A Sandwich a Day: Roasted Pork Jibarito at Borinquen Lounge

A Sandwich a Day

Reviews of Chicago sandwiches.


[Photograph: Josh Conely]

Not nearly as ubiquitous as dogs or Italian beef, jibaritos are more the cult classic of Chicago originals. If you haven't formally introduced yourself (or read Nick's article), a jibarito is a Puerto Rican sandwich well worth knowing. And the Borinquen Lounge is a solid place to pick one up.

The roasted pork jibarito ($5.95) features the essential smashed, fried plantains as the vessel to carry the pork and few select accoutrements (lettuce, tomato, mayo) to your belly. Here, the plantains are fried up crunchy without a hint of grease, and then dusted with garlic salt. The distinctly yellow pork is full-bodied, juicy, and tender, and the "everything" toppings are like drinking a V-8. Mayo is a veggie, right?

Also worth mentioning is the accompanying rice with pigeon peas. A brilliant orange color and laden with hunks of spicy sausage, it is practically a meal unto itself. Or dessert, if you prefer.

Borinquen Lounge

3811 North Western Avenue, Chicago, IL 60618 (map)

Josh Conley is single-handedly trying to re-introduce the verb beget into the everyday lexicon. He traveled to Easter Island one Christmas out of sheer irony. He excises a hefty syntax, and shamelessly promotes the color orange. His wife begat him two small children that he regularly belittles HERE.