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Jul 9, 2007 01:55 PM

Burrito reco in Lincoln Park/Lakview

I am heading to Chicago this weekend from DC and I am in desperate need of a solid burrito as there is an extreme dearth of burrito places in DC. I am looking for the typical hole in the wall, burrito served in foil type of place. If I need a knife and fork, it's probably not what I'm looking for. I will be staying at one of two friend's places, one in Lincoln Park the other in what he called "West Lakeview." Regardless, I am anticipating late nights in Lincoln Park and a burrito place open late for post-bar fourthmeal would probably be ideal.

I have also been told by a Chi co-worker of mine to pick up an Italian beef at Portillo's; does this guy know what he's talking about?

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  1. Your friend isn't steering you wrong, you cant go wrong with Portillos, unless your on Taylor street by Al's Beef. it's always a pretty solid and consistent pick.

    Now for burritos in the Lincoln Park area: The taco-burrito palace on (2441 N Halsted St) about 1 block north of Fullerton, is probably about the best place on the north side, if not the entire city.

    And theres no foil here!! This is Chicago, meaning the burritos here are grilled to a toasty exterior finish. Unlike that San Fransisco Mission style (aka Chipolte) mess you get in California! LOL

    But, if you require the foil and steamed tortillas, then have your pals drive you to La Pasidita on Ashland & Division (1132 N Ashland Ave), thats the closest thing I've seen to Mission style in this city, and they are really excellent as well.

    You might find this blog link good reading for Chicago and many other cities as well, but you'll find that both places are highly rated:

    1 Reply
    1. re: abf005

      I don't discriminate when it comes to burrito styles, I don't mind a grilled tortilla every once in a while. IMO, I have only been to one place where I really liked the tortilla and that was at Panchero's (chain in the midwest, popular in MI, I would imagine they have it in IL). They make their tortillas fresh. When you order, they toss a ball of dough into a tortilla press to flatten it out and then toss it on the grill for a couple seconds to brown it up just a bit. Then they toss in your choice of fillings. The end result is a warm, soft tortilla that distinguishes itself from the pre-made steamed tortillas usually found at Mission style places. If you happen to come across a Panchero's, the tortilla alone is worth the stop. Their meats and salsa do leave a little to be desired though and prevents it from being a really excellent burrito place.

      I will have to check out Taco & Burrito Palace as I'm sure I will be right there. I may have to double up and make the trip to La Pasidita too.

    2. My favorite burrito is from Taco Burrito Palace. Best in the city. Probably best in the state. hee hee.

      1. Just tried Taco Burrito Palace thanks to this thread. Pretty darn good. Certainly better than most of the other burrito spots in the city I've tried.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Helper Monkey

          I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

          I also recommend trying the tacos and tamales here, the tamales they do are more like traditional ones like my wifes family hand makes over the Christmas holidays in Denver/New Mexico. Meaning they go easy on the masa, so it steams to a nice dense slippery consistency, but the overall tamale is thin and not fluffy. Filled with a spicy shredded pork or beef inside that isn't overstuffed, smaller but tastier.

          I've been a huge fan of that place for almost 15 years, and they've always maintained the same level of consistency every time I've visited, regardless of the day of the week or time of day or night!

        2. Taqueria El Asadero on Montrose just west of Lincoln Avenue serves some of the very best steak tacos and burrito's anywhere! This place was voted number one in the city about 5-6 years ago in the Chicago Magazine. The meat is incredibly tender, juicy, and flavorful, and not fatty at all. The rest of the food is only so so. Make sure you get your steak right off of the grill for best results.

          BTW: The Folk and Roots Festival is going on right accross the street in Welles Park. It's worth a visit...not your typical Chicago festival here. The live music is quite diverse and international.

          14 Replies
          1. re: amoncada

            I ended up going to Taqueria El Asadero since it was closest to where I was staying and it was within walking distance. It was phenomenal. I got the carne asada burrito, added rice and cheese. The steak was perfect, hot right off the grill. The thing was massive too. I really like the spicy salsa verde that they served at the table and the chips were great too. The icing on the cake was the half liter coke in bottles, a perfect way to wash it all down. I will be going back in August and I might just have to hit it up again, I don't know if I can chance going somewhere else knowing how awesome El Asadero is.

            1. re: Big T

              Glad you made it to Taqueria El Asadero. Fantastic isn't it!? Too bad the rest of the food is only so so. The quality, freshness, and flavor of the steak is unbeatable.

              I know that La Pasadita gets a lot of hype for their burrito's and tacos but I have to disagree. I find that the steak and ingredients consistently tastes like a stale refrigerator. Although the black roasted chili pepper salsa is awesome!

              1. re: amoncada

                I highly recommend The Taco and Burrito House. There are multiple locations but the BEST one is at Broadway and Irving Park Rd., just South of Irving on the East side. If you go there Mon, Wed, Thurs before 6pm my fav. crew is working! If you go Fri and Sat before 7pm my fav crew is working again. They are super nice and make fantastic food. Their burritos are great I have been going there since I was about 7yrs old I am now 26. Their enchaladas are amazing too! Also during lent they do Chile Rellenos and it is fantastic. T&B is SUPER affordable and delicious! A kind of polite thing they do is they have order, eat, then pay even though it's fast food-ish.

                1. re: Gweck

                  Sorry to disagree with you Gweck. I once made the mistake of going to the The Taco and Burrito House thinking it was another expansion of the The Taco and Burrito Palace. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't nearly as good as the Palace. I guess there is a reason why one is a "Palace" and the other simply a "house".

                  You guys now have me torn on giving Taqueria El Asadero a try, if the only redeeming thing is the steak while the rest of the menu is not so good. I tend to like a full menu, and know I can get that at the Palace. But on the other hand... I am a carnivore extreme and to not go to try a great steak?? Oh the quandary!

                  Taco & Burrito Palace
                  2441 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614

                  Taqueria El Asadero
                  3641 W Fullerton Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

                  Taco & Burrito House
                  3939 N Broadway St, Chicago, IL 60613

                2. re: amoncada

                  Question: Is El Asadero char-grilled steak? If so, I may have to investigate.

                  1. re: gordeaux

                    Yes, it's char-grilled and sooo good! Make sure to get some right off of the grill for best results. Occasionally, they make a large batch during peak hours which is quite good but not as great as the stuff just made.

                    I first stumbled accross Taqueria El Asadero about 6-7 years ago after working up an appettite from a tennis game in Wells Park accross the street. I was hooked instantly. When I arrived at home I happened to notice my newest Chicago Magazine had arrived with a featured article on the best steak tacos in city...guess which taco place won first got it; Taqueria El Asadero. Anyway, I think I had the steak tacos like 4 times that week.

                    1. re: amoncada

                      VERY interesting indeed. The char grilled spots are few and far between in Chicago. I'm mostly a slave to Las Asada's and La Pasadita for this reason. Never had the issues of fridge -tasting food there as you stated. Matter of fact, I just had Las Asada's yesterday. Juicy char grilled skirt steak, crispy char grilled tortilla hot off the grill. ~mouth is watering now - I'm sure you know what I'm talking about~ You can bet your sweet patoot I'll be checking out El Asadero in short order.

                      abf005 - La Pasadita is "mission-style?" They char-grill the steak, and also the tortillas, don't they? Chipotle is a steamed tortilla, stewed, horribly chewy "meats" and mostly rice, and beans. If Chipotle is "mission style," you obviously went to La Pasadita on a VERY off day, since there are no congruencies between the two styles IMO. Unless you were referring to the fact that they wrap their products in foil for carry out. I can't believe there has been no response yet to the claim that La P is "mission style."

                      1. re: gordeaux

                        Folks have lots of misgivings and misapprehensions about La Pasadita, but you will often come to find out that they have only visited one (or both) of the shops on the west side of the street. See, for example, the reference to "black salsa," above. That particular item isn't served in the eastside establishment, and as any true La Pasadita connoisseur can tell you, the shop on the east side of Ashland is where the best test of quality can be judged. Patronized almost exclusively by hispanics, and with an exceedingly high rate of product turnover, the eastside shop is where the meats and flavours most often shine.

                        Oh, and about that "mission-style product" : a rice-filled burrito IS offered at the southernmost shop on the west side of the street. TimeOut Chicago was raving about it at one time, so, as a fan of the SF Mission-style, I gave it a whirl. The verdict? It flat-out sucked. And, it sure as hell wasn't like anything I'd ever tried in S.F., either.

                        Here is a photo of the eastside shop:



                        1. re: Erik M

                          Wow, good morning, OK there is allot to respond to!!

                          1) My 'Mission Style" statement: I’ll admit it was somewhat loose, but I was referring to the ingredients contained inside the burrito (rice & sliced avocados etc.), more than it being “exactly” mission style, and yeah I think the foil played a part in that too.

                          2) Although at La Pasidita the tortillas are grilled for warming, the burritos are NOT grilled shut and toasted on the exterior like "most" Chicago Taqueria's tend to do I’m OK with warming and not toasting, but personally I hate steamed tortillas; that stretchy, pasty, over glutinous taste of something akin to solidifying Elmer’s glue is just nasty. Not to mention, the quality of tortillas made in Chicago are far superior to most of the rest of the country and that goes for both corn and flour tortillas, but I really notice it more with corn.

                          3) I would not say that grilled steak is necessarily synonymous with mission style burritos! Nor would I say those crappy Alpo chunks chit-potle boils and stews is representative of mission style either! After all, they are from Denver and not Cali anyway. But I think meat prep is unique unto itself at each Mexican place. Some cook it fresh when you order, others par cook and re-heat to a finish, some char grill, and some slice from whole cooked flank or skirt steaks (the best!). I will agree, that the worst are the places that have a big pile of meat just sitting on the grill for God knows how long. And then they scoop it into a tortilla when you order, I really watch out for this, especally if there is no volume or its not a fresh batch being cooked. If I look over and the meat is just sitting on that grill, I will do an about face and leave. Because guaranteed, it will be dry and crispy and nasty, with a bad odor too when it gets to you.

                          4) EM: That darn LaPasidita!! I’ve never noticed that sign on the west side of the Ashland location in your picture!! Why 3 with the same name? It's retarded! If they aren't all the same owners and restaurants, than why and how can they even coexist all on the same darn corner! It's frustrating! Given the new spot that you’ve just pointed out, I have to say that I've only been to 2 of the three locations on that corner, and very possibly, not even the best one, bummer!

                          I just tried to add all 3 of the LaPasadita links and the west side location did not come up...

                          La Pasadita
                          1132 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

                          1. re: abf005

                            I agree with you about the piles of meat sitting around for who knows how long. This is what I dislike about Taco Burrito House. Personally, I think it's overrated.

                            1. re: abf005

                              Well, then it sounds like you've got a new place to try. LOL!! Oh, and, honestly, the order of the day at La Pasadita East is the taco, NOT the burrito. The carne asada taco proffers just enough meat to pleasantly tingle the palate and nothing more, whereas the burrito, well, then I too often suffer palate fatigue from the presence of all that meat. As I first said on this board so many years ago, La Pasadita's carne asada has the tendency to "sing only one note," and it can be a shrill one at that.

                              NB La Pasadita East *only* serves carne asada, barbacoa, lengua, and chile relleno taco/burrito fillings. That means no chicken, no pork, and certainly no rice and beans.


                            2. re: Erik M

                              I tried La Pasadita East many years ago so I don't recall how the food was. I must tell you though that it is truly hard to beat El Asadero steak tacos. They are fantastic! You must give them a try. Oh, and btw, the patrons are majority hispanic myself included.
                              My only complaint is that the rest of the menu is only so so. I'll have to try the La Pasadita east for the full menu.

                              1. re: amoncada

                                abf005 - Fully agree with the whole meat pile thing - which is why I don't go to many taquerias at all any more. I've tried a vast majority, and have found one thing about carne asada - if it's not char -grilled, then for the most part, I don't want anything to do with it. If anyone else prefers char grilled skirt steak to pan fried mystery rubber beef parts, I recommend Las Asada's. They also char grill their tortillas for burritos, and I FULLY understand what abf005 is saying about preferring the tortilla griddled after it's rolled (I'd prefer it that way too) - but the plus quality steak offered at Las Asada's makes up for the tortilla thing. - They still get them crispy, but when it's griddled, it kind of seals it if it's done correctly. That said, I will DEFINITELY still get to El Asadero, and hopefully I'll have a new spot to share with my burrito snob friends, and oh, are they (READ: we) snobby.
                                Las Asadas:
                                2072 N Western Ave, Chicago
                                3834 W 47th St, Chicago
                                782 W Oakton St, Des Plaines
                                356 Lee St, Des Plaines
                                There's also one on Ogden in Brookfield.

                                (although the Las Asada's has a tie in with La Pasadita, I generally give the nod to Las Asada's) Probably the same meat from the same supplier, but IMO Asada's seems to be better for some reason.)

                                1. re: amoncada

                                  I am thankful that you mentioned El Asadero and I hope to try it out very soon.