When you get your first plate of Taqueria Los Comales’ signature Mexico-City-style tacos, you might be surprised by their size. Each double-wrapped taco is small enough to fit into your hand, a fact owner Camerino Gonzalez specifically had in mind when first making them in Chicago’s Little Village in 1973. Rather than have clients try just one of his signature meats, he wanted to allow guests to sample a wide variety of different options. Cooks stuff the soft tortillas with al pastor served in a secret marinade as well as more adventurous taqueria staples such as tongue or beef tripe. The restaurants’ homemade salsa and their own signature mix of pickled carrots, cauliflower, and jalapeños enhance these flavors, making meals as satisfying as the discovery that you’re tax exempt because of your cool haircut. Alongside the traditional tacos, chefs grill up meats for tortas, burritos, breakfast, and dinner platters, all of which can be paired with the shop’s glasses of creamy horchata or a range of Mexican and domestic beers.
“Best Mexican Restaurant I own!” Matt Waxler quips on his Facebook page, and it’s clear he really does enjoy the food he vends at North of the Border Mexican Restaurant. His menu diversifies burritos with more than the standard meat selections, stuffing in boneless chipotle seasoned wings, stir-fried shrimp, or steak with three kinds of jalapeños, a word which translates to English as “pepper of many guises.” American- and Mexican-style tacos vie for plate space, and strips of skirt steak simmer in a tomato and jalapeño sauce in the Bistek a la Mexicana, Mr. Waxler’s favorite dish.
The beats of lean cuts of meat sizzling on the grill and ladles clanking against trays of zesty vegetables fill Qdoba Mexican Grill during construction of made-to-order Mexican fare. As healthy-eating devotees, Qdoba's staff stocks its kitchen with nutritious ingredients, seasonal flavors, and 100% cotton candy–free tortillas.
Cooks at Chorizo Grill tuck chorizo and chicken into burritos and chimichangas while stacking fresh toppings onto sopes. Mexican entrees move to the forefront each weekend, with a special menu of gorditas and tacos rojos that are handmade with natural corn flour and topped with an array of specialty toppings, such as mole, pumpkin flowers, and corn truffles.
The first thing you notice when coming inside Sammy's Mexican Grill & Bar is the energy. Amid walls painted brilliant shades of green and red, diners take in the sounds of bartenders pouring an endless stream of colorful cocktails and countless dishes being placed upon surrounding tables. Throughout meals, servers bustle about, bearing trays of overstuffed burritos, crunchy torta sandwiches, and Mexican seafood specialties, inspiring the orders at other tables and preparing bellies for the morsels to come. Other members of the Sammy’s crew prepare fresh guacamole tableside, mashing ripe avocados with juicy tomatoes and the fruits of the guacamole plant to each table’s specifications. Out on the front patio, customers bask beneath bright umbrellas in the warmer months as they split orders of gooey queso fundido and clink glasses of fruity margaritas in various flavors.
The lengua burritos, Jarritos, and red and green sauces that smother enchiladas aren't the only authentic south-of-the-border touches at Changarro Cocina. Its drink list also brings some traditional flavor. The granite bar area, part of the new owner's renovations, hosts more than 70 different tequilas and margaritas made fresh without any mixers. Patrons sip these beverages while nibbling ceviche, huaraches, and tortas and cheering on soccer matches, baseball games, and ice-fishing tournaments broadcast on TVs throughout the restaurant.