Excellent news for Grant Park residents: Mi Barrio reopened Monday night after a 50-day hiatus. The highly personable family that owns the restaurant was visiting Mexico in a three-car caravan.
They actually planned a longer stay but learned that the superbly kitschy restaurant had been burglarized and turned upside down. Entry was through a hole dug in the ground, as happened at another nearby restaurant.
Our dinner last night was, as usual, better and more authentic than you find at the usual intown Mexican spot. I ordered a taco filled with beef tongue and an adobado gordita. I also got a tamale filled with cheese and bits of grilled green pepper.
As is often the case here, flavors can be potent but unpredictable. The adobada is quite meek while the tongue remains the best-tasting meat in the house by far. The tamale bloomed with the flavor of ground corn, but I literally had to scrape most of it out of its corn-husk wrapper.
Wayne ordered the plate of carne asada, a generous serving that he turned into tacos with the restaurant's house-made corn tortillas. He loves the dish.
The owners, as I understand, are from the Guadalajara area. I wish they would put that area's famous torta ahogada ("drowned sandwich") on the menu. Think super-sloppy joe filled with real meat and drowned in a zingy salsa. Eating the sandwiches with the hands, as is usual, is a messy chest-to-shoe-splattering undertaking, but worth the effort.
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