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the good and the sad in little village

the good and the sad in little village
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  • the good and the sad in little village

    Post #1 - March 1st, 2005, 2:54 pm
    Post #1 - March 1st, 2005, 2:54 pm Post #1 - March 1st, 2005, 2:54 pm
    went to Little Village last week to visit a friend and replenish my supply of Mexican vanilla, canela and flor de jamaica. So let's start with the sad news first: La Guadalupana, aka La Casa de Masa has really changed. It used to be a wonderful, lively place to stock up on supplies not just tamales but also for baking. They had their "own" bagged items such as chiles, coconut, canela, dried herbs etc. When I walked in many of the shelves were bare, there were some remnants of old stock but the bags were literally covered with dust and the labels yellowing. No vanilla, no chocolate. They still had a big heap of corn husks and chiles over in the cooler by the beer, but that was about it. My friend said that these days it's pretty much a place to buy beer, smokes, lotto tickets and bleach or soap to head over to the laundry. What a bummer. I wonder if it will return to its former self come Christmas time? But apparently, booze and tobacco turn a better profit than cinnamon and vanilla.

    I was rather crestfallen and so my friend said she had something she knew would cheer me up. From La Guadalupana we walked about 3 blocks west to a big red awning screaming "Cremeria." "You have to try their Requeson and they make their own version of Oaxacan cheese as well." So spiirits lifted, we entered.

    The young man behind the counter greeted us warmly, he offered tastes of any cheeses we wanted. I am a bit of Oaxacan cheese freak, I especially like to use it in Sopa de Tortilla. So I'm looking for the funny fat braided balls and didn't see any. And then he tells me that they don't roll theirs into balls, they just lay it flat "So we don't handle it too much," he said. So I tried some, it looking more ropy and stringy than what I've had. But it was good. A little saltier but that isn't a bad thing for my palate. Then we tried some of their homemade requeson (which is Mexican riccotta - another post on this right now with talk of Kappy's). Creamy dreamy comfort in a spoon.

    They had many more cheeses (queso fresco, Ranchero etc) but I was off to yoga so didn't want to get too stuffed. They also make their own yoghurt, their own ate--guava paste and a nougat studded with walnuts. They have tamales de elote which they bring in from Mexico, he was very proud of these as he said the corn in Mexico is denser than the corn here. And then he sold me on a piece of this wild looking candy, Chilicayote. It was a shocking bright pink slab of candied pumpkin, topped with pink coconut pieces and purple pumpkin seeds. It was so sweet my eyes watered but I gave the rest to a Guatemalan friend that evening and she got all misty-eyed. She knew the name but said in Guatemala it's the natural color, not pink but tasted just right.

    Anyhow, it's a wonderful place. It's called Santa Maria Cremeria. They are selling at Latino markets in Chicago such as Guanajuato and Edgewater produce. But if you're in LV, walk a few blocks west and check it out.

    bjt
    "eating is an agricultural act" wendell berry
  • Post #2 - March 1st, 2005, 4:41 pm
    Post #2 - March 1st, 2005, 4:41 pm Post #2 - March 1st, 2005, 4:41 pm
    bjt, thanks for this post. I'm really distressed to hear your report of La Guadalupana. I wonder if it changed hands?

    The cremeria is a place we've been meaning to check out for months, and your description of everything there really makes me want to get down there soon! thanks again.
  • Post #3 - March 1st, 2005, 10:07 pm
    Post #3 - March 1st, 2005, 10:07 pm Post #3 - March 1st, 2005, 10:07 pm
    sorry, I should have included this in my earlier post but I was at work and the card was at home . . . anyhow,

    Santa Maria Lacteos (y Cremeria - my addition but how the awning beckons)
    3424 W. 26th St.
    773-277-1760

    addendum! it says they make their own Queso Mennonita and I am super excited about this -- mantequilla or should I not be, I dunno, Mexican butter, hmmmm? The card also lists:

    Queso Cincho - what's this?


    anyhow, enjoy.

    bjt
    "eating is an agricultural act" wendell berry
  • Post #4 - March 1st, 2005, 10:30 pm
    Post #4 - March 1st, 2005, 10:30 pm Post #4 - March 1st, 2005, 10:30 pm
    bjt wrote:Queso Cincho - what's this?


    bjt:

    Looks like an interesting spelling for the less oddly spelt but equally inscrutably named queso (de) sincho (see link!).

    Antonius
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #5 - March 2nd, 2005, 12:28 pm
    Post #5 - March 2nd, 2005, 12:28 pm Post #5 - March 2nd, 2005, 12:28 pm
    There are several La Guadalupana's. You mentioned the one at 3842 West 26th, several blocks from the Cremeria. However, I recently stopped - lured by the sign "La Casa de Masa" and the gleaming ear of corn - at the location on Archer (4637 South Archer). I believe there's also a location at 1365 west 37th.

    Now, I'm not claiming that the Archer location is destination shopping, but I was able to pick up several of the items that you missed at 26th: canela, dried epazote, dried coconut, some chiles, a couple small bags of tamales (they had about 8 varieties - two chicken, two pork, rajas con queso, and two sweet versions that I remember ... I bought chicken and rajas, both decent), vanilla, and instant champurrado (I was intrigued - don't bother). The shelves were stocked and the store was clean.

    Perhaps their focus is shifting to a different location?

    rien
  • Post #6 - January 11th, 2006, 10:06 pm
    Post #6 - January 11th, 2006, 10:06 pm Post #6 - January 11th, 2006, 10:06 pm
    bjt wrote:And then he tells me that they don't roll theirs into balls, they just lay it flat "So we don't handle it too much," he said. So I tried some, it looking more ropy and stringy than what I've had. But it was good. A little saltier but that isn't a bad thing for my palate.


    Today, I did a side-by-side comparison of quesadillas made of Santa Maria's Oaxacan cheese and a more expensive Wisconsin brand (Supremo), and the Wisonsin version was much "creamier" (it glistens) though I think I liked the flavor of the Santa Maria one better. It's very difficult to judge differences, though, between such subtle cheese.

    Very interesting to hear how Santa Maria prepares theirs -- I was wondering why it looked so rope-y.

    Hammond
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #7 - January 12th, 2006, 7:56 am
    Post #7 - January 12th, 2006, 7:56 am Post #7 - January 12th, 2006, 7:56 am
    bjt wrote:I am a bit of Oaxacan cheese freak, I especially like to use it in Sopa de Tortilla. So I'm looking for the funny fat braided balls and didn't see any. And then he tells me that they don't roll theirs into balls, they just lay it flat "So we don't handle it too much," he said. So I tried some, it looking more ropy and stringy than what I've had. But it was good. A little saltier but that isn't a bad thing for my palate.

    BJT,

    Flat is the type of Oaxacan cheese I've purchased at Cermak Produce, which I very much like. I'm going try to get over to Santa Maria Lacteos, which I've been meaning to since reading your's and Amata's post.

    Oaxacan string cheese from Cermak Produce 4234 N Kedzie
    Image
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    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #8 - January 17th, 2006, 9:12 pm
    Post #8 - January 17th, 2006, 9:12 pm Post #8 - January 17th, 2006, 9:12 pm
    Hey Gary,

    That's a lot closer to home than trekking down to LV and I have had a craving for sopa de tortilla for oh, a year. Do you rhink this er, flat cheese is a North American distiguish-yourselves-from-the-past kind of thing? You know, like Italian red sauce joint--or is it just playing with quality in the very best way?

    bjt
    "eating is an agricultural act" wendell berry
  • Post #9 - May 25th, 2011, 5:02 pm
    Post #9 - May 25th, 2011, 5:02 pm Post #9 - May 25th, 2011, 5:02 pm
    bjt wrote:Anyhow, it's a wonderful place. It's called Santa Maria Cremeria.
    Agreed, a wonderful place! Bright, clean, compact filled with an amazingly diverse selection focusing dairy, but including a range from terrific looking dried shrimp to flavored dried soy.

    Cremeria Santa Maria

    Image

    Friendly staff generous with tastes, dulce de leche, quesco fresco, quesco blanco, mole, pastry, dried crystallized fruit, corn tamales, all wonderful even on our recently filled belly's. We had just come from La Chaparrita.

    Image

    I purchased a few items, crystallized fruit, chorizo, morcilla, quesco fresco and, what I think was requeson, salty tangy texture like fresh ricotta. Chorizo tacos for dinner tonight, crystallized fruit for dessert.

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    I recommend a visit to Cremeria Santa Maria, if for nothing more than Free Cow Rides!

    Happy_Stomach, Boudreaulicious

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    Enjoy,
    Gary

    Cremeria Santa Maria
    3424 West 26th Street
    Chicago, IL 60623
    773-277-1760
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #10 - May 26th, 2011, 7:13 am
    Post #10 - May 26th, 2011, 7:13 am Post #10 - May 26th, 2011, 7:13 am
    FWIW, I'm pretty sure Santa Maria has a stand at the Swap-o-Rama in Back of the Yards. I don't have cheese photos, but here's the bread, candied fruit and empanadas I saw at the flea market last year. Santa Maria also has a fiberglass cow at Swap-o-Rama, but it's several stories high, so I couldn't ride it.

    Image

    Image

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    Swap-o-Rama
    4200 S. Ashland Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60609
  • Post #11 - May 26th, 2011, 1:19 pm
    Post #11 - May 26th, 2011, 1:19 pm Post #11 - May 26th, 2011, 1:19 pm
    G Wiv wrote:I recommend a visit to Cremeria Santa Maria, if for nothing more than Free Cow Rides!

    Happy_Stomach, Boudreaulicious

    Image

    The rideable cow is the latest in a string of Santa Maria bovine mascots. A few years ago this behemoth (here lacking its cranium) could often be seen being towed around the neighborhood or at rest next to the store.

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    Here she's enjoying a scrubdown from Santa Maria's staff.

    Next season the megacow was replaced by a more patriotic version.

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    Occasionally you'll see a large bull prancing about in front of the store.

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    A friendly fellow, he extended his right front hoof to me.

    happy_stomach wrote:Santa Maria also has a fiberglass cow at Swap-o-Rama, but it's several stories high, so I couldn't ride it.

    Does anyone know if the Cremeria Santa Maria in Melrose Park (2216 W Lake) is still open?

    Image

    I never saw any cows around and I think this suburban outpost might now be closed. Mere coincidence?

    While I was a big fan of the megacows, I applaud Santa Maria's newest mascot downsized to a more human scale.

    Image

    Cremeria Santa Maria
    3424 W 26th St
    Chicago
    773-277-1760

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