Four taco crawls
Take a tour of 23 taquerias in four Chicago neighborhoods.
Don’t get lost in the odd maritime oil paintings and lay off the free chips, salsa and beans: You’ll want to save room for the luscious carnitas (pig cooked in its own fat), the sweet-and-spicy cochinita pibil (slow-roasted pork) and the zesty al pastor tacos at this tiny spot. 6712 N Clark St (773-381-1638).
There could be no more romantic taco-eating experience than sitting on the lush backyard patio while fireflies flit about. Though this BYOB specializes in seafood, the grilled fish and shrimp tacos are underseasoned. Make googly eyes over the al pastor, brimming with crispy, slightly sweet pork. 6922 N Clark St (773-338-5425).
Is that ham in the pico de gallo? Yes, and you should spoon that delicious sacrilege on the tender suadero taco (boiled steak seasoned with black pepper and garlic). Is that Wilco playing? Yes. Just chill and eat while you take in the soccer-field mural at this fútbol-themed joint. 7043 N Clark St (773-274-4555).
This spot’s $1 tacos are slightly smaller than average, but they’re still piled high with meat. Go for the juicy lengua (beef tongue) and the al pastor with its lovely charred bits while you watch a Mexican kids’ version of America’s Got Talent. 7104 N Clark St (773-338-9992).
Don’t be deterred by the bland salsas and bottles of Frank’s RedHot on every table: The pillowy tortillas here could be filled with iceberg lettuce and they’d still make a damn delicious taco. Luckily, the tender, not-too-fatty carnitas does its wrapping proud. 7360 N Clark St (773-262-9417).