CHICAGO (WLS) --Chicago is the birthplace of the Italian beef, deep dish pizza and of course, the best hot dog.
But it's also home to the jibarito. Created in a Puerto Rican kitchen, it's usually found near Division Street in Humboldt Park. But you can now find it in Pilsen, among the endless taquerias.
Plantains are all over the menu at The Jibarito Stop, which occupies an old greystone along 18th Street in Pilsen. Most notably, in their namesake sandwich, which is rooted in Chicago.
"A jibarito is a plantain sandwich. It has no bread, so basically instead of the bread it has flattened plantains," said co-owner Cely Rodriguez.
They first have to soak and then peel the barely-ripe plantains, slicing them up and frying them until soft. Then they place them into tortilla presses and literally smash them flat, forming the slices that will contain the sandwiches. The discs are then fried a second time to crisp them up.
From there, you choose from among four fillings, but all begin with a drizzle of mayo, a slice of cheese and then either chicken, vegetarian, excellent pulled pork or the most classic, steak with onions. Lettuce and tomato top it off, as well as a healthy brush of garlic oil on top. The two owners wanted to offer their guests more choices.
"So you can either get the jibarito with either Chihuahua, American or pepperjack, and you can arroz con gandules or rice and beans," Rodriguez said.
There are also maduros, or sweet, fried plantains, plus a few empanadas and a typical snack: papa rellena.
"We form it into a baseball, and we stuff it with seasoned ground beef. We also have the alcapurrio, which is kind of similar, where it has ground beef inside, but it's made with green bananas," she said.
For dessert, hard to go wrong with homemade flan.
"It's a little thicker than your traditional flan; it's not as eggy, which people I think appreciate a little more," Rodriguez said.
Now even though the menu is pretty compact, everything is made in-house, so if you live on the South Side, it saves you a trip all the way up to Division Street for a true taste of Puerto Rico.
The Jibarito Stop
1646 W. 18th St.