Places We Like: La Mexicana Taqueria

Where:

La Mexicana Taqueria
815 W 35th St Chicago IL, 60609
(773) 890-1090
Website

My number one complaint when I moved to the Midwest was that there wasn’t enough good Mexican food. Seriously. There are generally two options: overpriced and decent or cheap and terrible. I don’t understand what makes it terrible, but people in Evanston just couldn’t figure out how to do a good salsa or, really, any Mexican sauce. So when Andrew and I moved to an area close to the Mexican neighborhoods of Chicago, I was so excited. I could actually order good Mexican food and not have to make it myself? Really? I felt like life in Chicago was finally becoming the best it could be.

We ordered online from La Mexicana Taqueria before and really enjoyed the steak and chicken tacos. But, there’s such a difference between food that’s been sitting for 15-30 minutes while on its way to you and food straight out of the oven, so we decided to actually visit this place a week or two ago.

SERVICE

The workers were incredibly nice and did a nice job of hitting the right balance between giving good service and checking in too much. They made sure we were taken care of, but also left us to enjoy our dinners.

DRINKS

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I got a pina colada, because there was a $5 special for them, and Andrew got a margarita, because he loves his margaritas. It came in such a cute glass! The pina colada was a little too sweet for me, and I made a note not to order just based on specials next time, because I probably would have been happier with a margarita.

Andrew: The margarita was good, but nothing super special. I will say that the amount of alcohol in it was substantial.

DINNER

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I ordered a steak burrito suizo — with rice and beans, of course, because it’s my favorite part of Mexican food. I know that’s silly, since they aren’t very complicated, but they’re delicious. The dinner was so good — really, everything I look for in a Mexican meal. The burrito had really nice cilantro and onion flavors cooked into the steak. Delicious. Of course, along with the rice and beans, it was way too much food for me to finish, so I had to save half of it. Luckily, when heated up in an oven for a bit, it holds up great as leftovers. As someone who frequently gets overexcited about food and has a small stomach that can’t fit a lot of food in it, the quality of how it holds up for the next day is incredibly important to me.

Also, the price was incredibly reasonable. $9.95 for my dinner. Not too bad.

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Andrew ordered the carne asada — his favorite Mexican dish. It came cooked medium rare and he thought it was delicious. I swear, we hardly talked during dinner, because both of us were shoveling food into our mouths and thoroughly enjoying the experience. Andrew didn’t take his eyes off that carne asada until it was finished. I took a piece and also thought it was yummy.

His dinner was a bit more expensive, and I can’t remember exactly how much it was, but I think it was around $15 or so. For what is basically a steak dinner, incredibly well-priced.

In short, I believe this is very much going to be our favorite local Mexican place. The food is delicious, reasonably priced, and the people were really nice to us when we went there. They also have good rotating specials, which makes trying new things exciting, since we can eventually branch out to something we don’t usually eat and not have to spend a lot to do so. Guess we’ll have to go back often so we can try everything. 🙂

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Food We Like: Chilaquiles

We always joke about how we only ever make two kinds of food: Italian and Mexican. Andrew learned how to cook from his Italian grandma, and I may be as white as they come, but I grew up in Southern California and my family has a serious love for tacos, enchiladas, burritos, etc. So of course, one of my favorite breakfast foods is chilaquiles.

Chilaquiles
It doesn’t look the most appetizing, but I swear it’s delicious

I don’t know what it is about having tortilla chips smothered in enchilada sauce in the morning, but it just starts my day off right. Andrew’s been intrigued by my love for this food (I order it whenever we go to brunch and it’s an option), so we tried our hand at making our own and it’s become a weekend breakfast staple.

Ingredients:

  • Stale tortilla chips OR stale corn tortillas that have been fried in some vegetable oil* (see tips for details)
  • Green chili enchilada sauce (it can also be made with red, but we prefer green)
  • Black beans
  • Fried eggs
  • Cheese — most recipes call for white, but we use colby jack more often than not
  • Sour cream
  • Whatever else you feel like adding, this isn’t a fancy frou-frou dish

Directions:

  • Depending on what you use for tortillas, step 1 is either cutting up your tortillas into manageable pieces and frying them in oil OR putting your tortilla chips in a pan, pouring in green chili sauce and cooking them over medium heat while mixing them around the sauce. Add the beans shortly after and continue mixing them around. Do this until it’s warmed through and everything is fully coated.
  • Step 2: While you’re doing this, crack a couple of eggs into a pan and fry them.

Fried Eggs

  • Step 3: Turn off the heat and add the eggs, once they’re done cooking.
  • Step 4: Put the grated cheese on the mixture. Let it melt just a little bit, and then dish it out however you wish. (Since it’s just me and Andrew, we put it in a big bowl and go family style.)
Cheese on Chilaquiles
This one’s for Andrew.
  • Step 5: Add spices or whatever you want. We just add in some sour cream.

Sour Cream Chilaquiles

*TIPS FOR TORTILLAS/TORTILLA CHIPS*

This thing is pretty heavy and coated in lots of sauce, so you’ll want tortilla chips that won’t disintegrate easily. That means no thin Tostitos or anything like that. Get some nice, thick chips with some weight.