Home Cookin'
    
Avatar

Pitmaster Emeritus
Web
#1
Posted March 11th 2007, 9:18am
LTH,

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

Cafe Marianao
Image

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.

Image

Staff is constantly in motion.
Image

JeffB ordering.
Image

Ham and egg for omelet sandwich, a popular breakfast item.
Image

Pretty much every person orders Cuban coffee or cafe con leche, some both. ;)

Image

Well used, constantly in motion sandwich presses
Image

We dined altrunko* as Marianao was getting crowded and the light was better for picture taking.
Image

Quintessential Cuban breakfast, Cuban toast dunked in cafe con leche.
Image

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
Image

Bottom clockwise, Cuban toast, Cuban sandwich, omelet sandwich.
Image

Steak sandwich
Image

In short order we had whittled the sandwiches away to nubbins.
Image

Directly across the street were two Maroon vans. Jeff picked up a few items from the one on the right.
Image
Image

Maroon Van menu
Image

Sopes de Papes
Image

Dobladas
Image

Image

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
Avatar

Charter Member
#2
Posted March 11th 2007, 9:38am
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
Avatar

Charter Member
Web
#3
Posted March 11th 2007, 9:42am
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.
_______________________________________

Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
Avatar
#4
Posted March 12th 2007, 10:51am
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.
Avatar
#5
Posted April 2nd 2007, 5:10pm
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.
Avatar

Lead Moderator
Web
#6
Posted July 1st 2007, 1:05pm
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).

Image
_______________________________________

“We all have to stand before the kitchen gods.” Chef Jacob Sahaya Kumar Aruni
Avatar
#7
Posted December 20th 2009, 9:51pm
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
Avatar
#8
Posted January 9th 2010, 4:25pm
Didn't this used to be Chicks hot dog stand, back in the 80's.
Avatar
#9
Posted January 11th 2010, 4:38pm
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.
Deep Dish Pizza

Online Information

Users browsing this forum: Exabot [Bot], LAM026 and 23 guests