Spice Up Your Week with a North Shore Taco Crawl
Are you or have you ever been… taco loco? You don’t have to limit your taco obsession to Tuesdays. With the grande options of these tasty handheld delights all over Chicago’s North Shore, why not hit up a few in a row with your own personal Taco Crawl. Crawl by car in a day or hit them over a few weeks to sample it all.
See a full list of restaurants on Chicago’s North Shore here.
L: Uncle Julio's, Westfield Old Orchard, Skokie; R: El Fuego, Skokie
START WITH THE CLASSICS: TACO CRAWL 1
Kick off your crawl with the classic approach. A two- or three-taco platter (let’s just say three) from El Fuego Mexican Cuisine (8018 N. Lincoln Ave., Skokie) can be your choice of chicken, ground beef, chorizo, spit-grilled pork, or steak. Yolo’s Mexican Eatery (5111 Brown St., Skokie) adds a bit of zest with Tacos Quiximos (sautéed mushrooms, poblano pepper, epazote, garlic, onion, creamy cheese sauce) or Tacos Marranos (pork marinated in achiote sauce with red onion, cilantro, pineapple). If you conform to the traditional day, Taco Bar Tuesday at Uncle Julio’s (Old Orchard Rd. & Skokie Blvd., Skokie) has ground beef or sautéed chicken with made-from-scratch toppings. Their Take Home Taco Kit and kids’ version (choice of crispy or soft, beef or chicken taco) are delicious, too.
Uncle Julios, Westfield Old Orchard, Skokie
A BREAK FROM TRADITION: TACO CRAWL 2
The walk-up window at La Principal (700 Main St., Evanston) dials up the flavors of Mexican street fare to awesome! Cue the Nashville Hot Chicken Taco with zesty honey butter glaze and pickle slaw or the spicy Sweet Potato Taco with red mole, pickled red cabbage, pepitas, and Cotija. Another yummy set of hand-crafted options await at Taco Diablo (1029 Davis St., Evanston) like the Pork Belly and Chicharrons (habanero salsa, radish/cabbage slaw, pickled onion), the Verdura Taco (squash, corn, rajas, queso fresco, orange vinaigrette), or the—wait for it—Bacon Taco with caramelized onions. Just a few blocks down the road sits La Cocinita (1625 Chicago Ave., Evanston) which features Venezuelan inspired Latin American street food. Try the Crispy Fish Tacos with rajas, cilantro-green onion sauce on corn tortillas or the Carne Asada Tacos with salsa verde on corn tortillas, garnished with Cilantro Cabbage Slaw and Cotija Cheese. Comida Cantina (1928 Central St., Evanston) reimagines folded favorites with a Build Your Own Taco Kit in steak, chicken mole, vegan chorizo, pork, or others. Watch for specials like Duck Confit topped with watercress, juicy mango, crisp jicama, tart green apples, and goat cheese. Even the authentic Frida’s Breakfast and Lunch (618 Church, Evanston) is stepping out with a new Street Food Taco Dinner with Spanish rice and beans.
L: La Cocinita, Evanston; R: La Principal, Evanston
MARGARITA ME! TACO CRAWL 3
Some think you can’t spell “taco” without a “margarita” in the middle. Popular taqueria Taco Nano (1743 Orchard Ln., Northfield) not only offers a Taco of the Week (a recent winner: Achiote Marinated Pulled Chicken with pickled black beans, cilantro, red onion, queso fresco, sour cream, and habanero salsa), but their Taco Nano Margarita is legend. Thinking beyond American chow, Fred’s Garage (574 Green Bay Rd., Winnetka) has some killer Chipotle Chicken Tacos (or substitute a meat-free, plant-based protein) and Tequila Shrimp Tacos to complement their margs. Wrap up at Guanajuato Mexican Restaurant and Tequila Bar (73 Green Bay Rd., Glencoe) with a Taco Platter (fish, carnitas, steak, etc.) and a frosty seasonal margarita like the Spicy Watermelon or Guava!
L: Taco Nano, Northfield; R: Guanajuato, Glencoe
COMPARE AND CONTRAST: TACO CRAWL 4
Thinking beyond their American classics, North Branch Pizza and Burger Co. (4520 W. Lake Ave., Glenview) serves up familiar street tacos like Baja Shrimp (grilled or blackened) or marinated Prime Steak. La Taquiza (2661 Shermer Rd, Northbrook) gets budget-friendly with $1.50 tacos on Tuesdays (limited toppings) or the Taco Trio Dinner served with rice and beans on Wednesdays. Mercado Cocina Cantina (2300 Lehigh Ave., Glenview) goes fancy with the freshest ingredients: Grilled Steak comes with avocado mousse, cilantro, and scallions, while the Mushroom and Goat Cheese Taco is complimented with black bean puree and pickled onions. Save room for the bounty of fusion options at Eataco (1350 Shermer Rd., Northbrook) where they boast 17 different tasty taco choices every day! Try the Boneless Wings, Lamb Carnitas, or Coconut Shrimp on the regular menu while you watch for highlights like Crispy Cauliflower or Lobster Salad.
L: Eataco, Northbrook; R: Mercado Cocina Cantina, Glenview
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