Illinois | Lincolnwood | Mexican | Tony's Top Ten11 Apr 2017 10:24 pm

Our visit on April 10, 2017 confirmed that Wholly Frijoles continues to offer some of the best Mexican food in the Chicago land area. This week’s special mixed meat and seafood grill included shrimp, skirt steak, chorizo,  salmon, chicken and vegetables along with the usual guacamole, pinto beans and rice with tortillas – WOW! reservations are not accepted, but you can call to be placed on their waiting list at dinner time – it is worth the wait.

Family owned by an ex-Lettuce Entertain You employee, this is a special place. It’s BYOB.

I decided to check the place out in October 2004 since they expanded – the quality remains well above average and the dishes are well prepared/creative. Since I was dining alone, I have stocked numerous half-bottles of good red wine for just such occasions – the meals here are worthy of good wine.

My favorite is their chicken specialty of the house which is served with mashed potatoes – carbs are worth it here! The person at an adjoining table was a chef and was there to check it out as well – looks like the restaurant’s name is getting around. This is also the perfect place for a small get together or celebration. The service is personal but not pushy – so far I know no waitperson’s name (hope they keep it that way – they usually don’t want to see my family videos or photos either).

Anyway, give this place a try – we need to keep it a successful family business.
$

3908 West Touhy Ave.

Lincolnwood, IL
(847) 329-9810

BYOB

Mexican | Mexico | Taxco, Morelos26 Nov 2006 08:08 pm

Before going to Del Angel after tours of Taxco silver artisan shops, how about a Berta – the precursor of margaritas – at none other than Berta’s Bar in the Taxco town center. The Berta is made with tequila, lemon juice, sugar and sparkling/mineral water. Later, Bacardi popularized the margarita by using triple sec or Cointreau with tequila and their marketing power changed the world to eclipse the Berta. I prefer the Berta.

The Del Angel Inn has a rooftop outdoor area with colorful city views, strolling guitarists/singers, a life-size Day of the Dead skeleton, and great food and libations. The onion soup (yes, I said onion soup) was perfect with onions al dente in an onion base with tasty (not stringy, messy, stick to your spoon and mouth) cheese. Thin/pounded pork cutlets with pepper sauce, rice and vegetables were cooked to perfection, and the unbreaded cutlets juicy and delicious. Celito Lindo (corny, I know) playing in the background made this place a special one; the creamy vanilla ice cream ended a perfect meal.

Celso Munoz No. 4.2 Piso
Taxco, Gro – Morelos
01(762)622-5525

Cuernavaca, Morelos | Mexican | Mexico | States26 Nov 2006 01:03 pm

Two visits to this gem hidden behind an unimpressive entry were a pleasant surprise. Gardens, gardens, gardens! EVERYTHING grows in Mexico.

The first visit for lunch was during a gathering of state and local politicians, and our group of 14 was seated at an elegant long table with the standard leather/cushioned seats popular everywhere. The Chiles Rellenos specialty had a meat and fruit filling with walnut cream sauce and pomegranates. Mexican red wine was excellent (wines throughout the trip were all good, though in one case had to settle for a Spanish Rioja – for some reason many restaurants carry Spanish but not Mexican wine).

A private dinner with Ofrendas opened for our viewing before the Day of the Dead celebrations made this a special place. Dinner was Tacos Sorgi with cheese, avocado, crunchy peppers and pork skins garnish – but take your image of yankee tacos out of mind – just not the same. Dessert, as usual, was excellent (flans galore in all restaurants – each prepared with loving care).


Morrow 15, centro Cuernavaca
Morelos, Mexico
(777)3125021

Cuernavaca, Morelos | Mexican | Mexico | States26 Nov 2006 12:25 pm

The first restaurant experience in Cuernavaca (after the prior evening’s late meal at the Hotel Mission Cuernavaca) was a great introduction to the excellent local cuisine of Mexico. This beautiful restaurant on the second floor near the town center presented a glorious lunch of chicken with chipotle, spinach and squash blossom sauce, preceded by excellent Guacamole with a cold Negra Modella, topped off with one of the best flans with good coffee. What a wonderful introduction to Mexican cuisine!

Chef Lorenzo Patron Anselmo has trained in the states and is familiar with Chicago, though he mentioned Emeril and not Rick Bayless as his respected chef. Lorenzo is creating excellent food which would stand up to all of the great Mexican spots in Chicago (Frontera, Rique’s, Wholly Frijoles, Adobo and Ole’ Ole’ – latter yet to be reviewed).

The stereotypical impression I had of Mexican cuisine before this visit (prompted by the yankee version of Mexican food) was put to rest on the very first day of our 2-week adventure in Mexico.

Hidalgo No. 6 Col. Centro

Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico

(01777)312-27-49

www.casahidalgo.com

Chicago | Illinois | Mexican12 Aug 2006 08:27 am

Look out, Rick Bayless, you have a worthy competitor for freshly prepared gourmet Mexican food. Just getting around to this post after a fourth visit last night to their Old Town location on Wells. Tableside prepared guacamole is the very best, and corn chips among da best. You can even purchase the guacamole gift sets (to make your own tableside creation and serve it in a VERY authentic mortar – rough surfaces and all). The margarita choice is simple – they make one kind (though you can go wild with hundreds of tequila and other drink choices). It is one of the best.

After the guacamole, we shared Sopes Surtidos (masa boats topped with 4 fillings). Wow! Sharing appetizers is a good way to go. But then why not share an entree? OK, we shared the Chile Relleno which was a very fresh poblano (you can tell old or food-serviced poblano by its wilty texture) stuffed with asadero, panela cheese and epazote basted in ranchera salsa, black beans and sour cream. What a delight.

Other noteworthy specialties include Cazuelas which are casseroles with cheese and vegetables and/or proteins (peck peck, moo moo). Of course entrees include the other proteins (oink oink and quack quack). I have not cracked up, just having fun writing about this place.

The wait staff is always friendly and service timely. Their 2 locations are both beautiful. The one on Wells is the old steakhouse completely updated with wonderful art and Mexican artifacts. The Division Street location is also a sensory experience. Noise isn’t an issue as it provides white background noise so you can talk about almost anything with your dining guests.

Old Town Location
1610 North Wells
Chicago, IL 60614
(312)266-7999

Wicker Park Location
2005 West Division
Chicago, IL 60622
(773)252-9990

www.adobogrill.com

Mexican | New Mexico | Santa Fe20 Mar 2005 09:28 am

The red-brick Santa Fe station house, constructed in 1904, houses Tomasita’s – “a distinctly Northern New Mexican restaurant.” Another place where the “locals” go, though we noticed many strangers. I had their Saturday special: Carnitas Antonio (nice name) with tender strips of beef marinated with onions and green chile with special sauce and the obligatory rice and refried beans. Tortilla soup here also worth a try. Oblige yourself with a Margarita while waiting for a table.

Service is extremely friendly, even to strangers.

500 South Guadalupe
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501
(505) 983-5721

Mexican | San Antonio | Texas29 Jul 2004 08:26 pm

Authentic, authentic, authentic Mexican food served in a cheerful atmosphere – the bright colors lift the spirits, and you too can lift a few, since they serve great margaritas (ask for one of the better Tequilas recommended by the bartender).

And why not try some guacamole? The quest for the best continues. Theirs stands up to Rick Bayless’ stuff at Frontera and the Mambo Grill’s stuff as well (both in Chicago) – and even to the good deal Chipotle chain stuff. But the atmosphere is what this place is all about; friendly and cheerful beyond compare.

My chicken enchiladas with mole were the best I’ve ever had – the mole sauce delicate and not overpowering – and the tortilla wrapping was so well prepared that it melted in your mouth. Choosing all refried beans and no rice may not always be a good idea, but the beans were tasty and fatty and worth the calories – my attempt to reduce some carbs.

Wines by the glass are underwhelming, so stick with a beer or margarita.

This place is also a bakery, and open 24 hours! Housed in the historic market square, with La Margarita restaurant next door, I suggest this place though it is not located on the touristry San Antonio Riverwalk – let’s support the one of a kind places (though this place really doesn’t need any more press).

$

218 Produce Row – at Commerce and San Saba
(210) 225-1262

www.mitierracafe.com

Chicago | Illinois | Mexican | Tony's Top Ten09 Dec 2003 10:16 pm

Rick Bayless has done it – gourmet Mexican with real flair. Try the tasting menu and make reservations well in advance, or wait in line for Frontera Grill.
$$$ Topolobambo
$ Frontera Grill

445 North Clark Street
(312) 661-1434

view their web site

Chicago | Illinois | Mexican09 Dec 2003 09:04 pm

Pennies – authentic Mexican; great breakfasts.
Be prepared to wait in line if you go on The Day of the Dead

pennies

1515 West 18th Street
(in the Pilsen neighborhood)
(312) 421-1517

Austin | Mexican | Texas29 Oct 2003 06:26 pm

Chuy’s has great margaritas, fresh and hot chips, delicious salsas, and super food. Try the Southwest Enchiladas or the Chiles Rellenos.
$

1728 Barton Springs Rd
Austin, TX 78704-1037
(512) 474-4452

Driving Directions:

From downtown – Take Lamar south until you hit Barton Springs Road. Make a right and you’ll see them a few blocks down on the right; look for the laundry hanging on a line.

From MoPac – Take the Bee Cave/2244 exit and head east (toward Zilker Park) on Barton Springs Road. Drive through Zilker Park, and after the stoplight at Robert E. Lee, you’ll see them on the left.

From IH-35 – Take the Riverside exit and drive west (towards downtown) until you hit Barton Springs Road, make a left and drive past Lamar Blvd. (toward Zilker Park). You’ll see them a few blocks down on the right.

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