I can tell I haven’t been traveling lately because my apartment looks like a tornado hit it and I have no dirty laundry. At all. It’s a strange feeling, but this is what comes with an international job when the rest of the world takes off nearly all of July and August. Sigh. America, we’ll get there someday.
I can also tell I haven’t been traveling much because I’ve been eating out a lot more in Chicago lately. But there are some places that I just can’t get a full post out of. So here’s a round-up of some of the Chicago places I’ve visited lately.
Mercadito: I thought I’d written about Mercadito a few years ago but I can’t seem to find the post. My friend Chris was in town from London for the night and my colleague Mark was a bachelor for the week so we headed over to Mercadito to fulfill Chris’ request for Mexican. (I know, I know. We could have gone someplace more “authentic” but we needed to stay local for various reasons. And my guess is that a good portion of Mercadito’s kitchen staff is Mexican anyhow, so “authentic” is a non-starter.) The margaritas were great, our server was awesome, and Chris was extremely pleased with the tacos. The noise-level was deafening and the restaurant is too dark to take photos in, but this is a fun place with tasty food that I will gladly revisit.
Bandera: I stopped in here around 2:45 pm on a Friday afternoon in the hopes of having a good lunch salad. (My employer very graciously grants summer hours between May and September, so you might notice I take myself out to eat a lot on Friday afternoons when I’m in town.) The “Hacked” chicken salad was really really good. Oddly — but this is America after all — after my first bite of salad, I thought to myself… “Oh, there’s real chicken in here.” None of those frozen chicken breasts. This was a real roast chicken hacked up into bits, and it was dark meat, my favorite. Loved the dressing, which was a bit of lime and a bit of peanut. I thought the service was a bit stand-offish, but for a salad, I’d go back here.
Emerald Loop: I dropped into Emerald Loop with a few colleagues to have lunch and watch the women’s US soccer team beat France in the women’s world cup. It was kinda exciting to see so many people out to watch the women. Sadly, my Southwestern Chicken salad was nowhere near as exciting. In fact, it was pretty bad. Frozen chicken breast that still tasted like refrigerator and an over-dressed salad. Meh. Not for me. Service was generally good though, but we did wait for ages for our food and the check.
Coming up…Shaw’s Oyster Bar, Mana Food Bar, The Florentine, and Blue Star Wine Bar.