Mexican/Central American/Caribbean Tour in Chicago

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abe_froeman
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2009/04/21 23:09:58 (permalink)

Mexican/Central American/Caribbean Tour in Chicago

For anyone that missed it, on the way to one of our stops on the Chicago/Milwaukee Spring Fling, we passed by this place:



Even though we were in different cars, we simultaneously had the same thought- we. must. go. there.

After a little research, we discovered it's called La Palapa, located at 2000 W 34th St, in the McKinley Park neighborhood. 

So, I'm proposing a laid back, more relaxed food tour (e.g. fewer stops, more time at each) centered around Latino/Caribbean food.  I'm thinking late June/early July (not the holiday weekend, unless that really works for people- I have no plans at this time).  I'm thinking two, maybe three stops before we descend on La Palapa.

As I mentioned in the Spring Fling thread, a few years ago, Mr. Maki and another couple did a mini-tour where we hit a Jamaican restaurant (Jamaica Jerk), Puerto Rican (La Bruquena), Costa Rican (Irazu), and Cuban (Cafe Cubano).  Irazu is the only place I'm really attached to for this tour, so any other suggestions are welcome. 

La Palapa is BYOB, so who's bringing the blender?
#1

64 Replies Related Threads

    BuddyRoadhouse
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    Re:Mexican/Central American/Caribbean Tour in Chicago 2009/04/22 00:16:53 (permalink)
    I'll second a stop at Irazu with maybe one more stop for Cuban sandwiches before La Palapa.

    Let's keep this one light and simple; commensurate with the hot mid-summer temps.

    More thoughts?

    Buddy
    #2
    ChiTownDiner
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    Re:Mexican/Central American/Caribbean Tour in Chicago 2009/04/22 08:21:02 (permalink)
    You can always throw in a soda fountain, candy store, ice cream parlor, bakery, cupcake joint  or little grocery store type place to add a little color and still keep it light!
    #3
    BuddyRoadhouse
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    Re:Mexican/Central American/Caribbean Tour in Chicago 2009/04/22 13:42:49 (permalink)
    Some of those grocery stores are your best source for Cuban sandwiches, burritos, tacos, etc.  Just a matter of doing the research finding which one(s) to visit.

    Buddy
    #4
    abe_froeman
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    Re:Mexican/Central American/Caribbean Tour in Chicago 2009/04/22 23:23:06 (permalink)
    It's a little far west, but how about Xni-Pec for the second stop, maybe with a quick stop at Freddy's before heading over to La Palapa?
    #5
    BuddyRoadhouse
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    Re:Mexican/Central American/Caribbean Tour in Chicago 2009/04/23 00:17:08 (permalink)
    Getting complicated....

    Buddy
    #6
    stricken_detective
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    Re:Mexican/Central American/Caribbean Tour in Chicago 2009/04/23 01:32:45 (permalink)
    Here is a thought: My birthday is June 18. Also, we just did Puerto Rican, so I'm thinking 4 stops max. We've gotta remember to leave time for those unexpected places like Brown Sugar Bakery. (still not over the brownie)

    Is there any kind of thought either here or on LTH who has the best Cuban sandwich in all of Chicago proper?
    #7
    abe_froeman
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    Re:Mexican/Central American/Caribbean Tour in Chicago 2009/04/23 11:24:52 (permalink)
    Irazu-->Xni-Pec/Freddy's-->La Palapa doesn't seem too complicated to me, and I think there should be plenty of time in between for unexpected stuff.

    How about June 20th?

    I'll do a little research about Cuban sandwiches.....

    #8
    abe_froeman
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    Re:Mexican/Central American/Caribbean Tour in Chicago 2009/04/23 11:55:06 (permalink)
    LTH doesn't seem to be of much help on Cubanos.  See for yourself.

    Not that it's a surprise that the LTH'ers can't agree  The Cafecito seems to be the one most people respect, but there's some naysayers.  Did anyone else have a different interpretation?

    #9
    BuddyRoadhouse
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    Re:Mexican/Central American/Caribbean Tour in Chicago 2009/04/23 23:22:42 (permalink)
    Just came across a menu for a relatively new place, Senor Pan Cuban Cafeteria, "The Place for Cuban Sandwiches"!  They're located on west Fullerton, much closer to the other proposed stops, Irazu and La Palapa than Xni-Pec or Freddy's (which I wouldn't mind visiting on another outing).  Anyway, I'm thinking..."Cuban Sandwiches"..."Cafeteria"...could this be a classic Roadfood place or what?  Besides, how can you beat that anthropomorphic Cuban sandwich mascot?

    I'm just puttin' it out there.

    Buddy

    Senor Pan Cuban Cafeteria
    4612 W. Fullerton Avenue
    Chicago
    (773) 227-1020
    #10
    irisarbor
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    Re:Mexican/Central American/Caribbean Tour in Chicago 2009/04/24 10:09:33 (permalink)
    Mr I. and I are voting with Buddy for fewer stops..
    we were stuffed after Ed's on this last tour...
    although there was just a taste of Lems and Calumets,
    we really might feel less guilty and more healthy with a few less stops...
    #11
    stricken_detective
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    Re:Mexican/Central American/Caribbean Tour in Chicago 2009/04/24 18:27:56 (permalink)
    I actually lost 3# this week.   Chicago eating agrees with me.
     
    I think trying that new place would be fun. Does the shark place have margaritas?
    #12
    BuddyRoadhouse
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    Re:Mexican/Central American/Caribbean Tour in Chicago 2009/04/24 19:51:02 (permalink)
    stricken_detectiveDoes the shark place have margaritas?
    BYOB, hence abe's question at the top of the page; "who's bringing the blender?"

    Buddy


    #13
    abe_froeman
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    Re:Mexican/Central American/Caribbean Tour in Chicago 2009/04/25 12:35:13 (permalink)
    One person on LTH has replied that Senor Pan makes a respectable Cubano. 

    So far I'm thinking Senor Pan --> Irazu --> La Palapa, which looks like this.

    There's a lot of area between Irazu and La Palapa- maybe a stop in Pilsen for some bakeries or something?  Or a stroll through Humboldt Park for some street vendors and people can eat as much or as little as they want.
    post edited by abe_froeman - 2009/04/25 12:36:29
    #14
    stricken_detective
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    Re:Mexican/Central American/Caribbean Tour in Chicago 2009/04/25 14:29:42 (permalink)
    BuddyRoadhouse

    stricken_detectiveDoes the shark place have margaritas?
    BYOB, hence abe's question at the top of the page; "who's bringing the blender?"

    Buddy


    I'm such a dork. In the Methodist church, this means bring your own Bible. I'm guessing it means Booze here? You don't have to bring your own limes or raspberries? I can bring the blender.
    #15
    BuddyRoadhouse
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    Re:Mexican/Central American/Caribbean Tour in Chicago 2009/04/26 01:32:48 (permalink)
    stricken_detective
    BuddyRoadhouse
    stricken_detectiveDoes the shark place have margaritas?
    BYOB, hence abe's question at the top of the page; "who's bringing the blender?"

    Buddy
    I'm such a dork. In the Methodist church, this means bring your own Bible. I'm guessing it means Booze here? You don't have to bring your own limes or raspberries? I can bring the blender.
    No, it still means Bible.  So what are ya bringing? King James or Good News?

    Buddy


    #16
    JRPfeff
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    Re:Mexican/Central American/Caribbean Tour in Chicago 2009/04/26 08:42:33 (permalink)
    I kind of hate to post this, as it means even more Chi-town pride for Buddy.  But it does relate to this thread.



    This month's Smithsonian Magazine has a feature article on Chicago's ethnic cuisine.  The article focuses in large part on Latino food (please forgive the BHO worship by the writer).  More food for thought.

    Among the establishments I saw discussed are these (not all Latino or Hispanic).
    • La Condesa
    • Mataam al-Mataam
    • La Unica market
    • Zapp Thai Restaurant
    • Zabiha
    • Hashalom
    • Izola's
    • Podhalanka
    Who can name this neighborhood (no cheating)?


    post edited by JRPfeff - 2009/04/26 08:50:02
    #17
    BuddyRoadhouse
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    Re:Mexican/Central American/Caribbean Tour in Chicago 2009/04/26 13:05:07 (permalink)
    Jim,
    Although I am a true born and bred Chicagoan, you know I share (almost) equal love for Milwaukee and its wonderful range of cuisine.  I mean who else would drive 75 miles for a Kopp's cheeseburger when Paradise Pup's exalted Char Burger is 30 seconds from my home?

    Speaking of which, when are you guys coming down here for one of those?  Banana Cream Pie milkshakes, too!

    Buddy

    P.S. What a lovely article.  Thanks for sharing it.  Just a note; Izola's and Podhalanka  were both potential choices on the last tour.  Guess we'll need to do it again sometime...

    B.

    p.p.s. That photo looks like 18th Street, near where we had carnitas on last November's tour.

    b.


    #18
    MilwFoodlovers
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    Re:Mexican/Central American/Caribbean Tour in Chicago 2009/04/26 14:31:58 (permalink)
    Guaranteed BHO free, this is an internet only addition to the Smithsonian print article.
     
    http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/Searching-for-a-Mother-in-Law-Sandwich.html?c=y&page=1
     
    The Mother-In-Law Sandwich and its home

     
     

     
    #19
    BuddyRoadhouse
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    Re:Mexican/Central American/Caribbean Tour in Chicago 2009/04/26 15:55:06 (permalink)
    Clearly I am some kind of dope.  What the heck is "BHO"?

    Buddy
    #20
    MilwFoodlovers
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    Re:Mexican/Central American/Caribbean Tour in Chicago 2009/04/26 16:44:42 (permalink)
    BuddyRoadhouse

    Clearly I am some kind of dope.  What the heck is "BHO"?

    Buddy

    ..........................Buddy!...................................
     
     
    Buddy!
     
    You don't know the successor to GWB?
     
    Shame on you!
     
    BHO is our POTUS and he's from Chicago too! 
     
    Of all the people, I thought you'd know!   
     
    Abe, fill your father in.  
    Buddy, after you stop laughing and pounding your forehead, maybe you'd consider leading a pre-Presidential foodie haunts tour?
    I've been where many other Presidents ate and slept; I've love to eat where our current President ate.

     
    post edited by MilwFoodlovers - 2009/04/26 16:51:09
    #21
    BuddyRoadhouse
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    Re:Mexican/Central American/Caribbean Tour in Chicago 2009/04/26 22:43:29 (permalink)
    Some of The Prez's favorite places might be a little bit rich for our Roadfood wallets.  Especially if we tried to hit a bunch of them in one day.

    I've actually had carryout from Italian Fiesta Pizzeria and was underwhelmed, despite assurances from friends who were loyal, regular customers of the place.  After that you've got Topolobampo and Spiaggia where you'll need to clean out your bank accounts just for cocktails and apps.

    Of course, the soul food joints mentioned, Izola's and MacArthur's would be more in line with our budgets, although eating at both places in one day could bring on cardiac arrest.

    As mentioned a few posts north of here, some of the places in the article were already candidates for our last tour.  We can certainly keep them under consideration for a future tour.  But for right now, I was hoping we could focus on the Latino tour proposed by abe.

    I think the Senor Pan/Irazu/La Palapa rundown is solid.  We can keep our options open for additional stops at neighborhood bakeries and/or the Humboldt Park food trailers based on time and hunger level.  Has anyone offered any possible dates yet?  We know May 23rd is out as we will all be sitting in JRPfeff's backyard eating 'Que and (the dang liberals among us at any rate) worshipping an idol of BHO made out of pieces of the Chicago machine...

    Buddy

    P.S. Upon further reading toward the top of the page, it sounds like some in our group are pushing for the weekend of June 20th/21st.  How does that work for folks?  I'd prefer the Sunday, but I know that puts a time crimp in the day for the Milwaukee folks.  If it's an issue, I'll take Saturday off.

    B.
    #22
    irisarbor
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    Re:Mexican/Central American/Caribbean Tour in Chicago 2009/04/28 21:06:27 (permalink)
    As far as I know I think that's OK for me...
    #23
    X1
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    Re:Mexican/Central American/Caribbean Tour in Chicago 2009/04/28 21:30:22 (permalink)
    As far as I can tell, either day works for me.
    Beginning of June is out, as I'll be in NOLA.
    :)
    May-anything is also bad. May is always a busy month.
    So far this May, I have a friend's birthday, my niece's birthday, a dance recital, a Spring concert, a wedding, a memorial luncheon, Mother's Day and my mom's birthday. Whew!

    #24
    quijote
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    Re:Mexican/Central American/Caribbean Tour in Chicago 2009/05/01 00:40:30 (permalink)

    I wish I could tag along on this, but I'll be gone most of June (9th-29th or so). Part of that will be spent eating seafood in Florida, but another part will be spent eating Sodexho grub at a work assignment. Blech!
    #25
    abe_froeman
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    Re:Mexican/Central American/Caribbean Tour in Chicago 2009/05/07 12:03:45 (permalink)
    So, are we set on either the 20th or 21st?  Aimee, maybe I'll make you a Mexican chocolate cake for your birthday if I can find a way to keep it cold.  It kicks the crap outta Portillo's!
    #26
    BuddyRoadhouse
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    Re:Mexican/Central American/Caribbean Tour in Chicago 2009/05/07 13:24:56 (permalink)
    I'm selfishly pushing for Sunday the 21st, but I'll go along with the crowd.  Here are the questions we should be asking:

    1. Are all of these places open on Sunday?

    2. Is the majority of our group available on Sunday?

    And maybe the most important-
    3. If we do it on Sunday, will the Milwaukee folks need to leave unnecessarily early so they can get home at a decent hour for work on Monday?

    I'm envisioning a lovely early summer evening, sitting outdoors, relaxing, cold drinks in hand at La Palapa while we linger over shrimp cocktails, ceviche, and the like.  If youse guys need to leave early, ruining that image, then I will make the sacrifice and cast a vote for Saturday.

    Buddy
    #27
    BuddyRoadhouse
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    Re:Mexican/Central American/Caribbean Tour in Chicago 2009/05/07 16:53:32 (permalink)
    In an effort to build a little more excitement about this trip, allow me to provide this link to yelp! where you can see pictures of folks enjoying their meals at La Palapa, and more importantly, some delightful food porn.  If this doesn't generate some enthusiasm, ya'll are dead!

    Buddy
    #28
    irisarbor
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    Re:Mexican/Central American/Caribbean Tour in Chicago 2009/05/08 08:34:35 (permalink)
    OMG that picture of the Seafood Charolada got me wanting mussels for breakfast- NOT that there's anything wrong with that -LOL
    I will try to be counted in, even tho it's week after the boy's Bar Mitzvah, and we may be draggin....
    #29
    carolina bob
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    Re:Mexican/Central American/Caribbean Tour in Chicago 2009/05/08 09:26:36 (permalink)
    June 20th or 21st? Either way, I'll be there.
    #30
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