taqueria el milagro

I know it blends in with the other buildings, but it's the bright pink building in the center of the picture...

I know it blends in with the other buildings, but it’s the bright pink building in the center of the picture…

I’ve long heard/read about El Milagro and have wanted to get down to Pilsen to check it out. I’ll start with the ending and then fill in the details of how we got there: uh, it’s a good taco place that’s very memorable.

Ok. What does that mean?

First, let’s start with the appearance:  look at the picture to the left. Yeah. I know. I enjoy the color scheme. I’m just assuming, but I think a six year old girl won a contest to become the color coordinator. Looks great!

The inside? Not as bright as the outside, but a grand variety of art going on. I think a five year old boy won this contest. It’s like a smorgasbord of Mexican artwork: bullfighting, religion, Mexican princesses, a pueblo blanket next to a pueblo painting, a random throne and a cherub fountain all fighting one another for your attention. A real orgy of artwork if you ask me.

The setup at the counter looks like a cross between the mission-style burrito line and a Mexican buffet. Don’t get me wrong. It’s impressive, and entertaining to look at. Each dish looks like a casserole stolen from a grandmother in Oaxaca. These dishes are the ingredients that go into the tacos (and other dishes, but who cares about those?).

So, it’s not the tradish: pollo, carnitas, al pastor, etc. taco place. It’s more of a throw-an-entire-meal-in-a-tortilla spot. Get it? Got it? Good.

Ok, so you get your tacos and what’s the first thing you notice? They are busting out of their tortillas. Imagine that brunette from Two Broke Girls in an A-cup. There is at least three tacos worth of filling in each individual taco. Also, they have rice and beans in the taco. It makes you feel like you’re eating a burrito-taco. Hmmm.

How do the tacos taste? Ah, they’re pretty good.

I had the asada, the lengua de res and the puerco en salsa verde. Each of them are good. There isn’t anything spectacular about any of them, but each is solid. They have huge hunks of meat in them, so if you’re into big, hunky meat, this may be your stop (Glen).

There isn’t any glaring issue either…..except…. I sensed an overall lack of freshness. I thought the tortillas were going to be steamy and right off the press. I mean, they are the same El Milagro that makes tortillas sold at your local grocer. AND, they’re made right next store.

Also, I don’t think letting the food sit in chafing dishes helps. I’m not sure how often they turn over some of the dishes. Hopefully at least once a weak.

Regardless, you owe it to yourself to ahead to Pilsen and check this place out. You’ll have plenty to talk about.

Each taco has beans, rice and cabbage...

Each taco has beans, rice and cabbage…

Da tails:

  • Location:  1923 S. Blue Island Ave., Chicago, IL (Pilsen)
  • Tourists:  Josh, Glen
  • Tacos sampled:  asada, lengua de res and puerco en salsa verde (also have pollo asada, guisado de res, chicharron en salsa, huevo en salsa, milaneza de res, milaneza de pollo, chile relleno con queso and vegetariano)
  • Toppings:  rice, beans, cabbage, hot sauce
  • Salsa:  salsa roja (also have sasla verde and salsa roja in some of the dishes)
  • Extras:  none
  • Tortillas:  corn (have flour available on request, Whities)
  • Atmosphere:  cafeteria, buffet-ish, burrito tacos, meat hunks, Mexican casseroles, cray eclectic artwork
  • Price:  $3.09/taco
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