While visiting Amsterdam two weeks ago for a wedding, I met my identical twin through the bride. Indentical, not in skin color or looks (cuz she’s blond and blue eyed!) but rather in our passion for food and wine. However, Julia is lucky because it’s her full time job to be in the food business! She is a restaurant consultant, owner of Heyer Performance and has been involved in the opening so many much-loved restaurants in the US – one of them, Mercadito – who opened it’s doors to Chicago last week! Thanks to Julia – she gained us entry to the Opening cocktail reception where we schmoozed and boozed with Chicago’s culinary elite (we even spotted some Top Chef winners there!)
Mercadito, located in Chicago’s trendy River North neighborhood boasts authentic Mexican dishes with added twists. I wouldn’t walk in there with just a few bucks as you would in typical Chicago taco joint because the prices are quite steep. A fixing of taco’s may run you $12.50 and and their cocktails may set you back between $9-13.00.
As it was the grand opening – the restaurant offered a very generous selection of tasty bites to try of which some of my favorites included the ceviche de callo (red grapes with scallops! YUMMY) and chorizo tacos. I didn’t enjoy the beer battered fish taco’s at all as they were underseasoned and over battered.
My highest recommendation is for the guacamole – it’s your not your traditional guac. In fact, Mercadito offers 6 versions of guacamole on their menu! This is definitely the most inventive ways of making guacamole and I’m afraid I’m going to have to steal their ideas and make them at home this way. Just imagine the traditional guac, but dressed up with pomegranates, or drizzled with mole; even better, how about guac with mango, jícama, chipotle & pico de gallo? All served with in house made tortilla chips, lightly salted…
Perhaps I wouldn’t go as far as recommending this place for dinner – but rather a place to get the night started with appetizers and some of their delicious cocktails – ask for the one they set on fire!