Broken English Taco Pub. Where were you in 2009?

 

Lonely nights in the Loop. Circa 2009.

On the day I moved to Chicago, I knew virtually nothing about the city. I found a place online in the Loop (downtown) that had an awesome roof deck, and was a short walk to work. I was sold. What I didn’t realize at the time (2009) was that the Loop was just about the most boring neighborhood in all of Chicago. It was practically a ghost town after 6:00 PM.

Neighborhood spots included a gourmet cheese & wine spot, a hot dog stand down the street, two Irish bars within stumbling distance, a decent buck-a-scoop Chinese place that inexplicably closed at 8 PM, and that was about it.

To make matters worse… there were no tacos to be found. Not just in the loop. No tacos anywhere. I mean, I heard there were places out in other neighborhoods, but nothing downtown. Without a car, and before Uber, those taco shops were super impractical. The few times I ventured out, I chose poorly. Nearly five years passed before I found a taco place in Chicago that I loved. Five years.

I found myself in my old stomping grounds a few weeks ago. Boy have things changed. The Loop is kind of happening now. As I walked past my old building at Lake and Wabash, I saw the most beautiful site. A taco place! A taco place that was like, 25 feet from my old front door. This same location was a crummy bagel shop back in the day.

I walked over to this place for lunch today. While I visited the Loop location, Broken English Taco Pub also has locations in Lincoln Park and Old Town. It’s not what I’d call an old school taco shop. More like a fancy taco and bar scene. I’m a fan of that kind of scene.

I can’t comment on the cocktails. It was a work day. But, the tacos are legit. I went with an order of the carnitas and an order of the fried chicken.

First off, the carnitas were delicious. Way too often, carnitas dry out and taste bland. These were juicy to the point of making a mess. Perfect. I was ready to anoint this as the best taco in Chicago until I tried the fried chicken taco. Think fish taco toppings, but with delicious fried chicken instead. Fantastic.

If this place had been around when I lived down the block, I’m not sure I would have ever moved. This is my new favorite taco shop in Chicago. Highly recommended.

 

 

Disruptive Ideas

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A couple years ago, an electric vehicle (EV) captured the overall win at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Ever since, I’ve been fascinated by this disruptive technology.

EVs have lots of advantages over internal combustion cars. They use less energy per mile. They offer great low-end torque, and they can be packaged to provide amazing levels of stability.

One huge disadvantage to them is the current state of battery technology. Today’s batteries are big, heavy, expensive, and somewhat unsafe.

Recently, a study was released about a new battery technology that would allow batteries to be smaller, lighter, cheaper, and most importantly, safer. Imagine your smartphone lasting a week without recharging. Imagine an affordable electric car with a 500 mile range. More importantly, imagine your recharge times to be safely shortened to the length of a traditional gas station fill-up. Continue reading “Disruptive Ideas”

The ebb and flow of a fever pitch

 

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In football, the snap of a ball creates a burst of energy… followed by a moment of rest and regrouping. Sure, the fever pitch that occurs during the action is what’s most exciting to watch. But it’s not the only part of the game that determines who wins and who loses.

As the whistle is blown, the referee winds a forty second play clock that lets both teams climb to their feet, regroup, change out some personnel, and call a play before returning to action. This downtime is when the announcers spew their opinions, cheerleaders rally the crowd, and when the audience at home dashes to the fridge for a refill.

No one off the field is really paying attention to the most important thing that is actually happening: That very short moment when a player purposefully recovers. Continue reading “The ebb and flow of a fever pitch”

Tacos Tequila Whiskey, Denver

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The first time I visited the City Park location of this restaurant, I think it was called Pinche Tacos. Y’all know I love to curse, so of course the name piqued my interest. Honestly though, their new name fits even better.

They serve three things. I’ll let you guess what they are.

I’m not a big tequila drinker, but I know enough to tell you that their selection looks primo.

I can personally vouch for their whiskey selection, and listed them in my 100 places to drink whiskey list.

Really though, it’s the tacos that we need to talk about. First off, this is a fancy taco place. I like fancy tacos. I also like old school tacos, but you’ve got to be in the mood for one or the other. They are different. Tortilleria Sinaloa in Baltimore is a great example of an old school taco place. Fancy tacos have fancy ingredients, and can also be really hit or miss. Places like this tend to miss more often than they hit. Tacos Tequila Whiskey does not miss. This is one of my favorite taco places in Denver. Continue reading “Tacos Tequila Whiskey, Denver”

The Laffer curve

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In 1930, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, in an effort to alleviate the effects of the… Anyone? Anyone?… the Great Depression, passed the… Anyone? Anyone? The tariff bill? The Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act? Which, anyone? Raised or lowered?… raised tariffs, in an effort to collect more revenue for the federal government. Did it work? Anyone? Anyone know the effects? It did not work, and the United States sank deeper into the Great Depression. Today we have a similar debate over this. Anyone know what this is? Class? Anyone? Anyone? Anyone seen this before? The Laffer Curve. Anyone know what this says? It says that at this point on the revenue curve, you will get exactly the same amount of revenue as at this point. This is very controversial. Does anyone know what Vice President Bush called this in 1980? Anyone? Something-d-o-o economics. “Voodoo” economics.

FEW Spirits Distillery tour with tacos on the side.

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I celebrated yet another birthday this weekend. So, of course, tacos and whiskey were in the mix.

My wife surprised me with a tour of FEW Distillery. I’ve been a fan of their spirits for quite a while. We recently moved to Evanston, so this distillery is just down the street. Continue reading “FEW Spirits Distillery tour with tacos on the side.”