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Mike Sula

Gage Park taqueria specializing in the food of Durango.

Our Review

For all the wealth and variety of regional Mexican food in Chicago, there are relatively few restaurants specializing in the cuisine of the northern state of Durango. But a standard is being set at one of them, Gage Park's La Placita de Durango. Flour, rather than masa, is the primary medium for bread in the norteño style, and at LPdD you'll find gorditas stuffed with roasted green poblanos and creamy fresh cheeses like requeson and cuajada, small burritos bulging with carne deshebrada (shredded beef and potatoes), and quesadillas filled with chicharron prensado, shaved from loaves of pressed pork skin and reconstituted in a creamy, fatty sauce. You can order full, meaty platillos too, and breakfasts like machacado con huevo, eggs scrambled with shredded dried beef, onions, tomatoes and jalapeños. There are tacos and freshly squeezed juices, licuados, and aguas de frescas, and on the weekend menudo is big. But there's also something very unusual: caldillo de carne seca. It's a soup made with the same dried beef as the machacado, shredded and crispy, with potatoes, onions, and roasted cactus all swimming in a murky green broth swirling with fat. Rick Bayless informed me the soup is "classic and common" in Monterey, Nuevo Leon, and popular throughout the central and eastern north. At La Placita de Durango a big bowl brimming with beef will run you just around ten bucks.

Mike Sula

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