Archive for the tag “Tacos”

D.S. Tequila Company

WHAT: D.S. Tequila Company
WHERE: 3352 N. Halsted St.

OUR RATING: Skip It!

(dstequila.com)

(dstequila.com)

Tacos. Tequila. Outdoor patio. This all sounds quite dandy, especially when D.S. Tequila Company serves up half-priced food on Mondays and All-you-can-eat tacos on Thursdays for ten bucks. But don’t let the specials fool you – this Lakeview taco/burger/tequila joint is not so special.

(dstequila.com)

(dstequila.com)

Adam: I understand, I’m spoiled. I like my food hot and good, my drinks cold and interesting and my ambiance beautiful and intoxicating. I’ve been to taco joints all over the city, and whereas Bullhead Cantina and Antique Taco stand out as highlights, D.S. Tequila Company might as well start with a different set of letters. Unfathomably small portions, and a taste that’s not much to write home about, you can certainly boycott this place to your heart’s content.

Chicken Fajita Taco and Coffee Steak Taco

Chicken Fajita Taco and Coffee Steak Taco

I started out with a chicken fajita taco. Simple is best, right? In this case, completely wrong. This grilled chicken was as dry as a bone, accompanied by a smattering of refried beans and queso fresco that was almost undetectable. I slathered on hot sauce because I would rather have my mouth burning like the Savannah than consigned to the dry depths of Death Valley. Next, sampling the steak taco with trepidation, I was slightly surprised. This taco is decent, but that may have more to do with the coffee spice rub than the steak. And at $3.89 for one measly sample size, you might as well go to a more upscale place and enjoy yourself a little.

Jalapeno Slaw & Elote Corn Hash

Jalapeno Slaw & Elote Corn Hash

As for sides, they are wildly disappointing. Jalapeno Slaw sounds really great, but when the mayonnaise overpowers even the slightest hint of jalapeno, I wonder why I am going to a Mexican restaurant at all, and not just buying slaw and dumping giardiniera on it at home. Trust me, the homemade recipe would be hotter.

Tangibly dreadful fare at shockingly inflated prices, D.S. Tequila needs to move over for more reputable competitors. Seriously, it’s like they’re trying to cheat you here.

Tequila Shrimp Taco & Grilled Fish Taco

Tequila Shrimp Taco & Grilled Fish Taco

Alicia: Being big into seafood, I was super excited to try some fish and shrimp tacos here. D.S. Tequila’s grilled fish taco served me alright, with jalapeno cole slaw and spicy aioli. There was plenty of sauce and a good amount of bite, but the mayonnaise in the coleslaw kind of drowned out the rest of the taco. Actually, coleslaw was most of the taco, with a frighteningly-small serving of grilled fish hidden somewhere in there.

(dstequila.com)

(dstequila.com)

With these lukewarm feelings I then attempted the tequila shrimp taco with red cabbage, pineapple salsa and spicy aioli. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, this taco was basically three pieces of shrimp in a corn tortilla with some raw red cabbage. Pineapple salsa? Spicy aioli? Pretty non-existent, and really just some diced pineapple. Tequila? Yeah…not sure that was in there either.

(dstequila.com)

(dstequila.com)

Ultimately, I found each of these tacos pretty underwhelming, with little to no love given to the food inside the tortillas, let alone the dry and boring tortillas themselves. I was even more disappointed with elote corn hash. The name sounds fun, but really I was just served a bowl of corn and some type of light cream with some crumbled queso fresco. It tasted like cream corn, but even less flavorful. It was pretty horrific, and gives elote a bad name.

(dstequila.com)

(dstequila.com)

Final Thoughts: If we hadn’t been lucky enough to get in on this food on a Monday (i.e. we paid half-price), I think we would have been in an uproar to pay full price for what we got. With mediocre food, sub-par service, and a forgettable ambience, D.S. Tequila Company is definitely a place you can skip over if you want some good Mexican food. Sure, the outdoor patio is alright when the weather is nice, but a park bench will do you just as good.

Antique Taco

WHAT: Antique Taco
WHERE: 1360 N. Milwaukee Ave.

OUR RATING: Do It!

(antiquetaco.com)

(antiquetaco.com)

In its tiny Wicker Park location, Antique Taco, from husband-and-wife team Rick and Ashley Ortiz, nestles at the corner of Milwaukee and Wood, inviting customers into its cozy, vintage space, complete with rustic long tables for communal eating and deep oak tones. It’s a cute space and somewhat ‘homey,’ and while always buzzing, still provides a relatively chill atmosphere for any type of group. A very long fast-moving line marks this place out as a popular spot with the locals, who seem to brave the sometimes inflated prices for a little bite of Old Mexico.

(antiquetaco.com)

(antiquetaco.com)

Adam: Antique Taco is simple food done well. With a purposefully limited menu of only five tacos (however, with other goods on offer as well, from your typical guacamole to more unique options such as cheese curds), you don’t have to endlessly skim through reams of paper to locate your desired dish. I thought it best to try two of their meatier options: the grilled rib-eye and chicken tinga tacos. Both were excellent, but in quite unique ways. Each order comes with two tacos and ample toppings.

(antiquetaco.com)

Rib-eye Tacos

Beef tacos are somewhat of a staple for me – if you can prepare this correctly, then you’re on the right track. Antique Taco’s rib-eye tacos, with caramelized poblano peppers, onions, cheese whiz (yes, this works!) and fresh cilantro are smoky and delicious, tasting like they just came off a roaring barbeque. The fresh cilantro was the strongest flavor in this one, but I also detected heavy spicing that doesn’t seem to discernibly come from anywhere, so I must assume that the meat was specially prepared.

(antiquetaco.com)

Chicken Tinga Tacos

But, my favourite tacos of the night were surely the chicken tinga tacos, complete with savory shredded chicken, hot sauce, queso, carrot and celery pickle, el rancho crema fresca and fresh cilantro. Spicy, almost to the point of being hot, while also exceptionally creamy, the flavor profile was somewhat hard to pin down, but at once perfectly singed and soothed the palate in such a way as to be wonderfully complex and mouthwatering. If you have to get just one taco, get the chicken tinga!

(antiquetaco.com)

Market Mushroom Tacos

Alicia: One look at Antique Taco’s menu and I knew I was going to try the Market Mushroom tacos. The two warm corn tortillas encased meaty sauteed mushrooms, crunchy salty pumpkin seeds, fresh and spicy arugula, bitingly flavorful purple onion and radish, and a smoked onion cream that cut through all of these flavors with a beautifully creamy finesse. The perfect pairing was obviously the purple onion with the savory onion cream, making me want to keep coming back bite after delicious bite.

(antiquetaco.com)

Maple Farm Duck Enchiladas

Unfortunately, the Maple Farm Duck Enchiladas were much less successful. After ordering at the register, I was notified that the enchiladas were fried, but since I had already gotten my hopes up, I thought I’d still try them. What came to the table was definitely not an order of enchiladas, but of flautas, and I felt angry and embarrassed for Antique Taco in their failed nomenclature. As I dug into the fried tortillas I definitely enjoyed the savory duck meat, but with all the accoutrements on top (cream, lettuce, etc), I failed to pick out what they tried to sell as peanut butter mole and blackberry crema fresca. Ultimately, this was a very sorry dish, and something I would never order again, as their tacos are the clear winner here.

Overall, Antique Taco is fun, and I really enjoyed the sticks accompanying each dish which identified what I was eating, as well as the fun jar of complimentary gum for a post-meal refreshment. Yes to their tacos, no to their fried enchiladas.

(antiquetaco.com)

(antiquetaco.com)

Final Thoughts: A great place to grab a few tacos, we would definitely come back here, especially to try their rosemary margarita (tequila, fresh lime juice, fresh orange juice and rosemary simple syrup) and of course to order one of their horchata milkshakes on a warm day (yet, which to choose is up in the air, as the joint offers up cinnamon, banana, almond, and vanilla varieties). Yum!

Bullhead Cantina

WHAT: Bullhead Cantina (Taco and Whiskey Bar)
WHERE: 1143 N. California Ave.

OUR RATING: Do It!

(bullheadcantina.com)

(bullheadcantina.com)

Interestingly, this particular eatery is west, rather than south, of the metaphorical border that is bourgeois Chicago. Yet its distinctive blend of hole-in-the-wall roadtrip interior design, artistic taco selection and hipster tunes beating through concealed speakers means that you will be enjoying more than just snacks at this cantina.

We decided to visit the Humboldt Park’s Bullhead Cantina on Thursday, because we’d heard that their epic 12 taco sampler, an array of three different taco morsels from their extensive menu, was only $12. Unfortunately, that doesn’t include the steak, brisket or tilapia, but who cares–this place is a winner. We had two guests with us, so we ordered two platters, and were able to try six different varieties of taco:

(yelp.com)

(yelp.com)

Beer Grilled Chicken – A Mexican classic, except this one is tossed in PBR with a hint of lime along with lettuce, tomato and sour cream. We recommend you drizzle it with a chimichurri sauce or the spicy lime sauce for a less traditional combination. Of all the tacos we tried, this is perhaps our least favorite, but the sauce makes up for most deficiencies in the preparation of the chicken.

Grits & Kale – While not your typical taco filling, or a filling for anything, really, these creamy stone ground grits were accompanied by sautéed kale in white wine, garlic and harissa, and a pineapple bourdon reduction. The grits were mouth-watering, but our biggest concern with these tacos was the severe lack of kale. The lack of veg in these impelled us to add a bunch more lettuce and pickled cabbage which accompanied our twelve tacos.

(chicago.seriouseats.com)

(chicago.seriouseats.com)

Taco de Avocado – The butter of the Incas is presented in a new light here, along with tomato, gypsy pepper (first time we’ve heard of that!), lettuce, grilled onion, and a topping of cheese and chile sour cream. It’s a rich one, but the eloquent spicing of the avocado creates a new type of experience worth the extra calories.

Marinated Grilled Portobello – These mushrooms were grilled to perfection, and laden with avocado, grilled red onion, roasted corn, rustic tomato sauce and finished with sour cream. Their texture was riveting and their smokiness intoxicating – especially when paired with their house chipotle sauce. This isn’t like anything you could get on Portobello Road.

(chicago.seriouseats.com)

(chicago.seriouseats.com)

Grilled Sweet Potato – We’ve seen these new-age tacos before, but these came with pickled cabbage, grilled red onion, roasted corn and a creamy lime and avocado sauce. Well, at least that’s what the menu said. However, we didn’t receive any corn and really, while perfectly tasty, these were particularly underwhelming.

Roasted Beets – The table favorite, these beets were tossed in a citrus reduction with grilled red onion, tomato, lettuce, cucumber, chile powder and shredded cheese. Decadent, simple, savory and sweet in all the right places.

What really made these tacos special was the hand-made corn tortillas, which were just the perfect thickness to hold up against all the food and sauces packed into them, but still melt in your mouth. After going through them all and still having fillings leftover, it was almost painful when we didn’t take our waitress up on her offer for more of these, but our stomachs were quite full enough already.

(yelp.com)

(yelp.com)

What we missed out most on, perhaps, was their huge whiskey selection, and we would definitely come back for their every day special, which for a measly $6 gets you one of their scrumptious tacos paired with a PBR tall boy and a shot of the whiskey of the day. And if we weren’t lucky enough to come back here on a Thursday, we would jump at the chance to try their steak and brisket tacos. We would probably drop the beer chicken, sweet potato and grits, but we’d never part with those beets and avocado.

(bullheadcantina.com)

(bullheadcantina.com)

Make sure you bring cash, because this place is so focused on the food, they forgot to bring along the credit card scanner. Service was brisk and consistent, although starters were seemingly offered as freebies (they are NOT), so make sure to check the menu before acquiescing to the server’s gracious offers.

You don’t always think of tacos, whiskey and Hot Chip going together, but Bullhead Cantina does this effortlessly and makes the trek out there completely worth it.

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