New @ New, New Maxwell Street Market

June 15, 2009 at 9:03 am

We call it Maxwell Street even though it has been gone from Maxwell Street for many many years.  The New Maxwell Street thrived for a while on Canal north and south of Roosevelt, best en-capsuled, of course here and here.  The emergence of Whole Foods and the lot on Canal pushed the market a few blocks to the West to Des Plaines.  The New, New Maxwell St. Market may remain a source of dubious dvds, rusty tools and tons o’ tube socks, but for chowhounds like me, it remains a place for stellar eating.  Pretty much all of the faves from the old new Maxwell remain: Arroyo’s bins of guts (e.g., buche); Oaxcan tamals, the pupusa lady.  Still, I am always on the look out for something new.  Plus, I’m always on the look out for something deliciously non–local.

New at the New, New Maxwell, cochinita pibil tacos.  At a stand near the southern end of the market, a couple of guys sold this speciality of the Yucatan, a slow cook, marinated pork put into tacos.  Traditionally steamed in a pit on banana leaves and served with pink cebollos escabeche, this version was neither, more of a pork stew with plain onions and a very spicy but one note thin salsa.  Still, it was a nice addition to the Maxwell mix which is leans towards the redder meats as well as meats cooked on grills and griddles.

Much later in the summer and into the early fall, I can find local foods at Maxwell, and I stock up on all the peppers I can find.  This time of year, I skip the flats of Georgia peaches and other imported fresh fruits.  I have no conniptions, however, against the dried fruits.  The vendors at Maxwell have a way with chili powder, and the way they do that mango, or yesterday also, that pineapple, well, I hardly think twice about any local limitations.  I highly recommend you get your local strawberries, cherries and other fruits and the farmer’s markets, but your mangos, papaya, fava beans (habas), and other stuff at the New, New Maxwell Street as long as it is well covered in red dust.

The New, New Maxwell Street Market goes on Sundays, year round, rain or shine, from 7 AM to around 3 PM.