In June, my guest Maria and I arrived early to the Latin Sandwich Cafe (4009 N. Elston Ave.) chow event. At Maria's initiative, we used our time to explore Cuenca's Panaderia y Pasteleria whose rear service entrance is across the street from Latin Sandwich Cafe. We walked around the corner to the Irving Park commercial entrance.
Maria, who is from Ecuador, quickly learned this bakery is owned by Ecuadorians. She was quite delighted to advise every weekend, this bakery roasts whole pigs. The proprietress went into the rear and returned with a small take out container. On a lettuce leaf was a sample of the roast pig with skin, hominy and a salsa. She advised a meal could be purchased for $5.
On this same occasion, we bought a 'sweet corn' tamale which we brought over to Latin Sandwich to compare with their tamale variant. Today, I purchased the same but was advised it was not a tamale but rather a 'Humitas.'
Today was my first opportunity to try the $5 pork dinner, which I reminded them I wanted with skin. My order included a very generous quantity of roast pork with crisp crackling skin. The pork was not dry but moist, succulent and required no additional seasoning eaten as-is. Accompanied by hominy, two small mashed potato pancakes and a lettuce cup filled with a fresh salsa. This salsa has thinly sliced red onion, chopped tomato and cilantro in the middle of a lettuce cup. Additionally, she included a small container of hot sauce to go.
Separately, I purchased one humita which was sweetly delicious like before. My entire purchase, including a 20 ounce Coke, was $7 and change.
Please note, I have no clue what their baked goods or pastries are like. If I had not learned through Maria of this bakery offering roast pig every weekend, then this was just another bakery. I can assure you there was no visible clue to the pork offering. This is not just a secret menu but an unexpected offering!
3658 West Irving Park Road
Chicago, IL 60618