La Unica's Hidden Eats

June 26 2007 - 8:00 AM

Sitting on Devon, steps from the culturally rich grocery store of Devon Market and Thai eats, I found myself wandering the aisles of La Unica. This is a quaint Cuban grocery shop full of ingredients native to Cuba and other latin countries alike. Countless tropical juices, black beans and guava pastes line the shelves starting my head thinking of dishes I could create with them. Frozen yucca, tamals and exotic fruits I’ve never heard of can be found within the freezer section. Ginger beer, bottled mojo and pineapple sodas stand in glass bottles.

Just when I start grabbing things to concoct a Cuban dinner, I walk
a few steps into a humble seating area. It’s a counter service eatery
with wonderful Cuban fare. Who knew this little Cuban gem was hiding
behind a small store front? Here in this section of the store, one will
find the best Cubano sandwich and a creamy mamey shake that might as
well take you back to Miami.

The Cubano sandwich is a perfectly toasted sandwich
filled with roasted pork, ham, pickle slices and swiss cheese with a
touch of mustard. The best part is that this toasted piece of savory
heaven is less than $4.

Now for those unfamiliar with mamey, its a melon that
looks similar to an avocado but the inside flesh is red. The melon’s
flavor is described as similar to pumpkin, a combination of pumpkin,
chocolate and almond, or a mixture of sweet potato, avocado and honey.
It’s a common fruit in South America and best used in desserts like
shakes. La Unica offers mamey shakes that are perfectly creamy and
refreshing. A definite must try for those looking for authentic Cuban

So next time you find yourself on the east side of Devon, take a
look inside La Unica and grab a meal in the back. They’ll be there
ready to offer you some Cuban eats, along with a little Columbian,
Peruvian and Mexican dishes too!

La Unica
1515 W. Devon
Chicago – Rogers Park