Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my!

Lincoln Park Zoo
2001 N. Clark St
Chicago, IL

For weeks now I have been planning a Chicago Taco Adventure. Realizing that there are no good tacos in Evanston, I now must venture into parts of Chicago to get my taco fix.

This adventure is still in the planning stages, so I was very excited (and surprised) when I came across tacos at the Lincoln Park Zoo.

After observing polar bears, meerkats, penguins, flamingos, lions, leopards, and monkeys enjoy their dinner my stomach was growling for some food of my own. At first I was hesitant to go into the usually over-priced tourist trap food court, but the sign pointing the direction to the entrance was very enticing. It listed the cuisines available in the food court and immediately "Mexican" caught my eye. I rushed in and jumped in line to get my tacos.

I orderd the taco platter and asked for a combination between chicken and beef. They were very official in warming up the corn tortillas and crafting the taco so that the wetter ingredients (pico de gallo, salsa etc) did not go in first -- they understood how disastrous a messy taco could be.

The chicken taco was delicious! I was afraid the meat would be too stew-like, but it tasted quite fresh and added a nice level of dimension to the taco. I was not as big of fan of the beef taco -- the ground beef was similar to what you would find in a "taco kit" you buy at the supermarket. Rather than ruin the taco experience, I scraped the beef out of the tortilla and made a meatless taco full of cheese, lettuce, salsa and sour cream. Also, the great thing about the taco platter is it came with rice and beans on the side. A full meal!

I left the food court very satisfied with my taco find and my dire craving for comida mexicana is somewhat satiated.

Stay tuned for the epic Blocho's Tacos Hit Chicago post. Coming soon!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Down with the Chains!

711 Church Street
Evanston, IL

I do not like Chipotle. I never have. And that was even before eating there. My biggest gripe with the Mexican-style chain restaurant is I believe it drove Burritoville, a NY-only more authentic version of Chipotle, out of business.

Despite my feelings against Chipotle, I let me friends Samantha and Lisa convince me to try it. They are Chipotle fanatics. They crave Chipotle the way I crave Mexican food -- always.

After a disappointing Northwestern University football game, I walked with Samantha and Lisa to Chipotle to see what all the hype was about. Carnitas have become a favorite taco flavor of mine throughout this journey, so I decided to continue the tradition and perhaps add another favorite carnitas taco joint to my list.

I have decided I need to take the "only hard corn tortilla shell" sign as a warning.

The shells were flavorless and even a little stale, the meat was over-spiced, the guacamole was tasteless--boring and flat, and I could barely taste the cheese (which I was hoping would mask the bad the rest of the taco embraced). After finishing one and one half of the three tacos my stomach was already hurting and I knew I would not be satisfied.

Sorry, Sam and Lisa, Chipotle does not make the cut for good ol' authentic Mexican tacos.