Happy Taco Tuesday! In honor of this weekly culinary holiday, I decided to treat myself to a tasty solo lunch at not one but two of Chicago’s fabulous taco joints along the CTA Blue Line.
First up, I headed to Humboldt Park to visit Belly Shack which is located directly underneath the Western Avenue ‘L’ stop. Folks, it does not get more convenient than this. So, stop whining about the weather or your aching feet! Grab your Ventra card and hit the rails!
Belly Shack is an Asian-Latin fusion spot helmed by Chef Bill Kim who also owns Urban Belly and Belly Q in the West Loop. Chef Bill is offering up some tasty tacos, lettuce wraps and more. The menu items represent a mash up of his Korean heritage and the Puerto Rican heritage of his wife, Yvonne.
Belly Shack is indeed a shack. Nothing fancy to look at here. Simply great food. It’s the perfect spot to relax between errands, on your way to or from work or simply just because you find yourself hungry while on the CTA Blue Line.
Since this was my first stop today, I chose only one menu item, the Korean BBQ beef taco platter. “Platter” would normally indicate a huge amount of food but Chef Bill served up a perfectly sized portion that was not too filling. The BBQ beef was seasoned very well. The Napa cabbage kimchi which accompanied it was spicy. The refried lentils were not too starchy and the dirty rice was really bright and citrusy. I loved every bite. The platter comes with 4 small corn tortillas. I prefer corn to flour tortillas for a true taco experience. This was a really yummy choice!
Upon finishing up at Belly Shack, I headed back upstairs and boarded the train heading south 2 stops to the Division ‘L’ stop in Wicker Park. From there, I walked 5 blocks north to Antique Taco which is located on the bright, sunny corner of Milwaukee Avenue and Wood.
Antique Taco is helmed by Chef Rick Ortiz and his wife Ashley who are serving up tacos which represent his Mexican heritage with a Midwest flare. I have avoided this place on the busy weekends as it is very popular and can be quite noisy. That said, this chilly Taco Tuesday afternoon was the perfect day to stop in for their Garlic Shrimp Taco with cauliflower elote, crispy kale and basil avocado salsa.
I really loved this taco. There was enough garlic to satisfy my spicy palate and the veggies were incredibly flavorful and crunchy. A very happy flavor explosion in my mouth 🙂
Antique Taco offers several interesting meat, fish and veggie options, as well as agua frescas, Margaritas, beer and desserts. A special note is that Bang Bang Pie shop’s Key Lime Pie is one of their menu items. You don’t want to miss that, people! I am a huge fan of Bang Bang Pie!
So, whether you are gearing up for your next Taco Tuesday or just looking to get your taco fix on any other day, stop in at Belly Shack and Antique Taco. Stay awhile and explore the Humboldt Park and Wicker Park neighborhoods while working off your meals 🙂
Belly Shack is located at 1912 N. Western Avenue
Antique Taco is located at 1360 N. Milwaukee Avenue.
In keeping with the spirit of Feeding Off The Rails, I encourage you to leave your car at home and take the CTA Blue Line to Belly Shack and Antique Taco. Save on gas. Avoid traffic, road rage and parking. Reduce pollution. Don’t drink and drive!