Who doesn’t love an underdog story? While we traditionally celebrate the victory of the Mexican Army over the French Army in The Battle of Puebla with guac and margaritas, consider sweetening it up this year instead. From paletas and churros to sweet cream fruit cups and the infamous dorilocos, there are so many ways to taste your way through Cinco de Mayo. Savor the fun flavors of Mexico’s best treats at these amazing locations throughout Chicagoland.
Warm from the fryer, the cinnamon and sugar coated outer crunch combined with the cream-filled center make these churros a delightful treat. The fried dough may seem similar to treats you’ve had a carnival but it’s the freshness that make these treats worth the drive to either of Xurro’s locations. The churro cream filling is available in vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, cream cheese and a flavor of the day. Dulce de Leche is the Saturday flavor but let me also suggest you visit on a Thursday to try the guava. If sticky fingers and chocolate coated faces are more your speed, try the mini churros doused in chocolate and caramel sauce, which are finger friendly for the younger ones. Bring wipes!
If you’re a native Latinx from Chicago you fondly remember the ringing bells and loud voice bellowing, “PALETAS!” throughout your neighborhood. For those of you who don’t recall the majesty of chasing the paletero, I invite you to visit La Dulce Vida Neveria in Melrose Park. Be prepared for a sensory explosion of fun and fresh flavor combinations frozen into delectable popsicles, ice creams and fresh fruit treats. Come for the strawberry paletas but you’ll be back for the Chamango, a frozen mango ice cream swirled with a spicy sauce and the sweet cream fruit cups.
Looking for a hipster spin on paletas? Look no further than the fun and family friendly flavors of Gordo’s Homemade Ice Cream Bars. With two locations to serve you, you can experience their fun flavors and, brace yourself, toppings. Yes, we’re talking sprinkles, Oreos, pistachios and fruity pebbles to elevate their already uniquely flavored ice cream bars. You aren’t going to find the classic coconut or lime paletas at Gordo’s. You will be coming back, again and again, for Butter Pecan, Mango Cantaloupe and Orange Chile Spice.
Authentic and vibrantly inviting, welcome to the sensory overload that is La Michoacana Premium in Pilsen. Your eyes will have a hard time deciding between chocolate covered bananas, mexi-flavored ice creams, and fresh fruit sprinkled with chili powder or lime juice, to form a combination that forces your taste buds to evolve. You can also stop in to La Michoacana for an elote, nachos or a hot dog and fries, if you need a snack before indulging in sweets. La Michoacana Premium is just about a 10-minute walk from The National Museum of Mexican Art which has free admission daily and is open Tuesday-Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Make it a day in Pilsen.
If you’re looking for a semi-full immersion experience, Jimenez Carniceria on North Ave. is the place to visit. This Mexican mega-market offers a wide variety of authentic fare for you to take home and prepare, carry out or enjoy on site. The newest addition to the family-owned store is Cafeteria & Neveria Jimenez. Stop in to enjoy the flavorful paletas in coconut, mango or even cookies and cream. Try a made-to-order shake or step out of your comfort zone with the “Dorilocos,” Doritos piled with avocados, sour cream, cheese and hot sauce. But if iced coffee is more your flavor, they have that, too.
From Edgewater to Pilsen, there is a sweet Mexican treat awaiting to delight your family. Whether you choose a simply decadent coconut paleta or the sweet and spicy Chamango you’re sure to have a Cinco de Mayo to remember.