this and a few others.  I seldom stray from my carne asada and el pastor, and I am the poorer for it.  We ate a barbacoa one at La Lagartija and it was tremendous.

As we perused our wrestling fighter mask menus, I decided on tacos (2 for $7) and tamales for him.  I am so sorry to admit, I keep trying to like tamales, and I just don’t.  Kind of like owning a pet snake, it ain’t ever gonna happen.  Our friendly waiter arrived to take our order and we asked his advice on some important matters: “Favorite tamale?” “Urbano,” “Beans or guac as a side?” “Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, that’s really tough.  Beans.” “We’ll take both.”  On impulse, I added the fish tacos and we also included the seasonal tamale which was duck confit, with plum mole and dried cranberries.

While my darling and I were discussing our current teenager issue, our guacamole arrived.  I can tell from this order alone, we did what we always do, we over-ordered.  We were both hungry, but this was a seemingly normal portion of chips and guac that lasted like the fishes and loaves.  We actually never reached the end of it.

Tamale Station Guacamole

Knowing that we were sharing, the kind people at Tamale Station placed one taco of each kind on the plate, so we each had a barbacoa and a fish taco.

Herein lies my own personal struggle:  Time Out has introduced me to some fabulous tacos, but to date, only one restaurant was really the full package.  I love the carne asada at Tio Luis, but the el pastor was a little dry.  Takito had a great fish taco and an unbearable, inedible crab taco.  I never go for tacos just for the sake of getting tacos.  I want the chips, the salsa, the guac, the beans, literally the whole enchilada (super bad pun intended).  La Lagartija (fortunately close to my employer) really has been the only place that did everything well.  De Colores came pretty close, but the other places had one amazing thing and the others were…meh.

Until now.  The barbacoa taco was really good.  The fish taco was even better.  Holy guacamole!  And our guy was right about the beans…just plain lovely.  I told Tom I was fairly certain Shakespeare was referring to taco eating when he wrote “Silence is the perfectest herald of joy.”  He said it was love, but I’m pretty sure he meant tacos.  Not a word was spoken.  I did venture into tamale land – I just don’t like tamales.  Tom tried the urbano first, knowing that the seasonal duck confit one was going to kill it.  He pronounced it very good, until he ate the duck tamale.  That thing performed an Irish goodbye down his gullet.  One minute it was there, the next minute it had completely and utterly disappeared down his throat.

Tamales from The Tamale Station in Chicago

Final analysis: I’ve had a better barbacoa taco at La Lagatija, but I think they only have them on Saturdays, while the fine folks at Tamale Station serve them daily, true humanitarians that they are.

It turns out my husband knows me pretty damn well.  Filled with amazing tacos, I suddenly found myself in a much better mood.  As it so happens, there are two Happy Villages in Wicker Park: one is a bar and one serves amazing tacos.

Tom 365 – June 19, 2015

  

Taste of Randolph. 

One of the better Chicago street festivals we have experienced. Some of the best restaurants in the world in a street fest environment. 

Picture taken from the bellyQ stand. One really fantastic taco. More on that later.