I stopped by Tienda Casa Paloma yesterday on a whim. It really looks more like a market (which is what “tienda” implies) from the outside, but they I noticed some signs on the window advertising tacos, burritos, lunch specials, etc. In the end, I’m very glad I stopped in, for I found a place with a huge menu, lots of seating, and good food.
The vibes in this place are super friendly and positive. I received an immediate greeting from the two people behind the counter, as well as some advice about what to order. I opted for green chili, the special of the day. I had heard about green chili before, but had never noticed it on Mexican menus. It always struck me as a southwest, ameri-mex kind of thing. Maybe it is, but I decided to give it a go on the brisk autumn afternoon.
Green chili is basically a soup or stew, made with a base of tomatillos, the main ingredient in salsa verde which you see at many Mexican restaurants. I understand the dish is also infused with some roasted green chilis and lime juice. The protein kick is provided by shredded bits of roasted pork and chicken. This is not a spicy dish at all, and really is rather simple, hearty and fresh tasting. The whole thing was topped with fried tortilla chips and finely shredded cheese. I really need to start bringing a camera around with me, but maybe life is to short to start taking pictures of my lunch in order to spice up blog posts.
The green chili was very good, but not the best thing I’ve ever had. I would have preferred more meat, but basically I’m not a soup guy, so it would have been hard to overwhelm me with this dish. However, the meal was rounded out with a fantastic bottle of coke imported from Mexico, which tastes so much better than the crap we get here due to the use of sugar instead of corn syrup as sweetener. Anyone who has not experienced a real coke, go out and spend 1.75 at your local Mexican market for one. I was also happy to see a wide assortment of Jarritos sodas which were a favorite of mine when i lived in Chicago. Mmmm, tamarindo.
This place has counter service as I mentioned, which makes the whole experience very quick. My food came out to my table before I had taken off my coat and bag to sit down. Super fast. Unlike the Chartroose Caboose, the place was populated entirely by women, who i imagined were stay at home housewives in the midst of a typical day of working out, running errands, and conspicuous consumption. Entertainment was provided by two small children, who were dancing spontaneously to the jaunty mexican music being piped in, while being ignored by their parents.
As the name implies, Tienda Casa Paloma features a small assortment of Mexican foodstuffs for sale, including an enviable selection of dried chilis. The whole room looks like it is in flux, they were doing some work at the front corner while I was there. I think in due time they will get their organizational scheme figured out, because the atmosphere is just a bit weird. I ate my lunch right next to a shelf full of styrofoam plates and boxes of plastic forks.
In conclusion, I am very happy to have found this place-it’s right next to Mr. Gyro, so next time you are in the area, opt for some good Mexican chow instead of greasy processed lamb meat. Mind you, I enjoy greasy processed lamb meat as much as the next guy.