News flash — the best taqueria is not on Cherokee Street. It's (gasp!) in Illinois! Mi Tierra, the unassuming Fairmont City outpost, serves up traditional Mexican fare in a setting that's part bodega, part butcher counter and all sublime. While taquerias have become about as ubiquitous as McDonald's and restaurants rush to put a fancy spin on humble street fare, Mi Tierra rests in quiet confidence, educating us on real Mexican food. The salsa and guacamole are spicy enough to make you sweat, and the menudo is always on for those who need to drown their sorrows. Mi Tierra isn't just a taqueria — the thinly pounded and breaded steak of the torta milanesa topped with avocado and mayonnaise is juicy fried goodness between two slices of bread, and the complex richness of the chicken mole is enough to make the trip worthwhile. However, the tacos at Mi Tierra are about as close to perfection one can find outside of Guadalajara. In the barbacoa, two fresh-made corn tortillas can barely contain the overstuffing of beef, whose juiciness necessitates napkins in order to maintain some dignity. For pork enthusiasts, the carnitas' crispy exterior and fat-enriched interior are positively transcendent. Now that the word is out, we will have to wait much longer for a booth. You're welcome.
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