There are several Mexican restaurants along South Archer Avenue and west of Pulaski, but few are like Xocome Antojeria. They not only make the salsas, tortillas and quesadillas from scratch, but they only use premium ingredients, which are mostly seasonal.
It’s a little bit of Mexico City on the Southwest Side, where you can’t help but taste the passion behind a couple of family favorites.
Bertha Montes Garcia seems to always have a smile on her face. The somewhat shy owner of Xocome Antojeria, in the Archer Heights neighborhood on the Southwest Side, would rather be cooking than doing just about anything else. Her focus is the masa.
“We focus more on handmade masa products. We make tlacoyos, sopes, tamales, tacos,” said David Rodriguez, Bertha’s son.
Those tamales are made in giant steamers, while the tlacoyos are made to-order.
“Tlacoyo is an oval-shaped tortilla, and it’s stuffed with beans, certain parts of Mexico stuff it with lima beans or garbanzos. We choose to do it the way [like] we do it in Mexico City, which is very close to where my mother is from,” Rodriguez said.
While the tortilla cooks, they griddle a combination of steak and nopales. Nopales are soft cactus paddles cut into long strips. The beef, in this case, is about as high-quality as you can get for a snack shop.
“We use filet mignon. We grab whole tenderloins, we butcher them, and we use that as our taco meat,” Rodriguez said.
Once the cooked beef and nopales are placed on top of the tortilla, Montes Garcia adds shredded lettuce, white onions and tomatoes, plus a handful of crumbled queso fresco.
Another family favorite is the pambazo, which is a mega sandwich soaked in guajillo chiles. It begins with talera bread from Highland Baking.
“Traditionally they were using bread that was a day or two old, and they were dipping it in guajillo sauce and then searing it. [That] gives it a nice crust around it. That would steam, soften the bread,” he said.
Meanwhile, a combo of potatoes and chorizo are cooked on the flat top and combined. That gets stacked onto the bottom half of the chile-soaked bread, then lettuce, queso fresco and a healthy drizzle of sour cream to add some richness to balance the mild heat of chorizo.
“Traditionally it’s just chorizo potato, cheese and sour cream,” he said. “It’s what my mom raised us on,” Rodriguez said.
5200 S. Archer Ave.