Tortilla Lunches At L'Patron And Masa Azul - Chicago

A tortilla-filled trek along Diversey Ave.

It's Monday, which means it's time to start planning the week's eating itinerary.

And boy, have we got a tortilla-packed one for you, nicely laid out along a three-block stretch of Diversey Avenue.

Step 1: Make a beeline to Logan Square, where the tiny, counter-service L'Patron has been grilling carne asada since December. The owner cut his teeth working with Rick Bayless, and it shows in details like roasted-serrano-chile aioli on batter-fried tilapia tacos ($2), and thick house-made tortillas.

The vegetarian taco ($2) was a surprise standout on a recent visit, that day overstuffed with sautéed spinach and garlicky roasted corn. Order a side of cebollitas ($1.80), grilled and salted scallions, to drape over each taco for added notes of sweet, savory and char.

Step 2: Head two blocks west to Masa Azul for birria in taco form ($9). Young chef Jonathan Zaragoza comes from a family of birria makers, and he butchers whole Kilgus Farmstead goats in-house. The meat is braised overnight in chicken stock and banana leaves (maguey leaves are traditional in Jalisco, but they're unavailable here), then pulled, tossed with red mole and roasted.

It's served with cilantro, lime, minced onions and Zaragoza's excellent tortillas, made with fresh masa brought in every other day.