Taco-Tastic: A Soft Shell recap of National Taco Day

Friday October 4th…a day that will live in infamy… a day to gorge on (dare we say it) one of the best hand held foods known to (wo)man: the taco.  Take that, fried food on a stick!  Below is a smattering of some of the most tantalizing taco trends in the Chi area.

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Taco Joint – Panela Taco (Black Bean salsa, grilled panela cheese, mushrooms with creamy guajillo salsa and arugula!) and Grapefruit Margarita!

Taco Joint won our hearts again with their National Taco Day deals.  The brand new River North hotspot has a wealth of wealthy people watching.  Read more details in our previous post about it’s sister spot, located in Lincoln Park.  Mon cheated with another friend and enjoyed the $2 dollar panela, black bean, mushroom and arugula tacos with a refreshing grapefruit margarita and some twitter # provided free guac on National Taco Day.  (Kate: Sad faced 😦 but will persevere)

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West town hides our prime birthday celebration spot, De Cero, on the restaurant row strip of Randolph Street.  De Cero’s Tacos De Rajas, tickle our taco fancy, with mildly sweet green peppers, cojita cheese, cilantro and crema.  For the salsa aficionados, De Cero boasts a range of flavors, from the tart pickled jalapeño to the spiccccy habanero mango.  Bring your friends along as you can order paired taco trays so that everyone can delight in the taco variety.

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De Cero – Rajas Taco, Guajillo Black Bean Taco and more!!

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Latin Asian fusion restaurant, Saucy Porka, puts a twist on the taco (theirs’ is called a baco) with a bao bun base as the taco shell.  We hounded them at the recent food truck rally for their crispy ginger tofu baco with crisp Asian slaw and can’t wait to take over their downtown location to experience their Tostones, curry sweet potato fries, and Ho Chi Minh tofu sammich.

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Saucy Porka – Soy Ginger Tofu Baco

Vegans and T Rexs alike can rejoice in the Baja tofu tacos at the little Logan Square gem, Ground Control.  The lightly fried tofu is topped with pickled red onion, crunchy cabbage, black sesame and a vegan Baja sauce that tastes a little ranchy.  Sweet potato tacos also grace the menu with sautéed kale, firm mushrooms, and a not too hot chili tomato sauce.

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Ground Control – Smothered Sweet Potato Tacos

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Ground Control – Baja Tacos

We are drooling at the thought of partaking in the taco goodness of Antique Taco or Ay Chiwowa as we’ve heard taco-tastic reviews…ooh do we feel a Taco-Tastic review, part II coming soon?

Dearest readers, where do you go to get your taco fix?  We got a fever and the only prescription is…more cow bell…oops, we mean tacos!

Restaurant Rendezvous: Taco Joint

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The upscale taco place can be a hard sell when there are so many delicious cheap taco places in Chicago.  Taco Joint bridges the gap by providing a modern atmosphere, twists on the traditional menu and a manageable price.  We started off with the TJ Margarita flight.  Although the Sangria was a little basic, the Beergarita with refreshing frozen lime and Negro Modelo and the traditional Margarita with a perfect balance of liquor and fresh lime, were satisfying.  Our starter was the esquites guacamole, with corn and cotija cheese.  We snagged some hot salsa to perk up the flavor.

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The main reason, however, that you should grace Taco Joint with your presence is the Torta Panela.  Panela cheese is a Mexican cheese, much like Indian Paneer, that remains semi firm when heated.  The torta bread and panela, perfectly grilled, were paired with watercress, charred avocado and chipotle sauce.  Vegetarian heaven, we say!

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