A Taste of Mexico

In honor of Mexican Independence Day, and my craving for guacamole getting out of hand, a trip to my favorite Mexican restaurant Garcia’s was in order last week.

A favorite among Mexican-Americans and enthusiasts alike, Garcia’s boasts an extensive menu including a variety of tacos, tortas, flautas and enchiladas. Essentially, there is something for everyone.

Having been here several times, I stuck with my favorite dish: corn tortilla enchiladas filled with mushrooms and spinach served with rice, beans and a healthy (or not) portion of melted cheese. Vegetarian friendly and completely delicious. My dinner companion chose to order the combination plate that included a serving of flautas and beef tacos with a side of rice and beans.

We started our night sitting on the patio, but the rain threatened our plans and the Garcia’s staff very quickly ushered us inside and to a table by the bar. The service was just as great as the food.

Whether you’re looking for a new spot for date night, lunch with friends, a late night bite or just somewhere to beat that Mexican craving, Garcia’s is definitely the place to go. The fun and casual ambience is great for a relaxing evening, and the food cannot be beat. Added bonus- Garcia’s is located just across from the Lincoln Square fountain, a great place to walk off some of those just-devoured chips and salsa.

Garcia’s Restaurant is located at 4760 N Lincoln ave. Open Monday-Thursday 10am-1am, Friday 10am-3am, Saturday 10am-4am and Sunday 10am-12am. Metered street parking is available on Lincoln ave, W. Lawrence ave, as well as on surrounding side streets.

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End of September food events

Looking for something to do this month? Here are two upcoming events promising some delicious ethnic food.

Lakeview Taco Fest: September 20-21, Southport ave. between Addison and Roscoe. Noon-10 pm daily. Expect traditional taco flavors like beef and pork, but also new like jerk chicken and lobster tacos. Admission is free but prices vary by stall. Live music by local bands during peak hours.

Oktoberfest Chicago: September 26-28, Southport and Lincoln ave. Friday 5pm-10 pm, Saturday 11am-10pm and Sunday 11am-7pm. Traditional German fare will be served, as well as a craft beer tasting on Friday ans Saturday nights. Two music stages will host German pop performances throughout the day.

A day trip to Italy

Italian food fanatics should flock to Eataly Chicago, located at 43 East Ohio Street. Created by celebrity-chef Mario Batali, the hub for all things Italian boasts 23 food stalls and restaurants within the two story space. A Nutella bar, Italian grocery store, and a wine bar are just some of the stations to encounter at Eataly.

My first, but surely not last, trip to Eataly took place this past weekend. The weather was anything but pleasant and my friends and I were looking for something to do to kill time while in the area, before moving on to other plans.

We walked in and were immediately struck by how big the space was; I’m talking gigantic. Every inch of the building was occupied by Italian groceries, ranging from meats to cheeses to, my favorite, the Italian chocolates. We walked around a little awestruck at first, then ventured up to the second floor which houses the sit down restaurants.

With not enough time to actually sit down and eat, we decided to hit the focaccia station. Bread being my biggest guilty pleasure, I could have fainted seeing all the delicious ways the Italian staple was being served.

I decided to order the margherita foccacia- a giant hunk of bread covered in mozzerella cheese and basil. One bite and I was ready to find myself a handsome Italian and say arrivederci​ to America.

Best part about Eataly; not only is there something for everyone, there is something for every budget. Our trip to the foccacia bar was less than $5, for a fairly large portion. The sit down restaurants were a little more pricey, as expected, but nothing was too outrageous.

Eataly is a great place to get all the sights and smells of Italian cuisine without having to board a flight. My advice- try and clear your afternoon schedule before entering. You’ll want to take your time perusing all the different stations and shops.

Eataly Chicago is located at 43 East Ohio street. Open daily from 10:00 am- 11:00 pm. Easily accessible from Grand red line station, valet parking is offered, street parking is limited. For more info visit Eataly.com

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