When Saturday's terrible weather dampened all our other plans, my wife, toddler and I decided to do a little exploring of the 5100-5900 blocks of South Kedzie ave, in Gage Park, I guess it is. This seems to be a fairly Mexican-dominated commercial stretch with some intriguing chow opportunities.
We grabbed a quick breakfast at Taqueria La Haciendita at 5151 S. Kedzie. Perfectly good renditions of Huevos Mexicana and the like, good efficient service (our waitress didn't speak a word of English, and was perfectly happy to go get one who did when we reached the limits of our menu Spanish). All twenty or so tables were full and turning over while we were there, so this would seem to be a neighborhood favorite. They advertise carnitas on the weekends. Right next door was a grocery store with a few tables as well. Didn't get to see if there was anything unusual on the menu.
Walking north toward the huge Unique Thrift Store in a strip mall at 51st and Kedzie, we notices a restaurant and banquet hall called Las Brisas on the corner advertising "Tortillas Hecho a la Mano." Might be worth checking out sometime.
After a swirl through the thrift store, we hoofed it back south on Kedzie. At 53rd and Kedzie there was a slightly more dressed up place called Elias that has been praised previously on this board (see below).
Crossing 55th, there is a stretch dominated by a huge Lasalle bank building and its multi-level parking structure across the street. A little further on is a very promising looking paleteria at 5646 S. Kedzie. I tried to keep the wrapper from my paleta which had the name but I seem to have lost it. I think it was Tropical or Tropicana and it billed itself as being Michoacan style. Anyhow, I must confess that I have never visited a paleteria before or even had a paleta, so I have no point of comparison, but if this one wasn't good, I don't think I could handle good. I had a tamarindo paleta that was very flavorful and seemingly fresh (no taste of freezer or unpleasant ice crystals, etc). They had at least twenty different flavors of paleta, and then an equal or greater number of homemade ice creams or frozen ices.
Just a little further on is Pete's market, a beautiful modern grocery store with an excellent selection of Mexican produce, excellent looking meat at a full-service meat counter, and very good prices. Since this is all only about twenty minutes from Hyde Park, this could be a regular jaun so I'll report back on other finds.