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Cochinita pibil at Campeche

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Cochinita pibil at Campeche

JeffB | May 28, 2003 12:03 PM

The newish Campeche restaurant on Lincoln near Devon accross from the hulking new Borders and close to Lincoln Noodle House is a decent option for the area. The owners, from Campeche, are perhaps trying to be too many things to too many customers, but hey, it's a business. (That is, lots of "gringo" options. I cringed when a friend ordered the house made "cheese sticks." However, they turned out to be the best fried cheese I've ever had. I believe it was Chihuahua, fried in the very good house chiles rellenos batter.) I note the place mainly because, on our recent visit, I found a solid new lineup of tacos from different regions, including the Yucatan (bemoaned recently as a weak spot for Chicago Mexican). Not that remarkable in and of itself. However, upon ordering three such tacos with a bowl of pozole (always available, Jalisco style, pretty good, not outstanding)I saw that the owners take regional authenticity seriously as each of the tacos varied considerably in terms of presentation, size, condiments, and even tortilla. The cochinita pibil taco was fantasic. Large, rolled up and topped with those marinated red onions discussed here not too long ago. The achiote sauce was just great. Next, I had the cesina taco, a spare open-face affair that let the paridoxically juicy carne seca speak for itself. I agree entirely with the recent comment that cesina concentrates the "beefiness" of beef, distilling its minerality. One quite large slice of beef was served on two big, springy (but not homemade) tortillas. Last, I had the cabeza, also very good but more common to what one normally gets at a Chicago stand, with cilantro/cebolla on two little tortillas "blancas." It's a very pleasant place with nice decor and a friendly staff. Food quality was consistently high. The place was doing ok, but for a Sat. nigt seemed pretty slow. The far inferior Garcia's, for example, was packed on our way back down Lincoln.

As long as I'm talking about tacos, I wonder if anyone has tried Taqueria (La/Mi?) Puebla on Devon. It's set back in a strip mall, north side, just east of most of the Indo-Pak action. A neon sign proclaims house made tortillas and moles. I wanted to try the place and stroll Devon with my family last Saturday night, but Devon was at a standstill, with incredible throngs of Indian American families in line outside every restaurant on the street. It seemed that every Indian family in the midwest came in for the weekend, and the license plates would seem to bear me out. We went to Argyle for pho. It was sleepy. (Though I'm sure the next morning it was nuts.)

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