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Maxwell Street: Rico’s Huraraches

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Maxwell Street: Rico’s Huraraches

David Hammond | Jul 6, 2003 02:06 PM

Got to Maxwell Street around 9:00 this morning with a posse of five “Maxwell virgins,” ready to become experienced on the street. Started with a few hors d’oeuvres: a Oaxacan tamale with extra sour cream, a Rubi’s steak taco, tamarind juice, two regular Mexican tamales…then it was on to the main course: a “flag” huarache from Rico’s.

I first sampled the “flag” (bandera) huaraches a few months ago. There’s a lot going on in this dish. A flat, ovoid, hand-shaped masa tortilla is the foundation: it’s actually an envelope, moderately hard fried, crisp, encasing a very thin “filling” of black beans. On top, center, is a mound of Chihuahua cheese; to the right and left of the cheese is a generous splash of green and red salsa – thus the huarache displays the green, white and red colors of the Mexican flag. Over all this is sprinkled carne asada (the most popular addition, though you can have it with chicharones or other ingredients) and grilled onion, with a little cilantro. The meat is griddled crisp, but without the dryness of the meat at the “under-the-viaduct” taco place. This huarache, which costs $3.00, is to my mind a must-have on Maxwell.

Hints:

• My recommendation for eating at Rico’s Huaraches (which is under the same tent as Rico’s Cocteles) is to grab a seat at one of the tables. A waitress will take your order, and when it’s ready, they will call out your number (it helps to have some rudimentary knowledge of Spanish numbers, but it’s not absolutely necessary).

• It would be great to have a knife at Rico’s and at other vendors on Maxwell. Most places have plastic cutlery, which is fine when eating a big, soft Oaxacan tamale, but plastic really doesn’t “cut it” when you have to slice through a toothsome tortilla. So if you have a Boy Scout, Swiss Army, or Leatherman blade, bring it when you come to chow on Maxwell.

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