La Humita

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This tasteful Avondale restaurant serves South American cuisine in a contemporary atmosphere. The house specialty and namesake, la humita, is a traditional appetizer from Ecuador consisting of fresh corn and cheese, steamed inside a corn husk. Also offered are empanadas Chilenas, fried turnovers stuffed with meat, onions, eggs, olives and raisins and llapingachos, potato pancakes served with fried eggs, chorizo and avocado. For dessert, try the quimbolito,a pudding laced with cognac and raisins and steamed in a cornhusk; owners tell us they are the only restaurant that offers this in Chicago. El Balcon (the Balcony), the Latin lounge upstairs from La Humita, offers cocktails and a limited appetizer menu, plus free live music Thursday-Saturday nights.