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Where I Ate in Chicago

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Is the Oaxacan Tamale stand still there? I haven't been this summer but I have liked their stuff. Particularly the banana-leaf-wrapped version with dark meat chicken. Eaten doused in the green sauce that they have on the picnic tables.


Yeah, there's that too, although oddly enough it's not something on my short list. Still very much worth eating though.


Two more things:


To prove I'm no snob, I will also tell you that if you visit the Maxwell Street Market, you should also give a peek into the newly opened Whole Food there. Very spiffy place. The ice cream is pretty darn good!


As I have written many a time, if you can, you should visit the two remaining Maxwell Street hot dog stands. Originally at the intersection of Maxwell at Halsted when Maxwell was Maxwell (think the Blues Brother's scene with John Lee Hooker and later Aretha Franklin) these two places are about as classic as classic gets, even in their odd setting facing the expressway--not too far from the Sunday market near Roosevelt and Halstead. The traditional meat here is the Polish, smothered in grilled onions, but REAL foodies get the cyle: a hot dog, a burger, a pork chop AND the polish, all with onions and hot "sport" peppers. (And if you were a real, real foodie, you would get cycles at both places, Jim's and Original Maxwel to see which one was best.)

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I downloaded the maxwell market guide from LTHForum. If I have to narrow it down, what vendors are simply cannot miss. We will be looking for lunch, and for things that we can take home with us.


There are few vendors at Maxwell that I would skip. It's all a question of where you stand and how hungry you are. No wait, I'd say if the churro vendor who is there are the ones that don't make the churros fresh, skip that. Otherwise, let your senses, tastes and urges guide you. You cannot go wrong!


OK, want more? I nearly always get some tacos de birria con consome, the Jaliscan speciality of stewed meat*. I rarely can resist the grilled steak tacos from Lenchos (it it'll be the one you have to take a number). Almost always, I brave the long waits for a rico huarche (which may be the single best thing to eat). Then again, who can resist fresh made pupusas, the only question being cheese, chicharron or bean. I hardly ever get a corn, slathered with mayo (or limon y chile) but my wife always does. Instead, at the same stand I'm partial to the empandas de rice pudding (an inspired treat, no?). Also there, I'm anxious to try what ever seasonal candied fruit or baked squash they might have. Finally, finally, no trip is complete without visiting the twin stands or Rubi and Manolo (who's better I have no idea!). They are mostly famous for their masa. Perhaps the best you can find in the USA (and Rick Bayless believes better than even in Mexico). The best way to enjoy, I believe, is as a quesadilla.


Did I say finally? Did you try the steamed beef head (have you heard the Tecate commercials where they say it's cerveza not beer, well does not cabeza al vapor sound better than steamed beef head). You can be brave and try the lips or even eyes (!) or stick to the more suave cheeks. You may enjoy some kinda sandwich including the bloody chile soaked pambaso or a Philly cheese like thing. There are delicious fresh made thick-thick gorditas stuffed with a ricotta like cheese. A lot of people want something with the delicacy huitlacoche. It may be pedestrian, but it's still good, the bags of homemade chips doused in hot sauce. Do you have room for another kind of birria, this one of the style of Aguascaliente?


*There's a longstanding joke/controversy over the Jaliscan birria. Traditionally, it is made with goat (birria de chivo), but at Maxwell Street it is made with beef. Sometimes the vendors will tell you that it's the regulations, that they cannot serve goat at Maxwell. Who knows. You can, however, find birria de chivo at many places in Chicago. Which reminds me, Ron, you say you will be walking. That's a lot of walking. The Maxwell Market is a good hike even from the Red Line station at Roosevelt. Be forewarned.


Thanks V.I. We are hitting the Maxwell Market on our way out of town on Sunday, so we will drive there from our hotel.




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Blackbird/Avec....I've been to both,love Kahan's food.Avec has a good wine list,and is great for dining at the bar,delicious food.


Love those places also. Last trip, we had wine and tapas at Avec, then later that night walked next door to Blackbird for dinner. It was hard for me not to return there by default.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Has anyone tried Table 52? I'm on the fence as to whether I should make a reservation. It sounds good, but I need some more reviews.


Sorry if I missed a thread. The search function didn't like the "52" (needed 4 characters).



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