Glen and I drove to La Chaparrita to find out what all the hoopla is about at this grocery/taco store. I’ve been to a few grocery stores that also sell tacos, but this is a taqueria that also happens to sell a few groceries. The taco part is by far the focal point. It’s so focal, they don’t even sell burritos or tortas; just tacos.
I liked many things about this place. I liked to feel. The grittiness. The second-thought grocery part. The fact that Glen thought the owner was a little bit like the Soup Nazi – “Tacos only. No burritos. Just tacos.”
But, I also liked some of the little things they do here to make it unique. Their array of tacos is pretty impressive. I need to go back for the trinity of “foody” tacos: the tripe, the brain and the sweet breads tacos. They make their own salsas. One is a nice salsa roja, another is a hot sauce they make on site and the third is an avacado sauce that is magical. Apparently mimicking Mexico City street food, the tacos come with four whole grilled green onions and a supply of radishes. The owner also gave us each a complementary glass of tepache, which I had never heard of. It’s furmented pineapple water, and it’s pretty darned good.
So, the tacos….They’re excellent! The carne asada is very good. No complaints. The lengua is very tender and comes in one whole piece (you know, like a tongue). Also something I have never seen. The al pastor taco is good, but lacks spice. It is all sweet and no bite. The cecina is the best that I’ve had of its kind. Even though it’s dried out meat, it doesn’t taste dry. They make it work well. The star of the place, though, is the longaniza. It’s basically chorizo and by far the best pork taco I’ve had of any sort. It is seasoned very well and isn’t oily like those tubes of garbage sold at your local grocery store.
All-in-all, I love this place and need to get back….hopefully before the next big Polish holiday.
- Location: 2500 S. Whipple St., Chicago, IL (Little Village)
- Tourists: Josh, Glen
- Tacos sampled: carne asada, longaniza, lengua, al pastor and cecina (also have suadero, cabeza, tripa, molleja, sesos and campechano)
- Toppings: onions and cilantro and limes
- Salsa: salsa roja, homemade hot sauce, avacado salsa/sauce (not guacamole)
- Extras: tacos come with grilled green onions and radishes
- Tortillas: corn
- Atmosphere: small, authentic, tacos only, groceries, friendly
- Price: $1.75-$2.25/taco
- OVERALL RATING: 8.5