The Chicago Death March proper started at 8am on May 5th, at the 18th Ave station on the El’s Pink Line. After a mere 30 minutes of walking (and one stop for pastries), we got to our first major food stop: Carnitas Don Pedro. The entire Pilsen neighborhood is filled with various Hispanic grocery stores and convenience stores, several of which had the pleasant smells of roasted pork coming out of them. But as we approached Carnitas Don Pedro, I could start smelling an intense roasted pork smell almost a block away. As we arrived at the fairly plain storefront of Don Pedro, it was clear, we’d arrived at the epicenter. Walking in the door, the first two things I noticed about Don Pedro is that the interior is cramped, and it’s warm. Right inside the door, it’s a fairly narrow aisle between two serving counters, one to the left with tacos and stews, and one to the right that’s purely for ordering the meat products. The latter of these is the really interesting one, since at any given moment the meat counter has a giant tray of chicharrónes, the wall behind it has an impressive array of chorizo hanging up, and the carving station in the front window a giant pile of carnitas. And when I mean giant, I mean giant, with probably 60-80 pounds of meat on it (see below)…
Where Offbeat Eats has been:
After stopping for a break and some pizza in Greenwich Village, the Death March then proceeded east to Greene Street to work our way south to Church St and the WTC site (and then on to Battery Park, finishing the nearly 20 mile hike). This wasn’t completely planned (early routes had us traveling down Broadway), but this ended up working out quite well, since we happened across a Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream Truck on Greene between Spring and Prince. This wasn’t the first Van Leeuwen truck we spotted, there had been another over by the High Line, but this time everyone was in the mood for a short ice cream break. Van Leeuwen serves a number of premium ice cream flavors, with a nice thick, creamy ice cream base. Flavors run from the standard chocolate/vanilla/strawberry (although all are naturally flavored), with several nut- and spice-based flavors as well, including pistachio, hazelnut, and ginger.