tierra caliente #2



Ok, we can all stop. The wait is over. The time is now. I have returned from my taco hiatus! (Now I know how The Beatles must’ve felt.)

I have a small, insignificant, petty excuse for my absence. And, for that, I apologize. You see, what I’ve been doing, if you could please find it in your heart to forgive me, is…..well….you see. Julia and I had a little baby boy, and I’ve been doing my best to be a good father.

I know. I know. How selfish can one person be? To put the entire taco community on hold, just to ensure my son has a healthy beginning to his life. I can only promise in the future to be more honest with myself where my priorities should be.

Alas, we shall move forward.

So, I’ve blogged about a few grocery store taco joints in the past, and they’ve all been pretty good. Today, my son Hawk (yes, that’s his name….deal with it) and I went to a small one located close to our apartment called Tierra Caliente #2. I went to the flagship store a while back and thought it was pretty good. You can read about it here. But, how does the little stepchild hold up?

Well, there are many similar things about the two, which shouldn’t be a surprise, but there were also some differences. Overall, though, it holds up nicely.

I tried four tacos, including three which had steak. The good ole carne asada, the campechano and the tierra caliente. Like the mother store, I couldn’t tell a huge difference between the tacos containing steak.

The meat is all cooked well, though, with nice grill flavor and the right amount of seasoning. But, it all tastes the same. In the campechano, which has skirt steak and marinated pork, all you can taste is the cow meat. Not the little piggy. The tierra caliente, which has grilled onions and special sauce, also just tastes like steak. Good steak, but all just like steak. Also, at the main store, the tierra caliente is very spicy. Here, it’s not at all. They should just call it the tierra.

I also tried the al pastor, which was my favorite taco at the other location. Here, the pastor doesn’t have much sauce and is more bare bones than most al pastor tacos. There aren’t any grilled onions or pineapple. Again, they did a nice job with the meat, but a little flavor from the accompanying toppings would be nice.

A couple side notes:

1. These tacos are a great deal for $2. They come stuffed full of enough meat to make three or four tacos. For any baller on a budget, I’d suggest this place.

2. In my review of their corporate location, I mentioned how fast their service is. Not the case here. They’re not exactly slow, but their operation is a little confusing and they don’t always know whose tacos are whose. It’s basically a bunch of dudes up at the counter, telling the server that every order is theirs. Kind of chaotic at times, but I guess they make it work.

Overall, though, I’m a fan of this place. With a couple upgrades, I could see this being a top 10 spot.

Anyway. Welcome back to the big leagues, me.

I haven’t talked to Julia today, but I don’t think she’s pregnant, so hopefully I can keep my priorities straight now…

The stats for 2.0:

Steak. Steak. Steak.

Steak. Steak. Steak.

  • Location:  2556 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago, IL (Logan Square)
  • Tourists:  Josh, Hawk
  • Tacos sampled:  asada, al pastor, campechano, tierra caliente (also have chiles rellenos, pollo, lengua, chicharron and chorizo)
  • Toppings: onions and cilantro
  • Salsa: rojo (pretty caliente)
  • Extras: grilled jalpenos
  • Tortillas: corn
  • Atmosphere: grocer, bar stools, counter, non-gringos, orchestrated chaos
  • Price: $2.00/taco (lengua is $2.75)
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