Monday, August 30, 2010
Tony's Burrito Mex
I rarely eat out, which is probably why I have become such a cooking fanatic. I want to eat great meals, affordably. That means cooking at home.
And I usually don't consider buying lunch at a cheap Mexican restaurant eating out--it's more about getting yummy calories in my hungry stomach. Which is why I didn't give the food at Tony's Burrito Mex, on the corner of Belmont and Damen in (Roscoe Village) Chicago, much thought. When I think of eating out somewhere blog-worthy in Chicago, I think of Xoco, or La Frontera (which I have yet to visit) or some other famous (read: expensive)Chicago eating establishment.
But I forget that in big cities, the small, cheap eateries can serve up some great and notable meals.
My husband and I had just finished a morning of dancing and drumming at Le Bagatae's African drum and dance conference in Hamlin Park and were heading back home to Madison. We recalled that we had eaten at Tony's the previous year and it was memorable. This time, we ordered chicken burritos, slathered with green mole and avocados, and a chorizo burrito for our son. We made a "pit stop" before getting onto the car which took me past the kitchen--and gave me a clear view of one of the cooks straining freshly made enchilada sauce through a sieve.
Practicing my mediocre Spanish, I asked "Haces el mole aqui?" "Si," answered Adrian, "Hacemos todos los moles aqui...verde, rojo, enchilada, todos." After that I started saying something about how I thought most enchilada sauces in restaurants came out of a "lata." And then added a dose of French to show off (not really, I just speak whatever foreign language comes to mind when I can't think of the right word). "C'est bien que ustedes hacen las salsas frescas aqui." I don't know if Adrian, the cook, smiled because I complimented the sauce, or because my Spanish is so pitiful. Anyway, I was duly impressed, and he let me take a photo of him making mole.
I love stumbling upon great little eateries. It might be the norm to make homemade sauces at Mexican restaurants, but I wasn't aware. Tony's makes some great food, and I look forward to finding other great (read: cheap) eateries in Chicago next time we visit. And this was cheap (read: inexpensive); a "small" burrito set us back only $4. Wash it down with delicious horchata, and you have a great, fast meal. Gracias, Tony!