Saturday, May 26, 2018

EXTRA: Are you sure foreigners are taking over everything in this nation?

I spent my Saturday afternoon in the Pilsen neighborhood, checking out the set-up along 18th Street and the Mole de Mayo festival.
McDonald's on a street named for Cesar Chavez, or ...
It’s an event intended to give various restaurants a chance to show off their special recipes for that uniquely Mexican dish – mole. That mix of the cocoa bean and assorted spices mixed into a sauce served atop chicken, turkey or other meats.
... mariachis playing in between Giordano's and Subway? Photos by Gregory Tejeda

IT HAPPENS TO be a personal favorite of mine, and I was anxious to try unique variations on the dish (which my mother often served atop chicken with rice).

But the part of the day that caught my attention was the ethnic and racial blend of people that turned out to what some people would want to believe is the ultimate Mexican neighborhood in Chicago.
Chato's for pasta, along with ...

Just as many white people of assorted ethnicities showed up and gave the mole a try. The fact that this one-time immigrant enclave that has been through so many ethnicities during Chicago’s history truly is going through gentrification.
... Memo's for hot dogs

For it seems there were so many mixtures of the old (being the Mexicans who have been a part of Pilsen since the 1950s) and the new (upper-scale individuals who like the idea of a city address not too terribly far from jobs downtown (it’s about a 15-minute ride from “the Loop” to the 18th Street CTA ‘el’ train platform).

I’M STILL TRYING to figure out the most off-beat sight I saw – the stage on 18th Street where I saw a female mariachi band perform, located in between Giordano’s and Subway franchise restaurants.

Or the McDonald's franchise located on Chicago's Cesar Chavez Street.
A faded Mexican mural on a barbecue joint

The conservative ideologues who would have you think that the foreigners, especially all those dreaded Mexicans, have “taken over” this country ought to see these sites. It would go a long way towards shutting them up – except that the ideologues usually don’t worry about having fact to back up their rhetorical trash.

I also couldn’t help but notice several restaurants in the neighborhood being operated – based on their names – by people of Mexican ethnic origins. But who are serving up most definitely un-Mexican foods.
Still sights w/in Pilsen ...

PASTA AND HOT DOGS, to be exact. Assimilation at work. Perhaps somebody figures that even Mexican-Americans are anxious for something else to eat, even though the ideologues might have inane thoughts about serving up burritos.

Now I know some people see these sights and they get scared. They’re afraid the white people are going to drive up the rents and make it too expensive for others to afford to live there.

Although there has to be a mid-ground we can reach between a neighborhood remaining an ethnic enclave and becoming the latest version of Lincoln Park – which itself was once a Puerto Rican neighborhood back in the days when Pilsen had an overflow of Czech immigrants and it made sense the neighborhood was named for one of the largest cities in what is now the Czech Republic.
... that I'm sure will manage to offend ...

It was pleasing to see so many interacting with good behavior.

I DIDN’T SEE any bad incidents, and in fact there wasn’t even a heavy police presence.

I saw two lone officers walking along 18th Street, and they said it was a pleasant afternoon. Which is something I'm sure the ideologues will refuse to believe can occur in an ethnic enclave in Chicago. We are, after all, the "murder capital" of the country -- even though it's really St. Louis, with Baltimore and New Orleans close behind.
... the ideologue idiots amongst us

Not even the presence of $5 beers got people to misbehave. Perhaps it was the presence of all the food that kept people from acting up. Or at the very least, kept us all stuffed to the point where none of us would have felt compelled to start up any trouble.

Although I have to admit to one thing – despite not being displeased with anything I ate or drank, I still have to say; none of the moles compared to the way my mother use to make them.


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