For Mother's Day, we made a SUPERDEEDUPER quick trip through Chicago. One of these days we'll have to get up there for a more extended visit, but this time work got in the way and it was not to be.
We celebrated Mother's Day at the Parthenon in Greektown, which has been the site of lots of family gatherings since before I was born.
Before Greektown, though, DJ, CB, Logan and I went out for Puerto Rican food. The plan had actually been to go to Hot Doug's, which had just announced that they'd be closing in the fall. This announcement, combined with a gorgeous May day, meant that the line was close to three hours long to get in. We waited an hour and then decided to pack it in and hunt down a jibarito.
Jibaritos are a Chicago thing, created by the Puerto Rican community. I'd been wondering why I hadn't heard of these, despite growing up in Chicago, but the Wikipedia page tells me they weren't created until the late '90s. Jibaritos are sandwiches where the bread is replaced by a fried plantain!
Borinquen was the original home of the jibarito, but they've unfortunately closed.
So we went to La Bomba.
We started with lots of fried and steamed appetizers, from banana dumplings to tamales, and washed them down with a variety of Caribbean sodas.
After that, we split an order of mofongo with fried pork. Mofongo is made from starchy green plantains, studded with meat, melded into a ball and... fried. Whoever was working the fryer in the back knows exactly what they're doing.
And then, two jibaritos! The first, with stewed pork, was extremely rich.
I preferred the steak and onion version. The steak had been pounded thin and fried, and the texture was pleasant with the slight crunch and starchy chew of the plantain.
This meal was a lot of fun (though seriously heavy!) and it was a kick getting to try something completely new to us. If you find yourself in Chicago, I'd definitely recommend hunting one of these down. I've added this to my growing list of things I miss about Chicago.
La Bomba is in Humboldt Park at 3221 W. Armitage. (773) 394-0106.