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Chicago Area Day of the Dead

Thanks for a very cool Day of the Dead outing

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Thanks for a very cool Day of the Dead outing

Mike G | Nov 10, 2002 09:07 PM

Today's Pilsen Day of the Dead outing, organized by Joan (meal) and DougK (educational portion), was a good illustration of the value of serendipity and of acting as a Chowpack. Polo's would be extremely easy to overlook next to more popular or glitzier neighbors like Nuevo Leon, Playa Azul or Bombon. (In fact, I have.) But faced with the challenge of a crowd of Chowhounds, the proprietors showed us how good the stuff lurking behind a nondescript front could be.

Not to slight the main dishes, but a couple of people made the comment, which I suspect was generally shared, that the freshly-made flour tortillas redeemed that much-maligned (by certain three-initialed types) creature, and were the real highlights of the meal-- in that everything tasted better tucked inside one of these hand-patted, appealingly rough-textured and slightly burnt delights. Certainly they had more in common spiritually with the corn tortillas of RST's admiration than the factory-made corn tortillas that also reached the table.

At one point I saw Joel and Zim poring over a menu and asked "Is this the secret menu?" No, Joel explained, actually the signage on the wall had Polo's one secret off-menu item-- carry-out pozole which apparently is so popular as a post-church item that it was already gone by the time the first hounds arrived at noon. So I'll guess we'll have to be back there next Sunday at 10:30. Or maybe someone should check the mass schedule at the half dozen churches in the immediate area, so we can get there while the locals are still giving each other the sign of peace.

Anyway, afterwards it was off to the Mexican Fine Arts Center, where a guide did his best to tell the adults about the art while kids such as my own peppered him with comments such as "I have a skull in my head, too." I'm hoping the picture of my sons in front of one of the funerary pieces comes out well enough to be used as a Christmas card.

Thanks to both of the organizers for a really fun and kid-friendly outing.

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