The neon lights and bright colors at Grande Jake's Fresh Mexican Grill's Chicago-area hubs hint at the menu's dedication to spicy eats. Chefs scoop grilled steak, chorizo, and chicken into burritos, then douse them in melted chihuahua cheese and salsa ranchera. Homemade tamales burst with pork or chicken, and the pollo asada al carbon tops a 12-ounce char-grilled chicken breast with mole or green sauce. Refried beans, spanish rice, and chips serve as supporting actors to entrees.
The Chicagoland Bowling Proprietors Association has offered patrons ball-rolling entertainment with numerous local member centers for more than three decades. Over the course of two games (up to a $4 value each), hole-bearing balls can spend at least 20 frames gracefully gliding across waxed planks and toppling tiptoeing pins, or alternately fall victim to the gutters' tempting embrace. No matter which of the 28 participating locations patrons decide to patronize, their toes will be stylishly covered in a pair of rental shoes (up to a $4 value) that work to minimize bipedal friction and maximize the uniformity of spontaneous song-and-dance numbers.
Mago, which is Spanish for magician, drafted chef Juan Luis Gonzalez to craft authentic Latin and Mexican dishes that “dazzle” diners, according to the Daily Herald. The menu surveys both traditional and updated dishes, including three kinds of ceviche, empanadas stuffed with seasoned meats, and complex moles. Beyond the main dishes, the chef experiments with sucrose in desserts such as chocolate molten cake with chipotle ice cream, as well as a cantina menu highlighted by margaritas, mezcals, and mojitos served in glass sombreros.
All too often, embracing authenticity means sacrificing creativity, but the chefs in San Gabriel Mexican Café’s kitchen strive to incorporate both. They infuse classic tuna ceviche with bites of mango and passion fruit, melding tropical sweetness into the savory dish. They busily wield mortars and pestles all day to grind guacamole to order, while their ovens churn out a continuous stream of fresh-baked tortillas. Those tortillas enwrap tacos, enchiladas, and fajitas, but the chefs’ true specialties lie elsewhere on the menu. They enrich the flavor of pablano-chile sauced chicken with ground huitlacoche, an earthy, sweet fungus that grows on corn. They heartily recommend the molcajete, a traditional bowl made from volcanic stone and filled with stewed meat, three chile salsa, and cactus leaf.
Since 1979, a collection of family chefs has filled El Torero Restaurant & Bar's dining room with the aromas of authentic Mexican cuisine. Equipped with a catch of fresh ingredients, chefs drizzle chicken with special mole, green, and garlic sauces, and broil prime skirt steak before topping it with zucchini or poblano peppers. In the construction of their fleet of specialty enchiladas, cooks sauté shrimp and melt savory cheeses before en-rainbowing the whole ensemble with colorful veggies.
Outside the kitchen, bartending brethren supplement bites with margaritas forged from 100% agave tequila, and fruit cocktails concocted from the likes of Curacao and amaretto. Tall, vibrant purple booths cradle patrons more effectively than a robotic grandmother, and floor-to-ceiling windows illuminate gentle pastel-yellow walls.
It began with three sisters leaving their home in the San Luis Potosi region of Mexico. For their trip, the trio packed up their all their belongings, their arsenal of traditional Mexican recipes, and the desire to prosper in their new home of Chicago. They named their new venture El Jardin, which was quite prophetic as their little taqueria grew faster than most gardens, and now they serve authentic Central Mexican cuisine at numerous sites around Chicago under the management of the next generation.
The staff still specializes in tender carne asada, which is so popular the restaurant offers to ship it in vacuum-sealed packs to customers’ homes. The carne asada also appears in the shop’s superburrito dinners, fajitas, and quesadillas, as well as other traditional meats such as tilapia, chorizo, chicken, and shrimp. Chefs begin crafting the fare as early as breakfast and help clients celebrate late into the night with their classic and specialty margaritas that feature more than 40 styles of tequila.