Best Bites, Chicago

This week’s Best Bite: Dulce de leche licuado & taco al pastor, Big Star

Dulce de leche licuado (milkshake) and taco al pastor, with marinated, spit-roasted pork shoulder, grilled pineapple, grilled onion, and cilantro

Dulce de leche licuado and taco al pastor, with marinated, spit-roasted pork shoulder, grilled pineapple, grilled onion, and cilantro

Why it’s this week’s Best Bite: On this stiflingly hot July week, it seemed fitting to write about somewhere that’s become a Chicago summer staple: Big Star. More specifically, its patio, with now-famous yellow chairs that people are willing to wait hours to sit in. I went on a weekday evening for the first time in a while, and thankfully was early enough to avoid waiting. I knew I’d get a taco al pastor, my favorite in the city, with caramelized pineapple, juicy pork, and tons of cilantro. But I also thought I’d try something new to quench my thirst on such a hot day, and went for the dulce de leche licuado. It’s listed on the menu as a “milkshake”; it’s really more of a Mexican smoothie, with little pieces of ice rather than the smooth texture of ice cream. But for those of us who crave the sweet-and-salty combination, this drink really hits the spot. There’s lots of salt to balance out the caramel, and it actually worked well with the taco’s pineapple too. Yes, you can also beat the heat with their excellent margaritas (now available in draft pitchers) and micheladas, but it was fun to mix it up with something sweeter.

The details: Big Star, 1531 N Damen Ave., Chicago.

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