If you know me in real life, you know a few things: I am fond of the color green, I inhale pie, I adore Bruce Hornsby and I love a good taco.
So, I am always on the lookout for tacos, while listening to Mandolin Rain, most likely while rockin’ a green cardi most days of the week.
Now a good writer would time this piece around Cinco de Mayo but a good EATER would not.
I would like to thank my friend Lisa, actually, for giving me the idea for the latest installment of “What to eat in Lake County.”
Which, if I am being brutally honest, is why I am writing this in February and not in May.
Because by May if you have to read one more 5 GREAT PLACES TO GET FALAFEL, you may not be able to look me in the eye any more.
I need to level with all of you here.
My role at Chicago Parent changed back in December, quietly.
It was exciting for me and it took a cooler and more serious direction.
My writing role here became more about the area in which I live and less about, well, me.
So please forgive the lack of personal anecdotes but you can get those over at my personal blog here.
But if you want to know where to get a killer pickle on a stick in the county of Lake or where to take your dog to get his toes trimmed, I am the one to talk to.
Well, maybe not me, but I know people.
OK, well not know people per se, but I know people who know people.
My people’s people have connections.
Anyway, back to tacos.
So I did some research, which is code for taking an informal poll on my personal Facebook wall.
It’s a hard life being a “journalist.”
By the way, someone called me a “journalist” for the first time last week.
I don’t know how I feel about it.
It kind of felt like I was dressed up for Halloween when they called me a “journalist.”
Oh, and I looked behind me when they looked at me and said it.
Great places to get tacos in the county up north.
While wearing a green sweater.
It is El Famous. El Famous-ly delicious!!
We used to call these “burritos as big as your head” back in the day but they are “famous” for being home of the football size burrito.
They aren’t lying.
You won’t be able to eat it all.
I will, but you won’t because you are normal.
My stomach will be studied by the Smithsonian or whatever museum that studies weird crap after you are dead.
There are many locations in the Chicago area, not just in Lake County, so no doubt you have heard of it or even been to one. The one in Lake County is located at 3210 Belvidere Road in Waukegan, NOT Park City, as everyone thinks it is. It is officially Waukegan as listed on the website.
In hindsight, a.k.a. after sending it to my very patient editor ( I love you, Jackie), I realized that I wrote about my love for burritos in a taco post.
Yes, I realize that a taco and a burrito are two entirely different things.
I’ve been on meds this week people … refer to my home blog … give me this.
But the burritos are mighty tasty so do give them a whirl.
Apparently, there are like 50 Tacos El Norte’s in the Chicago area but they aren’t a chain.
Not at ALL confusing.
So here it is, laid out all easy-like for you.
Tacos El Norte in Round Lake Beach is the best one HANDS DOWN.
You are welcome.
I have been to four of them. The research was tough, I know.
It was the least I could do.
Well, actually the “research” was done over 15 years.
And it wasn’t actually “research” but just “eating out.”
Still, I was happy to be of service to you.
The salsa is amazing, the margaritas will get you drunk on number one and the service is amazing.
They let my girls practice their Spanish without giving them eye rolls and they make us feel at home. It is our favorite family restaurant.
It will be yours too.
Tacos El Norte is tucked into a strip mall next to the Jewel in Round Lake Beach at 906 E. Rollins Road.
OK, if you want to get all fancy-like, this is the place to go.
Date night, girls night out or double date, I have done all three here.
This is why I love this place the most: it has a patio with a heater.
The food is pretty great. I mean, I think I am more of a Tacos El Norte fan but if they had a patio with a heater, I would never travel south of Round Lake Beach for a taco.
It doesn’t take much to make me happy.
A heater on a patio means that you can sit outside on a crappy February evening.
That means when winter sucks and you can’t afford to get on a plane to get out of Chicago, you can drink your ‘rita on a patio in Libertyville-friggin’ Illinois and feel like you are in, I DON’T KNOW, Louisville, Kentucky?
Not at all Mexico because HELLO FEBRUARY.
But it won’t feel at all like Libertyville because tequila and patio heaters.
This, too, can be yours at 633 N. Milwaukee Avenue in Louisville/Libertyville.
I went here a few years ago with my daughter, her soccer friend and her friend’s mom for a dinner out.
It was fun because the people we were with were fun, the service was just OK, not worth mentioning, BUT the views were amazing.
This is the thing: go here ONLY in the summer because the restaurant in the winter is not really worth the food, in my humble opinion.
Sit on the lake, with a pitcher, chips and salsa but go to Tacos El Norte FIRST for food.
The restaurant is hidden at 200 Forest Avenue in Fox Lake but trust me, the views are worth it once you get there.
Remember, you want the patio seating so wait until warmer weather to go.
Which is why real writers would publish this in May.
While in Fox Lake, maybe hit Burrito Express for food before getting your drink on while watching the boats float by.
My friend Rhiannon said the chicken tacos with cilantro cheese and lime are good and I trust her judgment so you should, too.
It doesn’t have a website and those are the best places in my humble opine.
It is located at 15 S. US Highway 12 in Fox Lake.
So those are THE places to hit for now in Lake County to get your taco on but they aren’t the only ones.
I am thinking of offering another edition come May.
Because we know you won’t be sick to death of hearing me run on and on about food by then.
Or just invite me to your homes for dinner to shut me up.