Four taco crawls
Take a tour of 23 taquerias in four Chicago neighborhoods.
Taqueria el Milagro
The $2.99-per-taco tag seems pricey until you realize your tender beef in chile de arbol sauce or pork in salsa verde is stuffed into a tortilla atop both beans and rice and under a heap of peppery cabbage slaw. Sides and main, all in one neat little package. 3050 W 26th St (773-847-9407).
Little Village’s king of tacos de guisado specializes in stewed fillings (tender pork in guajillo sauce; tart cactus paddle or charred poblano ragout sandwiched with greasy, gooey cheese). 3132 W 26th St (773-254-3466).
This Nuevo Leon feels auténtico, as does the specialty: tacos Sabinas. The griddled flour tortillas (flour works here, despite what we say here) are packed with grilled rib eye, charred jalapeño, caramelized onions and stewed tomatoes. 3657 W 26th St (773-522-1515).
Carne asada sports a nice char-to-fat ratio, the salted and dried cecina (thinly sliced beef) has just the right chew and tangy, tender chicken is soaked through with stewed tomatoes. 3901 W 26th St (773-522-0041).
Atotonilco is this ’hood’s popular option for post-midnight cravings (open until 2am on weekdays, 24 hours on weekends). Get tangy, marinated pork, sliced from the spit and tossed onto the flattop to rev up crispiness. 3916 W 26th St (773-762-3380).
El Encanto Michoacano
The central Pacific state of Michoacán, Mexico, is ground zero for carnitas. One of Chicago’s best examples of the slick pull-apart pig meat is found here, best on Saturdays or Sundays when tortillas are made fresh by hand. 4228 W 26th St (773-522-2070).