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The Chicago Traveler

Cinco de Mayo Margaritas

by Matt B on May 5th, 2007

'Feliz Cinco de Mayo! This regional holiday commemorates the victory of Mexican forces against the Battle of Puebla in 1862. While the holiday is considered relatively minor throughout most of Mexico, it has taken on an incredible cultural significance here in the United States. This is partly due to the victory’s symbol of overcoming adversity. The day has become an opportunity for people of all backgrounds to honor and celebrate the Mexican-American culture.


Of course, a popular beverage during this celebration is the margarita. This concoction of tequila, triple sec, and lime juice seems simple, but some restaurants and bars seem to have better recipes than others. So who has the best?

Maiz in Humboldt Park offers a menu full of traditional recipes that are all very affordable. The lime-green walls and terra cotta stenciling all add to the atmosphere. Be sure to try the homemade corn tortillas, huitlacoche quesadillas, or sopes-moist masa patties topped with meat and vegetables. One of the most interesting drinks on the menu is the caf' de ollo, coffee made in a clay pot with vanilla and cinnamon. The bar also offers mojitos, sangria, and several cervezas.

But we’re here to talk about margaritas! The simplicity in Maiz’s margarita is what makes it noteworthy. Served in a salt-rimmed, fishbowl-like glass with a batch of ice cubes, this drink isn’t meant to be fancy, but customers find comfort in its straightforwardness. This traditional drink will cost about $7, but remember to bring cash; the small restaurant doesn’t accept credit cards.

Music hounds head to La Justicia on Friday nights, where bands take over the dining room to play rock en espa'ol. This is no concert hall, so prepare for an energetic and boisterous audience' who have probably been enjoying the restaurant’s fine margaritas. The Little Village eatery offers a two-shot special for $7.50, adding an extra kick to the smooth and sweet treat.

Looking for something beyond the traditional lime? Platiyo offers a wide variety of margarita flavors. Raspberry, mango, strawberry, pineapple, orange-the fresh fruit is neither too sweet nor too intense. Keep an eye out for the margarita of the week. And while this Lakeview spot’s drinks are twisted, the food stays traditional, including bay scallop ceviche, flautas, grilled salmon spiced with poblano and tomatillo corn sauce, chicken breast with Chihuahua cheese and spicy corn, seafood stew with yellow mole, and guajillo chile-braised pork.

Photo credit: PDPhoto

Maiz ($): 1041 N California Ave; 773-276-3149
Tues - Sun: 5:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Street parking available
Public trans: Bus # 65, 70

La Justicia ($): 3901 W 26th St; 773-522-0041
Mon - Thurs: 10:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Fri: 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 a.m.
Sat: 9:00 a.m. - 12 midnight
Sun: 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.
Street parking available
Public trans: Bus # 60, 82

Platiyo ($$): 3313 N Clark St; 773-477-6700
Mon - Thurs: 5:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Fri - Sat: 5:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.
Sun: 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. (brunch), 3:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Difficult street parking, valet available
Public trans: Bus #22 or Red Line train (Belmont, Addison) or Metra train (Belmont)

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POSTED IN: Restaurants

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