Monday, October 3, 2011

Guanajuato Celebrates National Taco Day October 4


Guanajuato is the brainchild of chef/owner Margarita Challenger, who is a native of Dolores, Guanajuato, Mexico. Since she opened the restaurant in 2010 she has been wowing the Chicago North Shore crowd with her deliciously authentic, freshly made Mexican cuisine. The atmosphere is decidedly friendly and beautiful, and the tequila bar, with more than 40 tequilas to choose from, is becoming a North Shore legend in its own time.

The Earl of Sandwich apparently never traveled to Mexico, for if he had, he would have had an even better idea: take colorful, delicious, and perfectly herbed and spiced vegetables, cheeses and meats, fish and seafood and tuck them neatly into a freshly baked corn tortilla. Fortunately someone else got the idea and thus we celebrate National Taco Day on October 4. 

At Guanajuato Mexican Grill and Tequila Bar (73 Green Bay Road; 847-242-0501), this is a special day. To celebrate National Taco Day, Guanajuato presents a special assortment of unique, surprisingly good taco creations that are sure to be a hit.

If you’re looking for an authentic Mexican taco recipe, you can’t miss with her specialty: the Barbacoa (Goat) Taco Dinner, three tortillas filled with slowly cooked, pulled apart goat meat, and garnished with onions and cilantro, and served with rice and beans ($10.95). Two excellent choices for fish lovers are the Salmon or Tilapia Tacos (Tilapia $13.95/Salmon $15.95), three tacos served with chipotle mayonnaise, pico de gallo and avocado, with rice and beans. If you’re in a seafood mood, choose the Grilled Shrimp Tacos, three grilled shrimp tacos with avocado and Pico de Gallo on flour tortillas, served with rice and beans ($15.95).
Tacos Santa FeGuests who would prefer a lighter taco experience will enjoy the vegetarian Tacos Santa Fe (photo, left) in which she replaces the corn tortillas with light and sumptuous Romaine lettuce.

If you’re a traditionalist, you can opt for Chef Margarita’s Three Taco Dinner, three corn tortillas filled with choice of chicken, ground beef, pork, steak or chorizo, garnished with lettuce, tomato, onions and cilantro, and served with rice and beans ($9.95). If you want a basic taco, choose the Tacos: chicken, ground beef, steak or chorizo on corn tortillas with cilantro, onions, lettuce and tomato, or the Pork Tacos, served the traditional Mexican way with cilantro and onions only.

Your kids will love the tacos, too, for Chef Margarita knows what kids like: Tacos NiƱos, three mini tacos on either soft or crispy tortillas, served with rice, beans and your choice of chicken, steak or ground beef ($5.50).

Your taco feast won’t be complete without a delicious homemade dessert. Helado Frito is a traditional Mexican favorite of fried vanilla ice cream and fresh strawberries ($6.50), or you might want to try the Flamed Bananas, warm caramelized plantains served with vanilla ice cream ($6.50). For a crispy sweet try the Sopapillas, sugar cinnamon crisps served with fresh strawberries ($6.50).

Chef Margarita’s home town of Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato is famous for its ice cream street vendors who offer some amazingly good, offbeat flavors. Guanajuato replicates these creations in their own dessert kitchen. Try flavors such as Avocado, Cajeta, Cheese, Corn, Mole, and Tequila, or go with classic favorites such as Chocolate, Pecan, Rum, Strawberry or Vanilla ($6.75).

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