Que Viva! Dia de la Muerte.Pilsen/Chicago/Illinois.2103

We got lost.  Dumb-ass smart phone map app fail. One way streets face off. Twilight stop & stop & go & then stop & go traffic some more. Hunger gnawing a second navel. Some more traffic. Heavy weather horizon. Did I mention the traffic? Prisons on the left of me, artist-style-loft condos on the right. Destination unknown.

And yet, who hadn’t been this feliz since the 1999 afternoon he bush-wacked, slogged, dog pedaled and finally ran from a Xalapa, Mexico bus terminal some 300km through monsoon and highway traffic to the slurp up the finest bowl of Caldo de siete mars that ever ran down a gringo’s face. Yo.


If you go to Dia de la Muerte 2014 take no map or smart phone. That’s hubris. Welcome the God’s gifts and guidance. Trip the cumbia fantastic, d-load a Randy Salazar jr. soundcloud mixtape. Get thee to Pilsen y Little Village and tack around and around and around…round and round.

Por que? Yay Murales! No photographs for me, being behind the wheel con baby on board y en realidad didn’t bother. Photos no doubt rob such pinturas grandes of spirit. If you must, Google image if you can project your search results onto, oh, I dunno the side of a 5-story walk-up. (Gracis los dios del pinturas del barrio Chicago bonito.)

photo 4

Of course none of which was even the point of the pilgramage: as always, led by la lengua y el nariz, when we finally docked on a side street, under the watchful eyes of Chavez, Villa et al, and loped up to the community center hosting the evening’s events neither sight nor whiff of comdia de fiesta were to be had, instead angelitos y calaveras y catrinas by floated by the dozens. Another unexpected unearthly delight.


photo 1

There was

photo 5

There was

photo 2

There was

photo 3

photo 2

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photo 1photo 1photo 3

And then there was – of course – food.

photo 3(yes, I do believe that is grilled tofu-angles)

Honky Tonky BBQ, the neighborhood smoke house, provided the cocineria (y chorizo) while an incredible organization from Minnesota (whose name eludes me and searching the internet for tags led me to Jaime Oliver – c’mon Google, gimme a break) conducted by The People’s Cook concocted slightly amazing and no doubt supremely nutritious complimentary taco/burro/tortilla (El Milagro, mi favorito) Mexi-chago food things.

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While all ingredients have made their way onto many of my tortillas separately, admittedly, it never occurred to layer it up and leave out the cheese – which I did not even miss or notice missing until writing this nearly a week later.

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That heavy weather referred to earlier held out no longer and we scurried off to visit the highly-anticipated/touted/fullfilling Nuevo Leon, sadly missing the procession/parade. Let’s leave the restaurant reviews to the restaurant reviewers – and Yelp!.

Still, here’s a still life of shiny barbacoa tacos with sippy bottle.

photo 2y a dulce score outside the front door:photo 3En termindado though, a palarbra or two needs to be dropped about the to voy tortillas available for purchase at the cash register but not to be confused for the Nuevo Leon torts on your grocer’s shelf. My flawed biological RAM won’t permit access to previous post for the origin story. So tambien, a mover manning the unloading of the truck when we re-landed on the shores of Lake Michigan, I found out was from Tucson. As is my habit, whenever I move, and moved a lot I have, I set out, often before setting up utilities, to find hand/homemade tortillas y tamales. My average made Big Papi’s WS 2013 .688


look like that of a Bad News Bear

images-1Until 2012-13. Until Leon, I hadn’t actually tasted a Chi-Mex home/handmade tortillas. (Tamale’s I’ll get to in another post). The New Lion’s stash lasted not even a week – I’ll be heading Pilsen way Friday for more, yeah, they’re all that and a baggie of burnt, chewy, dry, and free of that starchy/sickly sweet dang wang tang; the curse of pretty much every store-bought tort in the lower 48. Admittedly, they are a bit thicker than what I know and don’t make for very decent burros, but hey, so is/does/n’t Chicago.


Here’s what got stuffed or inhaled alongside these worshipable torts lately:

photo 4huevos y carne adovada con posolephoto 5

As the IFLAG blog slogan goes, too much thinking can ruin a good meal and I’ve obviously taxed both hemisphere’s for this post because I’m straying from the New Lion tort praise conjuring up comparisons to Salvadorian foodstuffs, thinking maybe these aren’t tortillas after all. Maybe if you read this and were thinking of heading over to Pilsen for a dozen you’d better not because at 5:45PM last Friday I cleared the shelf.  No, really, they’re awful. They crumble, are non-absorbent and aren’t even worth the lard they may or may not have been made with…and oh yeah, watch out for  the zombies.

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