Saturday, September 5, 2009

Belated tacos

Frontera Fresco
Macy's Old Orchard, Skokie, IL

Hungry from a day of apartment furniture shopping, my dad and I stopped at Frontera Fresco for a quick bite. The tacos are new to the gourmet Mexican cafe's menu, but my confidence in founder Rick Bayless' restaurants left me assured that these tacos would be good tacos.
I ordered the chicken chorizo taco and the chipotle shrimp. The chorizo was more chili-like in consistency -- ground meat in a very smoky chipotle-esque sauce. Unlike my previous disappointment with chili tacos, this chicken chorizo was very tasty. The shrimp taco was lighter than the chorizo and the Frontera taco sauce, melted chihuahua cheese, lime, and avocado that accompanies each taco made this particular shrimp taco a summery delight. I questioned the freshness of the shrimp because it did taste more fishy than my previous shrimp experiences. However, with enough salsa the fishy taste blended in with all the others. My guess is for ease of preparation these were frozen shrimp. My favorite part: the corn tortillas. So delicious -- warm, soft (but not mushy), and flavorful.

The Frontera Fresco Sandwicheria's are located at Macy's in Skokie and Chicago, IL and San Francisco, CA. Too bad they are not more prevalent! I really liked my tacos.

Baja Fresh
5716 W. Touhy Ave, Niles, IL

Day Two of operation apartment move in and, of course, I wanted tacos for lunch. My mom and I reached the point of dire hunger and stopped at the first Mexican place we could find, Baja Fresh. I knew it was a chain but posted throughout the fast-food Mexican joint were signs stating "No MSG....No Lard", I figured it couldn't be too bad. I ordered the carnitas and steak 2 taco combo and then indulged in the salsa bar complete with mango salsa, roja hot salsa, verde mild salsa, and pico de gallo. I was also VERY impressed by the hot sauce selection -- Tapatio and Chiholula (my two favorites).

The tacos came as a whole taco plate with rice and beans. I was not crazy about the rice and beans and the tacos were pretty simple--meat, cilantro, onion. For a fast food taco it was impressive. A quick fix for my hunger that left me satisfied. And there were plenty of healthy options for the non-taco Baja Fresh diner. Plus they seem to be all over the place.