Azucarado Casa Chicago, or my weak sauce interpretation of Sweet Home Chicago. I’m sure there are more famous images of Chicago but the could gate above was the only one I took pics of. Here’s to being a crappy tourist!
At this point I’m sure you thought this blog was dead…Nope! Just needed a break, that and an extremely busy work schedule of travelling all over the country has seriously hampered my posting duties. Fortunately I’ve been cataloging, taking photos and making notes of all the recipes and places I’ve eaten in the last 5 months so updates will be fruitous.
Finally a business trip that dropped me in the middle of some serious good Mexican food, or a modern interpretation of it at least. The cocktails flowed, fresh herbs were chopped, and all was enjoyed! I’ll post a series of posts highlighting each place rather than one massive post like my New York trip 2 years ago.
Below was my trip to Mercadito, they also have locations in Miami and New York with similar menus. Just to say this up front, I went for dinner and lunch the following day because I liked the menu so much. There were just too many good things and not enough room in my stomach. Both trips I had tacos and a cocktail but for dinner I had a glass of dessert known as Chinaco Negro. A wonderfully “fuerte” extra anejo which deserves a spot in my liquor cabinet for special occasions. For lunch the following day I skipped the tequila and went for a appetizer of two different guacamoles.
I sampled two cocktails at Mercadito, the Dizzy Oaxacan and the Little Market Margarita. Both were fantastic. The Dizzy was sweeter than I imagined being that it used Mezcal rather than tequila. I came across a recipe online for the Little Market which is listed below. I usually don’t go for the spice in my cocktail but this was so subtle and balanced it was fantastic, and I think my new summer cocktail.
The Little Market Margarita
2 chunks pineapple, 1.5 “ by 1.5”
1 1/2 ounces house Reposado
1 ounce guajillo syrup
1 ounce lime juice
1 quart simple syrup
7-8 guajillo chiles
Muddle the pineapple in a glass. In a shaker add tequila, quajillo syrup and lime juice with ice and shake. Pour into glass. It is optional to rim the glass with Tajin.
To make the Guajillo Syrup bring simple syrup to medium heat (you can also make your own Simple syrup by mixing water and sugar and boiling it). Break up chiles and add to heated syrup. Simmer for 10 minutes, check heat level and let simmer for another 10 minutes if needed. When desired heat level is achieved, strain and refrigerate.
Above is their 2 guacamoles. They were very similar in taste but the one on the left had some diced pineapple in it. A nice touch which paired very nicely with the Little Market Marg I was restraining from devouring. I quickly got home and tried my hand at making my own version which was nicely balanced and just the right change of pace over a standard guacamole.
Al Pastor Octopus? Sign me up! As any readers know, I am a bonafide sucker for good al pastor. Up until now I’ve only had chicken and pork…how boring. Octopus on the other hand was downright intriguing. Their version was called Pulpo al Pastor which featured chile ancho rubbed octopus, chile de árbol salsa, grilled pineapple, and crispy red onion. I was sold. The entire meal was flavorful, fresh and succulent. If you are up for a foodie challange, this is the meal you need to have.
Day two brought about the super secret Tacos for Strength, a limited time monthly featurette on their menu. In this case it was sake braised pork belly with daikon radish slaw. This was the taco I wanted from Mercadito. Just enough new battling with the old for an outstanding “designer” take on the taco. You can almost never go wrong with Asian BBQ and tacos.
So when you’re in the chicago area, go to mercadito, twice if you need to and be your own El Cazador de Taco!
108 W Kinzie Street
Chicago, IL 60654