Whoa. WHOA. I’ve been eating. A lot. Some might say I am regularly eating my weight in food, which is sort of my job. Other might say that gastric bypass surgery hurts. I tend to fall somewhere in the middle. Come friends. Come see what I have eaten. One of my favorite parts about living in Chicago is spring time. The snow melts, you can actually walk outside, and most importantly, the elotes carts come back. If you are in north Chicago or west Chicago, chances are good you will run into one of these bad boys. Don’t ask questions, just hand them money and tell them you want a corn in a cup with everything. Un elotes con todo, por favor. For the mere price of $1.50-$3 USD (varies depending on location), you get this: a cup full of steamed corn just cut off the cob, Mexican crema, butter, a bit of mayo, some crumbly cotija cheese and just a smidge of chile powder. Occasionally a squeeze of lime juice. Otherwise known as the best freaking thing on earth you can buy on a street corner.
Give it a good mix, and it all melts together into a warm, creamy, cheesy corn casserole of happiness. Personally, I think there is an art of creating a cup of elotes. Some vendors will dump all the corn in, squirt some toppings on, and call it a day. Others, the artisans, if you will, use the layering method. A bit of corn, a bit of all the toppings, repeat. This method is superior to me. In the first elotes construction method, by the time you get to the last half of the elotes, all of the toppings have been eaten or turned into a watery mess after it combines with the corn juices. With the layering method, you get to enjoy a proper ratio of toppings to corn for the entire cup. I haven’t yet found the balls to demand the layering construction method from the cart vendors, but I do try to frequent the layering artisans when I find them.
Tamales were also consumed on this adventure, but I was so damn excited to eat my tamales (it was after school one day, mind you), that I gobbled them up before I had a chance to photograph. My bad. More delicious Leena Eats to come! ~LTG!