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Last Saturday, I ate an entire chicken on my own.

Did I feel guilty over this case of gastronomical gluttony? Apparently not, because I did the same thing the very next day, adding a heaping helping of rice, macaroni salad and tortillas to complete my slide into a carnivorous dark side.

What caused this tumble into a mysterious, cluck-cluck netherworld? A visit to Abarrotes Aguiliar, a Mexican grocery store at 1001 Court St., that's what!

Each weekend, an elderly man with a ready smile, a spiffy-looking cowboy hat and limited understanding of the English language, takes over a grill located outside of the store. 

For much of the day, he will man the grill, moving chicken around in order to ensure they are cooked to a perfect, fall-off-the-bone tenderness. 

It costs $10 for a box of to-go, fresh-off-the-grill, chicken. Add another fiver if you want a celery-heavy macaroni salad, buttery rice, red and green salsa, along with a sleeve of mini-tortillas that come in handy for impromptu tacos.

Word to the wise: shell out the extra five spot. I barely made it to my car before getting handsy with some chick meat that was nestled inside a soft tortilla blanket.

ALL HAIL THE ABARROTES!

There is something very comforting about walking into a neighborhood abarrote -- the Spanish term for grocery store.

In addition to stocking most food store items, a customer can also expect to see a well-stocked produce section of hard-to-find fruits and veggies. Many will also have large meat counters with real-life butchers to assist consumers with a desire to gobble up things that roamed, swam or moo-ed in the recent past.

The cool thing about abarrotes are the vast array of Mexican baked goods, packaged meals and grab-to-go options that you can't get anywhere else.

EAT-IN, TAKE-HOME OR GOBBLE UP BETWEEN STOP LIGHTS

However, the best part about abarrotes are the add-on taquerias that are usually located in the back of the store. 

Now, I know what you're thinking. Plenty of grocery stores have their own coffee shops or cafes nowadays.

True, but few chain stores can hold a candle to taquerias that combine fresh ingredients plus pass-down-for-generations family recipes.

You won't find anything fancy at an abarrote taqueria. Instead, you'll have a selection of comfort food faves like tacos, burritos and tortas.

NEW COCK ON THE BWAK-BWAK!

Sometimes, you'll discover an item that will knock your socks off. This was the case with Abarrotes Aguilar's grilled chicken.

Most days, you won't notice any distinct aromas around the mid-city store. Yet on Saturdays and Sundays, the air is teeming with the intoxicating perfume of grilled meat.

This aroma, alone, can make a person salivate. Getting your mitts on some freshly-grilled chicken seems positively primal.

None of this is a bad thing. It is totally OK to get in touch with your inner caveman when scarfing down this mad array of poultry parts.

After contemplating the reality of eating two entire chickens over two days, I thought I'd feel like the Big Bad Wolf from a children's fairy tale.  

That was not the case at Abarrotes Aguilar. Instead, I began contemplating another visit the very next weekend.

If this is the carnivorous dark side, I'm glad it's lined with grilled chicken and plenty of salsa! 

  

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