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But The Delta manages to set itself apart by serving Mississippi Delta tamales, a distinct style that, if it weren't completely obvious by now, originated in the Mississippi Delta (basically, the northwest part of that state).
As we walked out, back into the stark, cold street, something Jack Kerouac wrote in “The Dharma Bums” came to mind: “I think it’s all lovely hallucination but I love it sorta.”Chicago abounds with tamales.
You can grab them at grocery stores, order them at an untold number of Mexican restaurants and pick them up by the dozen from vendors on select street corners.
(I wanted more of that octopus.) I chose the smoky skirt steak — delicious with a dollop of melted cheese and an onion relish wrapped in a sturdy blue corn tortilla.
But the price seemed steep for what essentially was a small plate. It was a generous sandwich, the grilled chicken topped with, among other things, pickled red onion, orange and avocado crema on a crusty roll.
Barrio is a handsome restaurant sporting 200 seats, with options ranging from communal-length tables to booths framed with curtains.
The cornbread arrives in a cast-iron pan, is firm enough to slice neatly and eat in-hand, yet sports a texture so delightfully loose and crumbly that you may worry — needlessly — that it will fall apart.Barrio offers a selection of tacos both traditional and “deconstructed” (that means you get to build them yourself). Sadly, you have to have the same filling in all three.
Sure, you get a view of the tiny kitchen, but the energy resides up front by the booze. Even though it sports two patties made with dry-aged beef, my burger came out oddly, um, dry.The octopus, he says, is getting a lot of attention from diners.I can see why — it’s a handsome dish with meaty cylinders of grilled octopus paired with crisped pieces of potato in a garlicky mayo.Kinzie St., 312-940-9900, barriochicago.com— Bill Daley Beet hummus at Beatnik kicks off the meal with sparks of citrus zest and dusky notes of clove, offset by the crunch of fried chickpeas and the salty tang of blue cheese.(Annie Grossinger / Chicago Tribune)Beatnik is a study in texture.You can also do nothing but nurse a beer at some North Side watering holes and wait for the red-cooler-toting Tamale Guy to spring through the door, like Santa for the seriously sauced.