Ever since I began reporting weekly on the fried food front for Serious Eats Chicago, I've wanted to write up a chimichanga. You see, even though I faithfully order my tacos solamente con cilantro y cebolla and I turn up my nose when I'm presented with thick American sour cream instead of luscious, liquid Mexican crema, I'll always return to my dark mistress: Tex-Mex.
If your formative years were anything like mine, you've got a soft spot for the cuisine-formerly-thought-to-be-Mexican and all its trappings, too: melted cheese as far as the eye can see, beans, rice, guacamole, shredded iceberg with every entrée, unlimited chips and salsa for the table, etc., etc. Prepared well, Tex-Mex is flavorful and familiar, but prepared poorly it's downright awful. And even though the rich Mexican culinary culture that permeates Chicago means I can live out my days feasting on tacos, tortas, huaraches, and sopes without ever suffering through another meal at Chi-Chi's again, it also means that true Tex-Mex prospects within the city limits are pretty abysmal. I'm looking at you, Uncle Julio's. [Editor's Note: Apparently, there are actually no Chi Chi's currently open in the United States.]
But back to the chimichanga: after hearing great things about nearby 2 Amigos in Logan Square, I stopped in to give their tacos a try, until, that is, I saw that they offered a Chimichanga ($6.25, $.25 for extra fillings, though what was considered "extra" was unclear). I followed the waitress' recommendation for carne asada and waited patiently for the nostalgia to kick in. The chimichanga arrived larger than life and fried to a perfect golden brown. Cutting into it revealed a picturesque filling of flavorful steak, refried beans, lettuce, tomato, avocado, sour cream, and cheese. It looked and tasted just like... a deep fried burrito. In my head, I know that I received exactly what I ordered, but in my heart, I was expecting so much more: a blanket of melted cheese, beans, rice, guacamole, and shredded iceberg served outside the burrito on a sizzling hot platter—the whole Tex-Mex shebang. What I ate tasted great; it just didn't hit the spot.
So my search for an over-the-top Tex-Mex chimichanga in the city limits continues. Help me out, Serious Eaters: where do you go for great Tex-Mex here in Chicago?
2320 N Milwaukee Avenue Chicago, IL 60647 (map)