Smile Politely

Bring in 2019 the right way with a bowl of birria at Maize

In what is now turning into an annual tradition, Maize at the Station will be showcasing some of the best ways to kick off your new year, and kick your hangover away, by serving up an array of traditional Mexican stews, designed for latter. 

Last year, I wrote about the pozole, which is an intensely flavored pork and hominy stew, traditionally, but can be served with chicken instead, and either rojo or verde. This year, it’s my deep recommendation that you try the birria which is a goat stew that is simmered for 12+ hours, and served with raw red onions, and for the brave, hot chili peppers. 

Here is a photo of it from a little stand in CDMX: 

If that doesn’t look appetizing, I understand. It doesn’t look appetizing to me either. But some times, the way food appears and the way food tastes doesn’t align. This is one of those times. I would state that birria is a top ten favorite dish for me, of all time. 

You can’t get it anywhere in Champaign-Urbana, ever, sadly. 

In our most recent BEST issue, I proclaimed Huaraches Moroleon to have the best Mexican breakfast in town, simply because they are really the only game in town. Fact is, it is very good, and I enjoy it very much. But Armando Sandoval at Maize has proven time and time again to be a top tier chef, and a true champion of classic Mexican cuisine, and in particular, foods from the capital city, such as his antojitos and yes, his morning after stews. 

This year, the menu is stacked: 

  • Pancita: Menudo (Tripe Soup)
  • Pozole: Maize Stew
  • Chilaquiles: Handmade fried tortilla mixed with eggs in a green sauce
  • Birria: Goat Stew
  • Carne en su Jugo: “Meat in its own juice” ask for a cup an be sure that you will follow with a bowl
  • Torta Ahogada: Drowned Sandwich: ghost pepper applied as requested!


  • Half price draft micheladas
  • Half price mimosas
  • Half price Bloody Marias

When I asked him why only New Year’s Day, he gave me a wink and a link to this song that I’ll share with you: 

He added: “One of my favorite lyrics [in the song] is “a comer pancita, con los Agachados, que vengo muy crudo AYYYYY!!!!!”  And every New Years day it becomes my theme song. So I figure if I am going to be cooking myself all these goodies, I might as well share it with my customers!”

Defiant, and still non-plussed, I asked him if we can expect anything listed here to stick around after January 1st, and the good news is that it just might. 

“Some of the items will stay right away and other we will add them for weekends to make sure they are fresh and good!”

So, that is great news for all of us who crave authentic Mexican food daily, hourly.

In any event, tomorrow, January 1st, 2019 Maize at the Station will open at 11 a.m. and serve all of the above, including their regular menu, and you should totally eat it all. 

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