Of all the neighborhoods I cover on the blog, I have yet to eat my way through Pilsen, which is why I was expecially excited when Molly Schemper of Fig Catering guessed the Urban Belly mystery logo, A resident of Pilsen, she decided to blog about her favorite neighborhood spot, El Taco Nazo, and also promised to take me on a food tour of her ‘hood with her partner Justin Hall (who got to share his own Chinatown-inspired guest post a few months back). Her delicious post (she had me at guac) and fun pics to follow..
I don’t get out much. As much as I’d like to try all of the new restaurants I read about or get to some of the “oldies, but goodies,” the reality of running my own business (not much free time or free cash) often gets in the way. When I’m tired from a day of working in the kitchen or at an event, I usually end up at a neighborhood joint. Luckily, I live in Pilsen so that’s not always a bad thing, with a plethora of Mexican taquerias and slightly more upscale seated places I can usually get great tacos, tender tampiqueña (grilled steak with beans, grilled spring onions, guacamole, rice, etc.), ceviche, and chiles rellenos—my favorite.
So, where do I end up most often? El Taco Nazo (née Azteca Tacos). The service at ETN is somewhat distracted, but the four delicious homemade salsas and unlimited chips they bring to your table will quickly distract you. Cold beers with cold mugs (by request or repeated recognition only) make it feel like you’re on a Mexican beach (ignore the blaring lights that are new and will hopefully be dimmed by the next time I visit). The guacamole can sometimes use salt, but add it and you’ll enjoy the creamiest version around (I believe Pilsen has first dibs on avocados in the city.). The chiles rellenos are freshly fried and bathed in a spicy, smoky tomato sauce full of peppers and onions. The beans are homemade and lardy. The ceviche tostadas are bright and crunchy; unlike true ceviche the shrimp and fish are precooked and mixed to order with lime juice, onion, tomatoes, and marinated jalapeños (sometime really hot, other times not). The torta Milanesa (breaded steak) topped with mayo and avocado is a great sandwich and the guisados (stews) I’ve tried have been great as well.
Unless I’m at Topolobampo I don’t end Mexican meals with dessert, and considering the pictures of Superflan on the walls at ETN I don’t make an exception here. Just have another Bohemia…you’ll be fine. 1514 W. 18th Street, 312.432.0800