Thursday, May 12, 2005

Al Pastor es La Ley

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that my luck in chowhounding has a lot to do with the eagle eye of the Condiment Queen. There are times, however, when I do OK as well. As we have discussed on these boards before, a good signifier to me has always been home-made-y looking signs advertising regional/obscure specialities. La Ley at the intersection of Grand and Austin has several big hand painted signs telling the passerby of their barbacoa de borrego estillo Durango (steamed lamb as done in Durango, in the north of Mexico). I've been wanting to go here for a while. And as so often the case. What took me so long.

The first thing I saw upon entering was a very robust cone of al pastor pork. I knew what to have with my barbacoa. When the CQ opened her menu, she knew what she would have (after seeing a tiny piece of paper advertising carne en su jugo). My ony decision, get the al pastor en gordita or not. With a bit of half-assed Spainish, I learned that the gorditas were hecho a mano, handmade, and I was set on lunch. Truly great al pastor. Ideal al pastor in the sense that the meat was throughly crisped up from the spit cookery, not hung to dry and fried on the griddle. The gordita was huge, like a masa sammy. The two tacos de barbacoa were just as good, the kinda fatty, near gelatonous taste that leaves your lips greasy (but in a good way).

All the stuff was enhanced by a trio of salsas, each hotter than the next. I was especially keen on one made mostly of charred jalepenos, but a thinner green sauce, and a red sauce with a strong smokey element were about as good. The carne en su jugo was not quite as complex as some I've had, but what it lacked nuance, it made up for with muscle. A very strong bowl of meat, bacon and beans. Ms. VI gave it the esteemed comment, "it does not taste like restaurant food." Unlike most carne en su jugo I have had, the meat was soft and rich instead of grilled. They had no take out menus, so I do not currently have the address or telephone number. I cannot vouch for anything else on the menu, but I was pretty blown away on this, my first visit.

After eating here, I was most interested in the opinion of Rich4, a hound rather obsessed with tacos al pastor. Well, it seems he likes the place.

Taqueria La Ley
6000 W Grand Ave
Chicago, IL
(773) 385-9878

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

What's Interesting This Week at Reuters Bakery

A yeast coffee cake made with fresh rhubarb. A bit pricey at $7, but surely a repersentation of the season.
What's Interesting This Week at Caputo's

Organic "mini-watermelons". Also available at Goodness Greeness (although I do not know this place). See here for details.

Also, fish. I've been very impressed with the looks of Caputo's fish department. Right now they have whole "toto" fish. Beats the heck out of me, and sea snails too.