Papa’s Cache Sabroso
2517 W. Division, Chicago, IL
By Abraham Velázquez Tello
For some, there are classics and and for me Papa’s is one of them. As a Mexican, and now honorary Puerto Rican, this was my first introduction to Puerto Rican food and frankly the entire neighborhood of Humboldt Park a few years back. I keep coming back on a regular basis for the best of the best jibarito (hee-bah-ree-to) in the city. Think about a steak sandwich that uses fried green plantains instead of bread! Genius! Paseo Boriqua is filled with great life and vigor every time I go so I always have to stop by Papa’s. Everything from the traditional lechon asado to the tostones, I have never been disappointed with anything on the menu. Perfect place to bring a couple visiting friends as you enjoy a nice stroll down Division. Or if you are going from one end of the city to the other on Western, call ’em and pick it up to go. Papa’s is a small mama & papa shop so you might have to wait a minute to sit if it’s busy. It’s BYOB, and you can run across the street and pick up a quick brew to enjoy in the patio on a hot summer day. Very reasonably priced and the mediatory Hector Lavoe tracks will keep you movin’ while you eat some arroz con gandules.
Delicia Tropical Cafe
780 Villa St
Elgin, IL 6012
By Rebecca Bretana
Delicia Tropical Café may be the best option for us suburbanites. Located in Elgin, this Puerto Rican restaurant offers what city-dwellers get in Humbolt Park: great food at low prices.
This little café may not seem like much to look at, but don’t let looks fool you. The service is friendly, the prices are reasonable, and the food is delicioso. The menu’s offerings were so affordable, I didn’t have to restrain myself when ordering.
Of course, I purchased both the yuca and plantain varieties of mofongo. They came with a flavorful broth and salad. To my yucca mofongo, I added some of their roasted, peppery pork served up on a banana leaf. Another great side that would make for an even greater breakfast was their half-moon empanadas. Their jibarito’s weren’t bad either. II have to say, when it comes to any fried plantains, it’s best to eat them right out of the fryer. I wouldn’t chance any take-out.
Delicia Tropical is open for lunch and dinner, but if you’re around for breakfast, I suggest ordering from their selection of coffee drinks. I can imagine a cheese empanada and café con leche would pair well together.