Is your pet peeve list like mine, always growing instead of diminishing? Added to my list is the limited amount of chow-people who try other people's trophies. Of course there is Ultimo who tries EVERYTHING and the W. suburban crowd who interact about rare finds out there. Still, I think it would be nice if all of us made an effort to try someone else's trophy this week.
I won't count the fact that I tried RST's beloved Taqueria Puebla (with the Zim family) the night before Thanksgiving. We displayed so much knowledge of the place that the owner aske if we had been to Puebla. No, I said, we read all about it on the Internet.
I have no ability to wax over the knot topped cemita roll, but I can add a few notes and points about this unique place. First, do not go to Taqueria Puebla really hungry or expecting a big meal. It is really geared something to eat as a lunch, a snack or a light dinner before dining out Spanish style. The food is very good just not wholly filling, and frankly, they got tired of making us dishes, shaming us into leaving less than sated. I do not know what Mr. amd Ms. Zim did, but Mr and Ms. VI went across the street for gorditas at Carnercia Jimenez. Second, go to Taqueria Puebla if you are a vegetarian who struggles over what to eat when dining a la Mexicana. You can get cheese sandwiches (torta or cemita) and cheese quesadillas. All are made from a big ball of Oaxcan string cheese that is hand pulled as needed. A funny scene occured after dinner. The owner was showing Zim and I the cheese ball and explaining how he dragged a bunch of these up from Mexico. In showering praise on the queso, he grabbed a chunk. We thought this was for us, an extra taste after hearing about it. No, he ate it himself. I mean he did think it was special. Last, our cemitas were papalo-less. The owner explained that he brought a gross of the soapy herb up from Mexico. He put it in the freezer thinking that would keep it best. Instead, it ruined it. In its place, he offered another soapy, yet citrusy hearb whose name would not stick in my ear, something like pepia. Wear a jacket. A door to a shuttered laudrymat does not fully close.
I claimed trophy-hood for Taco Fiesta in Melrose Park as I spotted the machacado sign. But AnnieB actually ate there and found the eels and abalone. It can be her trophy now. We tried on sunday. I skipped the oddities. It is actually a slightly difficult place to navigate. Out waitress pretty much refused to speak english to us, somehow conviced that the Condiment Queen was actually Mexican. Plus, there are a bunch of wall specials--including the eels--not on the menu. CQ went with the machacado, offered only with eggs, and I ordered a few tacos. The machacado, shredded jerky, tasted very fishy. Was it the salt from the cure, something else cooked on the grill, the eggs cooked with soy like in an Asian place? I actually enjoyed the taste of the meat intertwined with the scrambled eggs, and there was a killer salsa made from dried chili's that would have enhanced cardboard. I willing switched dishes. I missed out on some hearly looking tacos containing a mix of peppers, sour cream, onions and soft-cooked bacon; tacos alambres I think. I would say Taco Fiesta is a place to try if you really need to add Mexican dried beef to your repetoire, and you could also order it to go plain, or a place to eat if you were on this block, but not necessarily a place to cross town.