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Zocalo – Chicago

J wanted mexican food, so Brent from the hotel sent us over to Zocalo. Man, does this place have a nice vibe. It’s a beautiful and large space with dark wood. It just feels warm and inviting. The lighting is low-key and moody, but in a positive way. It just felt cool. I loved it right away. It is a tequila bar, and they have a crazy amount of tequilas. The bar is one long bar, and the entire wall behind it is tequilas. It’s impressive. I got a blood orange margarita, which was terrific. We were off to a great start.

I wanted a little starter so I got the tortilla soup. Oh this was so good. It had a nice spicy bite, with tons of tortilla strips, avocado, cream, and cheese. It was just what I wanted.

J wanted some chips and salsa, so voila! The three at the top are the normal salsas that come out with the whole round tortillas. Instead of making chips for you, they let you crack the tortilla into your own chips. Those standard three salsas were very good, and the one in the middle was shockingly spicy. But all had great flavor. Then we got into a hot sauce discussion with Hector, so he brought out two additional ones for us, which one of the chefs had made for fun. They were both firey hot, with completely different flavors from each other, as well as the spicy one from the standard three. It’s pretty amazing how different salsas can taste, and how they are all good in varying ways. The point is, they were all good.

It was tuesday night, and Zocalo offers taco tuesdays, which is $12 for all you can eat tacos. You have to get your first set of tacos with all four varieties of tacos, but after that, you can get whatever you want. It comes out with a pork, beef, chicken, and a lamb/pork combo. Ok, so seriously, these were all amazing. The pork and chicken ones were particularly excellent. I couldn’t eat more than one plate, but J got another plate with more pork and chicken tacos. They were seriously good. They’re pretty small, but are quite filling. This is a place that I wish existed in Philadelphia because I would be there all the time. It just made me happy and want to come back. You can’t beat that!

Zocalo on Urbanspoon

Cocktails In The Burbs At Verdad

We decided to go out for drinks in the burbs. Since K and I live in Ardmore/Havertown, I decided that Verdad in Bryn Mawr would be a nice option to try. It hasn’t been there that long, I think it’s now occupying the spot where Carmine used to be for what now seems to be a split second. Verdad bills themselves as latin influenced tapas. So it’s small plates here. It’s a pretty nice place. The people inside seemed fancy. We were certainly classing down the joint, ha. They have tons of tequila, sangria that you can see in these big jugs, and beers on draft as well.

I got a passion fruit margarita, which was rather awesome.It wasn’t super sweet, it was nice and boozy, and yet had plenty of passion fruit flavor. The girls both got the caipirinha, and they were also nice and boozy. They don’t skimp on the booze, which is nice, since the drinks are priced accordingly, and with main line prices.

K was feeling a bit peckish so she ordered the tortilla soup. Now I’ve had my share of mexican tortilla soup in my day, but this one was strange. It looked like creamy tomato soup, with some tortilla strips thrown on top. That’s not normal. There’s not nearly enough tortilla strips. The avocado is pretty invisible. It was just lacking… content! And K wasn’t crazy about it. At the end of the night, she realized it was pretty crappy. So the one food dish turned out to be disappointing, but I was definitely a fan of the drinks. I would certainly return for cocktails!
Verdad on Urbanspoon

Unplanned Stop At The Sidecar

We was supposed to go rollerskating, but guess what? It didn’t happen. They were closed. And I should have known better. But since we were in the neighborhood, we stopped at Sidecar. Oh Sidecar, how I’ve missed you. For a really nice friday night, it wasn’t nearly as packed as I thought it would be.

I’d certainly missed Sidecar, the bar and restaurant, but I’d definitely missed their sidecar even more. This particular sidecar was actually different than the ones I’d had here before, but I still liked it. The coloring was completely different. There was no cherry inside. But I didn’t care. It was still strong, and it still tasted great. The rim was still sugared. I still could have had many of these.

H/A was especially hungry since he hadn’t eaten all day, like a jackass, so he ordered up the margarita pizza and the chicken fingers. The pizza was actually pretty good, and had an extremely crispy thin crust. It was just simple with sauce, mozzarella, and basil. I’ve had the chicken fingers before and had liked them, but these were different, and not as good. They were still ok though. I guess this was one of the things that changed when the chefs changed. I ate all the salad that came with the chicken fingers because I wanted greens and it was really good!

C wanted something sweet so she went with the strawberry and rhubarb pie. She didn’t know what rhubarb was but was told it was sweet so she went with it. I’ve always been fascinated by rhubarb so I was excited to try this. And you know what? I liked it! It is sweet! It’s incredible that something that looks like a big red celery can be put into a pie and be tasty. It was served with a dollop of whipped cream on top and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. As usual, the service was, um, ok. Let’s leave it at that!
Sidecar Bar & Grille on Urbanspoon

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