The Best Margarita in Chicago

When you work on the weekend, the rest of the week gets turned around a little.  So to start my own personal weekend, first I popped over to check the used books at Unique Boutique‘s weekly Monday half price sale. Then it was time for Mexican food.

weekend-bookPicking out one of my “new” thrift shop dime books, the Museum of Science and Industry’s  A Guide to 150 Years of Chicago Architecture, I curled up in a booth in my favorite Mexican restaurant to look at the pictures of Chicago’s epic history and munch on salsa and chips as I waited for the food.

The Chicago area has more than a few good Mexican restaurants tucked away in it’s neighborhoods. There’s the Mexican neighborhood near the Mexican cultural center around 18th Street. There’s the little business district south of Blue Island on Olde Western Avenue, under the regular Western Avenue bridge. Then there’s Cocula.

weekend-lupita1The most important thing about a Mexican restaurant is the salsa, and Cocula’s salsa is consistently perfect. No matter the season, it always has fresh cilantro in it.

There are several restaurants in the chain, but the one I go to isn’t even hip enough to get its picture on the website.  When you walk in you see a room full of carved chairs painted in primary colors, four TV screens in the four corners of the room, and the ubiquitous painting of the Virgin of Guadalupe on the unused fireplace.  As a bonus, not all the staff speaks English, and neither do the customers.  This is clearly a Mexican favorite, although you will see a few gringos like me and a few blacks from surrounding neighborhoods.

Besides the salsa, the enchiladas are perfect, the tacos are perfect, the fajitas are perfect, the shrimp cocktail with the avocados on top and limes on the side is to die for.  Polzole is available on the weekends. They have flan. And if you want to curl up in a booth and read, they don’t mind; they just keep the salsa refilled.

Did I mention the Margaritas are the best Chicago (or any other city) has to offer?

cocula-table cocula-booth cocula-windowsill

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