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de Cuaresmo--try a new Mexican

annieb | Mar 15, 200211:09 PM

Went exploring again in the area beginning at Montrose-Kedzie for new thrills. I've been wanting to try a place there that advertises "north coast Colombian", but when we walked in it was a combination of hugely loud jukebox and a large screen TV. Still would like to try it, but tonight just wasn't the night. Me and himself needed to converse.

So we went further west, past Kimball almost to Central Park to el gallo. I tried to look up the address on Switchboard, because there are two el Gallo's close to each other. One is a decent enough little storefront, but the better of the two is on the northwest corner of Montrose and, I think, the block east of Central Park.

Himself had his regular steak burrito, which he said was very tasty, although he thought the steak was cut in pieces a little too small. He was impressed by the prices circa 1985 West Town. We also ordered an avocado salad, which was impeccable. A big plate with a bed of shredded lettuce, good amount of sliced tomato, and what was at least one avocado in sections, topped with some good mexican crema and onion rings. Two juicy wedges of lime.

I ordered the enchiladas with mole sauce, chicken. The mole tasted better the more of it I had. Chicken moist and not greasy. Really good refritos. Enchiladas and beans topped with queso anejo, not your usual glop of cheese. Rice was well seasoned and not gooey at all. Really nice little hot tortillas.

$17.00 for all of the above. Also they brought us chips and two salsas, a nice salsa fresca and a decent thin red sauce that himself compared to "mexican russian dressing". It appeared to be a blended sauce of chiles and tomatoes, rather creamy. Also a dish or carrot, cauliflor, and pickled jalapenos.

Oh--the de Cuaresma. On the way in, I noticed a sign that said "de Cuaresma, torta de camaron e nopales." I was in the mood for something more than a torta, but on the way out (we were the last ones there), I noticed it again and asked.

Very little english spoken here, by the way. Although they really try, it was easier from beginning to end when I just told them to speak spanish. After they tried to explain the de Cuaresma in english, and I said to just speak spanish, we had a nice conversation where I learned that the torta is an egg and ground dried shrimp patty cooked in a guajillo tomato sauce with cactus. Cuaresma is Lent. The woman behind the cash register asked our young waitress, who looked like her daughter, to bring us a sample. She came back with a whole patty, and when I said I would like to try it, they just packed it up and sent it home with us. It's quite good. And they tried to refuse the tip.

I asked if they had chilaquiles, but they said not.

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