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.

 

 

Tacos Tequila Whiskey, Denver

ttw

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”

FEW Spirits Distillery tour with tacos on the side.

IMG_4114

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.”

Top ten things to do in San Francisco that my friend Sara will like.

IMG_0734

My friend Sara is moving to San Francisco. Since I lived in the Bay Area for a year and have spent a few other years working for Bay Area based companies, I thought I would share some of the things I think she might like.

Tacos and whiskey at Azucar Lounge

This is the best place I’ve been in SF for Tacos and Whiskey. It’s more of a fantastic cocktail place with great food than a fantastic restaurant with great cocktails so plan accordingly. Continue reading “Top ten things to do in San Francisco that my friend Sara will like.”

How to make fish tacos without stinking up the joint

fishtacosI was never a fan of fish tacos until I was. I mean, there’s no carnitas in a fish taco or anything, but they’re still pretty darn good. I mostly order them when I’m out and about, who wants to smell up the house when cooking fish?

However, I figured out a pretty good way to make them without the stink. Use the grill! Here’s how I did it. Continue reading “How to make fish tacos without stinking up the joint”

Tortilleria Sinaloa – Best tacos in Baltimore

Tortilleria_SinaloaAs I walked out of Fell’s Point and into more of a not-so-tourist-friendly neighborhood, my apprehensions around ordering tacos in an east coast city began to dissipate. Let’s face it, Baltimore isn’t really known for it’s Mexican food. If there was any chance for this place it be good, it was going to need to be located in an ever so slightly shady neighborhood. All great taco stands are.

Walking through the door, I was really impressed. The dining area was simple, but it clean, and the kitchen was in open view. They were busy making their own tortillas. A really good sign.

I ordered one steak, one chicken and one pork. All three were great, but the pork was the best. A place like this is all about fresh tortillas and good meat. You don’t need a bunch of toppings when you get the basics right. Just some onion, cilantro and jalepeno. Add a bit of the bright orange hot sauce if you really want to kick it up a notch.

Best of all, this meal was really affordable. If you’re ever looking for an awesome lunch in Baltimore, I highly recommend this place.

Save to foursquare

Whiskey and Tacos. Nuff’ Said.

whiskey and tacosI’m sure there are lots of great taco joints in Chicago, but until I visited the Bullhead Cantina a few weeks ago, I hadn’t found one.

I’d rank this place in the top ten taco joints I’ve ever visited, and the best on this side of the Mississippi.

I tried the carnitas, the fried chicken, and the avocado tacos. The avocado was my favorite, and one of the few veggie tacos that I would recomend. What sets Bullhead apart from most Chicago taco joints is that spicy actually means spicy.

I’d recommend this place on the strength of its tacos alone, but the Bullhead Cantina features a twist that puts it over the top; Whiskey. Lots and lots of great whiskey. I enjoyed my tacos with a whiskey flight, and later ordered a manhattan. Their select is great from the bottom shelf to the top.

Bullhead offers a daily special featuring a taco, a shot of whiskey and a PBR for $6. My advice, skip the hipster-brew and focus on what makes this place truly awesome: whiskey and tacos.