- Aubergine May 2, 2003 12:44 PM
Went to Pilsen last weekend to catch the Frida Kahlo exhibit at the Mexican Fine Arts Museum before it left.
We ate somewhere that was really good - I think Nuevo Leon. But I wanted to check with you all about other good options in Pilsen for next time.
Aubergine, tons has been posted regarding Pilsen, but I hadn't read about the place my wife and I visited after the exhibition two weeks ago: Taqueria Hidalgo on 18th just west of Ashland.
We were the only customers served by what seemed to be a husband-wife team, augmented by one of their mothers in the kitchen. Simple taqueria fare--but I found the chorizo-potato taco to be fantabulous. Also incredible was the green "salsa" served with the chips: it was kelly green and very fresh. And the husband part of the team encouraged me to guess the ingredients,and he was pleased that I was able to ID avocado, jalepeno, lime juice and cilantro (everything green!). There was also some garlic and a little olive oil for liquidity.
All in all a good find. The tortillas were not home made, but everything else was top nothch--especially the gracious service and the great All Things Green salsa.
1640 W. 18th Street
Try his red as well. It's never the same sauce on your next visit because he does not work with a recipe but rather with a kind of mental ideal. But it's always terrific!
I am also assuming that we are talking of the same folks. They had a "for sale" sign up last year: the plan was to retire and go back to their home state of Hidalgo. The last time I peeked in (earlier this year), they were still there, the sign was still up, and presumably they had not found a buyer.
Actually, sometimes I get a little annoyed by them bec of their insecurity about presenting their own food. I always ask to try whatever Hidalgo-style stews/guisados they might have at the back but they are always so worried that I would not like it. And their menu consists only of those dishes/preparations that THEY assume would be pleasing to everyone else.
In short, like many of our immigrants, they contort every which way to try NOT to express their own true voice.
They learn to stifle their own individuality.
The cooking is not what I would call the most spectacular around. But it is good honest cooking. And those salsas!
I like Cuernavaca, on 18th St. east of Racine, north side of the street. Less hole in the wall atmosphere than other joints in Pilsen, but more family like and laid back than Nuevo Leon, and the food is cheaper than at a lot of the taquerias even though it comes on a pretty plate. They have a bar inside, and the owners bartend...get to know them!