Thursday, November 3, 2016

Restaurant Review: Cafe El Tapatio

First things first: YOU GUYS THE CUBS WON THE WORLD SERIES! It was the most excruciatingly thrilling baseball game I've ever watched and I almost couldn't handle the tension, but they WON and life is good. I liveblogged the agony and the ecstasy on my Insta and stayed up way too late after the game ended.

Anyway. It is a truth universally acknowledged that the Mexican food in Southern California is damn near perfect, and after living in LA for eight years, my standards for Mexican food are ludicrously high. Alas, our new life in Chicago affords us far too few opportunities to have a proper taco and/or chile relleno. Before last week, I think I must've gone something like three months since my last proper taco. To clarify: a proper taco is a soft taco on a small tortilla, filled with nothing but meat and topped with onions, cilantro, and salsa.

Thankfully, as I discovered last Thursday, there's good Mexican food to be had in Chicago. I honestly don't remember how Jeff heard about Cafe El Tapatio, but I'm glad he put it on our ever-growing list of restaurants to try, because it was absolutely epic.

Like most of the places on our restaurant list, Cafe El Tapatio is up on the North Side of the city, which meant Jeff was treated to an hour on the El with a bouncy, chatty ball of taco-related excitement made flesh. All this time on the train was definitely worth it, though: everything we ate was fantastic, and our margaritas were delicious rather than being that sort of sickly-sweet nonsense you get at many places.

cafe el tapatio chicago margarita

Jeff suggested that we get ceviche as an appetizer. This made me fall in love with him a little more, since I'm absolutely crazy about ceviche and he knows it. This was definitely the right call: their ceviche was delicious! We went for the fish instead of the shrimp, since that's my preferred ceviche, and it came with saltines rather than tortilla chips, which I seem to recall is how it's often served in Mexico.

ceviche with saltines

For my entree, I ended up going with a combo platter (La Fabuloso Combo), since it came with my other favorite thing in the world: a chile relleno. It also came with carne asada and a flauta. I was pretty pumped about the carne asada, since I hardly ever cook red meat at home, and indifferent to the flauta, since those are often disappointing. This time, though, the flauta was almost as exciting as the chile relleno, which tells you a lot about how good their flautas are! The carne asada was also super delicious, but I expected that.

cafe el tapatio fabuloso combo
I cleaned this entire plate because I believe in my dreams.
Jeff's plates of fajitas.

Jeff had steak fajitas, and the bite I tried was definitely yummy!

I highly recommend this place if you're in the mood for a sit-down meal involving yummy Mexican food, margaritas, and the inevitable food coma that comes from cleaning your plate (even when you know you're full) because everything is so delicious.

lindy bop contessa yellow venice skirt bonsai kitten top
Top: Bonsai Kitten, from Doll Me Up
Skirt: Lindy Bop (available in blue here)
Belt: Pinup Girl Clothing
Boots: Seychelles, from forever ago.

What I wore: I really liked the outfit I wore to work that day, so I didn't change before going out. Even though I typically try to avoid Things With Waistbands when I know we're about to do some serious chowing down, this Lindy Bop skirt has enough room that I figured I'd manage. Happily, I was right, even though I had to buckle my belt on the last hole after our meal. I picked up this Bonsai Kitten top on super-sale from Doll Me Up and even though the ties aren't quite as long as I'd like them to be, I've been wearing it a lot. It's the perfect shade of red, and it's super comfy and easy to wear.

What's your favorite type of food? Mexican food is close to the top of the pops for me!

Follow this blog on:


  1. First of all, CONGRATULATIONS on a Cubs win! Wahoo! :) And I didn't know you used to live in LA! Very cool. This restaurant sounds incredible - I'll be suggesting it to my brother..who now lives in Chicago, too. He's quite the Mexican food lover himself. And super cute outfit - love that skirt!

  2. It was such an exciting, dramatic game, and I'm overjoyed that the Cubs FINALLY won! Is your brother a fan? Chicago is a great city for Mexican food lovers -- hope he's found some good spots in his new neighborhood!

    I'm seriously dreaming about this meal all over again, but I'll have to make do with reheating leftovers for lunch.

  3. So exciting that you've found a good Mexican place where you're at. I know the harsh pain of no good Mexican food from being in Australia for a year for school. The food you had looks and sounds amazing especially that ceviche! :D Congrats on your team winning too! It's always exciting when the team you're rooting for wins! Love your skirt too. Such a fun print! :D

  4. Yum yum yum! I love ceviche as well and I may have eaten it once every day while in Aruba! I had to get my fill of seafood while I could, ya know?

    Also, I love this outfit on you! That top is super cute - it's always so exciting to score a top on sale and fall in love with it!