CHICAGO - Most Mexican restaurants purchase their tortillas, since making them one at a time requires extra labor, expense and skill. But our Hungry Hound says a three year-old Mexican diner on the city's northwest side does everything old school- including salsas, juices and tortillas - made from scratch every day.
The regulars fill the seats along the narrow counter inside Minna's. They come for hearty breakfasts and lunches, made just like they remember when they were kids.
"Real, authentic, Mexican food," said Xiomara Santana, one of the servers at Minna's. "You're in for a treat; ready to enjoy your mama's cooking."
That means homemade tortillas. Lots of them. Thin ones for tacos, puffy gorditas, elongated quesadillas, filled with squash blossoms and slender, round picaditas, with the edges pinched up along the sides.
"It comes with salsa, sour cream and cheese and a little bit of onions," said Santana.
Blue corn is also used occasionally, often for oval-shaped huaraches, which are stuffed with beans and chiles, then topped with any number of homemade items.
"They come with either steak, chorizo, con papa or chicharron, anything you want to put on top, with a little bit of onion, lettuce, sour cream and cheese," she said.
Santana says with a half dozen women up front, and another few in the back making soups and stews, they're able to create a number of dishes, all of which require tortillas that must be made to-order.
"It tastes better. The taste of the original masa, when you work the masa you give it that taste, your taste. If you buy it from any company, everything tastes the same. We try to make it our own," said Santana.
You just know when a restaurant goes to the trouble of making all the salsas from scratch as well as the masa for the tortillas and the quesadillas, it shouldn't be any surprise when everything is, ultimately, delicious.
In Steve's Extra Course video, he talks about some of the agua frescas and fresh fruit smoothies they make every day at the restaurant.
Extra Course: Minna's Restaurant
5046 W. Armitage Ave.