Restaurants & Bars

Chicago Area

Specialties of Puebla: cemitas, chileatole, mixiote, pepian rojo


Restaurants & Bars 1

Specialties of Puebla: cemitas, chileatole, mixiote, pepian rojo

RST | Jan 24, 2004 11:18 PM

Just a reminder that Taqueria Puebla (see link below) is still there and still making wonderful food. A few things have changed since my report from Nov 2002. Every square inch of the walls and ceiling of this little taqueria is now entirely covered with pictures of celebrities of every kind of sports: soccer, baseball, basketball, wrestling, bullfighting etc. Quite a trip!

The bread for the cemita is no longer made in-house, it is specially contracted and baked for them by a specialist nearby (Antonio Zurita, the owner of Taq Puebla used the word "cemitero"). In the winter, Mr. Zurita has problems maintaining a supply of fresh papalo. He did not have any today (the neighboring table, which came in after us, also asked him specifically if papalo was available before they would consider ordering it). He assured me though, that there would be some fresh leaves tomorrow, Sunday. I split the cemita de milanesa ($4.50) with my friend Sharon. Not a bad version at all: not quite on the level of the very best examples in Puebla but very very good indeed. Exactly one year ago (last January) I went all over the city of Puebla trying to chase down the best examples and finally found my benchmark at the Mercado del Carmen. The cemita at one of the stand there was almost 5 inches high with almost an inch high layer of queso blanco & quesillo in it (quesillo = cheese "hand-pulled" into "strings"). I have pictures of this stand and will try to find someone to scan it to post one of these days. Next time, maybe I will ask Taq Puebla to double the filling on my sandwich to approximate the version at Carmen.

The mixiote is still available on weekends. It is no longer made with goat/lamb; Mr. Zurita told me he wanted to keep the price low ($4.50 for a "packet") and decided to use beef instead as goat/lamb is too expensive. The little chunks of beef are long-cooked inside aluminum foil "packets" lined with maguey parchment. This is a very aromatic, perfectly-spiced, very delicious version.

The recipe for the chileatole (weekends only, $1.75 for a small-coffee-cup-full) seems to have changed a bit (it is now thicker with nixtamal masa than before) but it is still a splendid version-perhaps even better than the examples I found in Puebla at night on 8 Poniente between 7 & 5 Norte. At $1.75 an order, this is one of the great gastronomic deals of the city. Darn comforting stuff: just the kind of food for a cold winter night like tonight.

We also had a delicious taco de moronga (homemade blood sausage) $1.50. I wanted to try the pepian rojo (served with ribs here) but they were out of it. Pepian rojo is one of the specialties of the general region of Puebla/Tlaxcala. Last year, I sampled a fantastic version at a stall in the central market of Tlaxcala. The stall-owner told me that her recipe includes guajillo de que no pica (guajillo of the kind that is not spicy), pepita (pumpkin seeds), canela (cinnamon), cacahuate (peanut) and ajo (garlic). I guess I'll have to wait till the next visit for a comparison.

Other new items are a pepian verde, chalupas, homemade albondigas (meatballs). They still have the Syrio-Lebanese tacos arabes. I noticed that they list "menudo" on the menu and am wondering if this is the same as the famous Pueblan "mole de pancita". Mr. Zurita says that he can try to approximate Pueblan chanclas and guajolotes (two other types of Pueblan sandwiches) but with bolillos since he has no access to the authentic white pambazo-like pan de agua that is used for these specialties.

Excellent salsas: a dense smokey red made with tomato/chile de arbol and a tomatillo/cilantro version.

Oh yes, they have Mexican coke.


Taqueria Puebla
3625 W. North Avenue
(773) 772-8435
This is on the south side of North Ave, about 3-4 blocks e of Pulaski.

Mr. Zurita told me that parking is available at Maternity BVM Church next door.


Want to stay up to date with this post?

Recommended From Chowhound