Saturday, June 21, 2008

Pilsen & It's Vibrant Colors

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Mexican culture and cuisine is evident all over the US and today, I hosted an ethnic food tour of a Chicago neighborhood that highlights Mexican culture and cuisine in an artistic way. The Pilsen neighborhood is one that is vibrant in color with the many murals that adorn the sides of buildings and the people that live and work there. The Pilsen community is located south of the UIC campus. Pilsen has served as a port of entry for many immigrant groups that have come to Chicago seeking work and a better life: Germans at the turn of the century, followed by immigrants from Ireland, Poland, Lithuania, Bohemia, and others. During the 1950s, Mexican families began to move into the neighborhood. This trend accelerated in the 1960s, when Latinos became the major ethnic group.

We started the tour at a popular restaurant, Nuevo Leon. There, we enjoyed an authentic Mexican lunch which included fresh tortilla chips & salsa:

A Nacho appetizer:

A lunch plate of a chicken tostada, steak taco,
cheese quesadilla, rice & beans:

Afterward lunch, we stopped next door at Sabino Tortilla Factory. They make fresh tortillas during the week and the public is welcome to stop by and purchase fresh tortillas, tortilla chips and even masa. Today, they had no production going on, but we were able to take some pics of the factory and the many boxes of tortillas they have ready to ship out to local stores:

To end our tour on a sweet note, we crossed the street and followed the sweet smells of BomBon Bakery. It's a small bakery but the desserts they produce here are outstanding and worth the wait. Many of us bought some treats to enjoy... and I especially loved the trio of tres leches cakes I purchased (Kahlua, Caramel and Original):

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