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Cafe Marianao [Pictures]

Cafe Marianao [Pictures]
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  • Cafe Marianao [Pictures]

    Post #1 - March 11th, 2007, 9:18 am
    Post #1 - March 11th, 2007, 9:18 am Post #1 - March 11th, 2007, 9:18 am
    LTH,

    Met JeffB and Michael M (EatChicago) at Cafe Marianao for Saturday morning breakfast.

    Cafe Marianao
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    Marianao is a busy place, I waited for a slight lull to get the counter as opposed to people's backs. Picture was taken from the front door, Marianao is not very large.

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    Staff is constantly in motion.
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    JeffB ordering.
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    Ham and egg for omelet sandwich, a popular breakfast item.
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    Pretty much every person orders Cuban coffee or cafe con leche, some both. ;)

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    Well used, constantly in motion sandwich presses
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    We dined altrunko* as Marianao was getting crowded and the light was better for picture taking.
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    Quintessential Cuban breakfast, Cuban toast dunked in cafe con leche.
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    We spun the wheel ordering pretty much one of everything, including Medianoche. Same ingredients as a Cuban sandwich, but with slightly sweet egg bread and smaller than a traditional Cuban sandwich.

    Cafe Marianao Medianoche
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    Bottom clockwise, Cuban toast, Cuban sandwich, omelet sandwich.
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    Steak sandwich
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    In short order we had whittled the sandwiches away to nubbins.
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    Directly across the street were two Maroon vans. Jeff picked up a few items from the one on the right.
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    Maroon Van menu
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    Sopes de Papes
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    Dobladas
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    Cafe Marianao is up for renewal of it's LTHForum Great Neighborhood Award, which I heartily endorse.

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    *On the trunk of my car :) )

    Cafeteria Marianao
    2246 N. Milwaukee Ave
    Chicago, IL
    773-278-4533
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #2 - March 11th, 2007, 9:38 am
    Post #2 - March 11th, 2007, 9:38 am Post #2 - March 11th, 2007, 9:38 am
    The food photography gods were smiling on you yesterday, Gary. Pics of the inside of Marianao and pics of the vans--rare indeed!

    Marianao remains as great as ever. It's a special kind of place that I need to return to much more often than once every couple years.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #3 - March 11th, 2007, 9:42 am
    Post #3 - March 11th, 2007, 9:42 am Post #3 - March 11th, 2007, 9:42 am
    I have to admit that if it were on the basis of the Cuban sandwich alone, I wouldn't be inclined to hand out an award to Marianao-- that fakey cheese, as a friend of mine said about a Cuban sandwich he actually had in Cuba, "tastes like socialism." On the other hand, the medianoche is a great little sandwich. But more to the point, as Gary's very evocative pictures demonstrate, Marianao is (like Manny's) one of those places so bursting with local color and ethnic personality that it spills into the street, and the combo of Marianao with the "maroon van" (famously discovered and chronicled back in Chowhound days by mostly future LTHers, plus the prodigal purple one) makes this area one of the great food spots in the city-- if one completely off the radar of most of the local population, which is why we're here to find such things. So Cafeteria Marianao not only rates our award... it practically defines it.

    Ancient maroon van thread on Chowhound back in the day.
    Another maroon van thread on Chowhound back in the day.
    A recent LTHForum post on them.
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  • Post #4 - March 12th, 2007, 10:51 am
    Post #4 - March 12th, 2007, 10:51 am Post #4 - March 12th, 2007, 10:51 am
    I'm on record not digging the processed cheeze, though it is probably closer to what is available in Cuba these days. However, it works well on the steak, which is one of the brilliant sandwiches in Chicago. The onions in mojo, toasted bread, and really pretty darn good steak, better than it has to be, boiled in mojo-tinged oil (lard, tallow?), take the idea of a Philly and improves it. Someone ordered a steak and egg when we were there, and it sounded like a nice idea.

    PS, the Cuban "doble" with a bit more pork and ham was great, despite the cheese.

    PPS, I've been going to the maroon van (now vans, and not maroon) for some time. They are in something of a golden age now, operating completely out in the open, with large crowds. The barbacoa at the side street van looked terrific. And if you are a fan of Mexican dairy, as am I, do try the picaditas/sopes de papas. The crema and cheese are rich and funky in a way that makes me doubt this is stuff you could buy at the supermercado down the street.
  • Post #5 - April 2nd, 2007, 5:10 pm
    Post #5 - April 2nd, 2007, 5:10 pm Post #5 - April 2nd, 2007, 5:10 pm
    Thank you, thank you, thank you, to all you experienced LTHers who have commented on the trucks and Cafeteria Marianao.

    I read up on both last week and headed out there after a shopping trip on Saturday. I brought home a load from both the closest truck and Marianao, and dined at home with my husband.

    It was fantastic. I love the cafe con leche with the dipping bread and both the steak and omelette-like sandwhich. Wow. The barbaccoa tacos were very flavorful, and the cup of the Mexican chocolate drink seemed to be what everyone was ordering in the drizzly/cool weather. The sope was mediocre, they were out of cheese and it was pretty tasteless.

    All in all, it was different and oh so good....
    I am so glad I found this site, I now have countless restaurants that I stop at and recommend to others that are truly amazing.
  • Post #6 - July 1st, 2007, 1:05 pm
    Post #6 - July 1st, 2007, 1:05 pm Post #6 - July 1st, 2007, 1:05 pm
    JeffB wrote:PPS, I've been going to the maroon van (now vans, and not maroon) for some time. They are in something of a golden age now, operating completely out in the open, with large crowds.


    The vans have, indeed, moved more into the open, and today I saw a significant line waiting to get what looked like chilaquiles (I was heading to Cafe Marianao so took a pass on the van today).

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    “We all have to stand before the kitchen gods.” Chef Jacob Sahaya Kumar Aruni
  • Post #7 - December 20th, 2009, 9:51 pm
    Post #7 - December 20th, 2009, 9:51 pm Post #7 - December 20th, 2009, 9:51 pm
    Driving up Milwaukee Avenue at 11:30AM, it's pretty easy to figure out where to eat. Bleak, empty place after bleak, empty place line the Avenue, except one lone shack with dozens of people inside and even more spilling onto the street, hot beverage and sandwich in hand. This was my first visit to Marianao, and I enjoyed it a lot. For three bucks, I got a hearty, well-balanced sandwich where the salty processed ham complemented the tender, porky lechon well. Cuban doesn't make my Top 15 cuisines list, but the lively atmosphere, low prices, and tasty enough food at Marianao will get me to return.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #8 - January 9th, 2010, 4:25 pm
    Post #8 - January 9th, 2010, 4:25 pm Post #8 - January 9th, 2010, 4:25 pm
    Didn't this used to be Chicks hot dog stand, back in the 80's.
  • Post #9 - January 11th, 2010, 4:38 pm
    Post #9 - January 11th, 2010, 4:38 pm Post #9 - January 11th, 2010, 4:38 pm
    I've always loved their steak sandwich. It has a perfect amount of vinegar and just a great balance to it. Plus the price can't be beat. Speaking of price they have an excellent cup of coffee for like a buck.
  • Post #10 - May 11th, 2015, 12:34 pm
    Post #10 - May 11th, 2015, 12:34 pm Post #10 - May 11th, 2015, 12:34 pm
    JeffB wrote:I'm on record not digging the processed cheeze, though it is probably closer to what is available in Cuba these days. However, it works well on the steak, which is one of the brilliant sandwiches in Chicago. The onions in mojo, toasted bread, and really pretty darn good steak, better than it has to be, boiled in mojo-tinged oil (lard, tallow?), take the idea of a Philly and improves it.


    Still as true as it was back in 2007. I seem to binge eat at this place and it's gotten a few visits of late. The same people in GWiv's pics are still behind the counter, it still gets jam packed on the weekends, and the steak sandwich with cheese is as good as ever.

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    Cheap eats don't get much better

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