You might think that I could find a million places grilling arrachera for steak tacos. But in a decade of looking, I had only gotten close once... at a mainly chicken place.
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[Photographs: Titus Ruscitti] The torta sandwich is as common in Mexican restaurants these days as tacos or burritos. Rick Bayless's Xoco made them fashionable, but they've always been a lunchtime favorite of Chicago's Mexican community. Dona Torta in Little...
With Lent in full swing and my love of tacos a year-round thing, now is as good a time as any to put together a fish taco roundup. Since we already have a solid fried fish taco list, I set out to find 11 options that avoided the fryer completely.
I'd like to welcome Las Quecas to Chicago, which is the first outlet of the quesadilleria outside of Cancun. I stopped into try the specialty of the house, and also got the chance to talk to chef Ambrocia about what led to his decision to open here.
All you need is steak with a couple of cebollitas (grilled green onions), which seems to be what all these steak combinations come down to.
To be honest, the menu isn't that much different from La Cocina, but its interior does look different, with a sleeker urban feel to it. So you'll see burritos, tortas, enchiladas, that sort of thing on the menu.
You want to know a good way to judge a Mexican restaurant? Try its caldos. I always like to keep an eye out over winter to see what's out there, and here are ten specific offerings to try as winter wears on.
El Huarache de Maria means "Maria's Slipper," and it specializes in the long freshly-made tortillas called huaraches, which here would seem to suggest that Maria wears a 27EEEE. So that's what the flor de la calabaza go on here, and combined with their smoky, robust refried beans, it's a first-rate version.
Alambres show up here and there in the Chicagoland. Exact preparation can vary by region and restaurant, but here the dish includes chopped meats, vegetables, and lots of cheese mixed together with bacon.
Whether talking with Jonathan or one of the other family members, I've always been struck by how much the collective family dynamic permeates the Zaragozas' food.
One of the hard things about finding good Mexican food is that signs typically promise things that are not literally true. The outside promises a pastor cone, but then all they do is grill marinated pork on a flat top. But some places still use a trompo.
Ever get menu fright? It's not when you're scared of ordering because nothing looks good, but when you're overwhelmed by the choices and worried you'll make the mistake of ordering the merely great when you want the incredible. That's how I feel every time I visit Frontera Grill.
Frankly, corn smut (otherwise known as huitlacoche) can look a little scary, because it's jet black and mushy, and an infected corn kernel doesn't always scream "eat me!" But in Mexico it's a delicacy, and what's good for Mexico is good for me.
They know what they're doing here with tamales, as they should since they have another Rosa's barely two blocks away on 55th.
I visited La Chilangueada to try one thing, but that plan changed fast. Now I'm kind of convinced that La Chilangueada is one of the best all-around taquerias in Chicago, especially on the North Side.
The food might not be the greatest in the world, but it brings back memories for me, plus you can tell your coworkers you ate a dish the size of your forearm for lunch.
Garcia's in Lincoln Square does a tidy takeout business through a separate, Western Avenue-facing entrance. It's nothing fancy, and that's precisely the point.
Before now, I had never even looked at the torta menu at Taco Joint. Why do that when their tacos are so consistently great? Turns out the tortas are worth checking out.
Though you can never quite predict what Belly Shack will next have on its menu (hot dogs, jibaritos, and chicken wings?), I've learned to just accept whatever the special is and order it. But the general excellence of the food here didn't prepare me for the flautas.
I recommend just digging into the most splendidly barbaric thing on the menu, the platter of shrimp sacrifice to the dining gods they call Charola de Langostinos (which just means, platter of shrimp).