Las Delicias will re-open in September 2007.
Chicago's best yucca (or cassava) and tamales come pouring from the kitchen of Las Delicias, a Guatemalan hut near my Roscoe Village neighborhood. Flung up on a busy corner of Western Avenue, the place looks like a graffiti-riddled shack, but once you enter the front door, it's toasty and loaded with charm and sweet-as-pie employees.
The menu offers nearly a dozen varieties of pupusas (those addictive little hand-slung corn patties stuffed with meat and cheese), but the real treat is the deep-fried yucca. Lightly crisped in vegetable oil, these giant spheres of potato-like goodness are everything the silly old French fry tries to be but isn't. A root vegetable at heart, it's surprising to cut into one and see the textured meat on the inside actually flake away, layer after layer, similar to that all-time favorite, phyllo dough.
When you order pupusas (and you should order several), the waiters always bring out a lazy susan filled with homemade cabbage (very vinegary) and different spiced salsas. The best way to eat the yucca is to slice it down the middle, slide in a bit of crunchy cabbage, spoon on some sour cream, lay on a bit of the crumbly queso and load it up with fiery salsa. These filling little monkeys put all bean-laden nachos, BBQ hot wings, hummus and pita plates and bar food in general straight to shame.
Rock-bottom prices allow me to order several tamales to go with my yucca. Dense and sweet, they are the perfect consistency: not wet and underdone like some varieties I've happened across. Really, food like this changes the way I eat. Tamales for breakfast, yucca for lunch and pina coladas for dinner. Oh, and mojitos all day long.
Reviewed By: Misty Tosh