Am I the last person in the Chicago area to "discover" velvet tacos? Am I finally deciding I live here, right as I start the process of not living here, and so looking for cheap eats?
Velvet Tacos (of Chicago) is located right near where I get my hair (very occasionally) cut at 1110 North State Street in Chicago. It is also near a Barnes and Noble I go to when in that direction. The place is somewhere between a hole in the wall and a kind of hip joint, with inexpensive tacos and frozen margaritas in what seems to be a cross between a fast food joint and . . . Let me put it this way: you walk to the front, place your order, pay and they call your name and you pick up what you ordered. And, you happily -- very happily -- eat what you ordered.
It was mid-day when I did this -- and yes, I ordered a margarita which was a slushy and more alcoholic than I had expected. I also ordered one of the #8 (pork) tacos and an order of one of my favorite things -- elote. The taco involved annatto shredded pork, avocado cream, quest fresco and a hibiscus corn tortilla. (I still don't know what that means about the taco.) The elote was imperfect, but good. If you have no idea what elote is, you should immediately find out. Once upon a time, I had no idea there was a name for corn on the cob schmeared with a kind of mixture of quest fresco or cojita and chili and lime. Nor did I know that sometimes it comes in a bowl with the corn kernels fresh and yellow. And, I had no idea that I would think it was one of the best foods in the world. Now I know. Now you know.
Near me, I heard a conversation coming out of a youngish mouth (college age?) in which someone said they brought their mother there and she just did not get it. I would guess her mother is younger than I am.
I, on the other hand, get it. And not because I am hip. I am not. I am simply someone who likes good cheap food. And that was what I got. I will go back. I have no idea if I will ever order any of the more "globally inspired" tacos (like chicken tikka) but I will go back.
Here's the menu. And, by the way, who knew that there were such places in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston. I wonder if they are as good as this one, in the Windy City. I hope so, given that it is a Texas chain that only opened in Chicago in 2015.
The fact that they are not listed in this best tacos of Chicago piece means I may have to get out of the condo more.