Sunday, July 31, 2011

Road Trip 2011: Chicago (Pt. 1)

Since I had never been to Chicago, Dennis scheduled a stop for the route back home.  Although I knew my main food plan for Chicago was to go to Frontera Grill, Rick Bayless’s restaurant, I had no plans for the other eating stops.  Inadvertently, I ended up doing the low-end and high-end of Mexican cuisine when we stopped for burritos at a place near Wrigley Field.  So, if you are looking at the poles of foodie adventures in Chicago, here it is . . .

El Burrito Mexicano

There are so many places to eat and drink around Wrigley Field.  People clamor in on their way to the game and clamor in on their way out.  Dennis and I were going to an afternoon game and wanted to grab something beforehand.  Although I saw a lot of interesting places to drink and eat, nothing quite called to me.  Finally, when we turned on West Addison, tucked under an “L,” was a place that boasted the best burritos in town.  When I saw El Burrito Mexicano, I knew it would be a good “down home” experience. 

And it was.

Dennis grew up in San Diego where authentic Mexican food is everywhere you turn.   Although we have found some good Mexican places on the East Coast, nothing has ever quite matched the “real thing.”  When the food got to the table, his first comment is that this was the perfect burrito size.  Then, on tasting it, he looked at me and said, “This is the real deal.”

I had the huevos con chorizo and he had the carne asada with added avocado.  For both, the tortilla was perfect.  The texture had the right amount of flakiness and the flavor was spot-on.  The carne asada was also tender and well-seasoned and nicely cooled by the fresh avocado.  The huevos con chorizo was gooey, spicy, and deliciously oily.  Plus, the meal came with crisp tortilla chips and three different salsas: green tomatillo, a thin tomato salsa, and a spicier chunky one.  I gluttonously poured the green and spicy one on my burrito which gave it a great balance of fresh and bright and greasy.

El Burrito Mexicano is a place with the right atmosphere: “L” trains rolling by, baseball fans trafficking in and out excitedly, and the sounds of vigorous chopping of ingredients in the background.  Authentic food and authentic experience all rolled into one.  

El Burrito Mexicano on Urbanspoon
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