I stepped out of DFW for a roundabout to Chicago this past weekend. Bummed I was missing the Cinco De Mayo early action in my hometown but I got the urge to partake in a CitySwarm Margarita Crawl pre-fix margaritas and dinner (Good time for a Texan). I am learning how much the South West is sure to impress. The evening kicked off at a cozy, trendy spot “D’Noche” serving up some Latin cuisine and damn good margaritas. Viewing a live demonstration from freshly made margarita, I felt home away from home.
The Trolley filled up with plenty of locals stocked with BYOB cases of beer. On board we had an interesting quiz (yes our team won) Come on I live minutes from Esparza’s “The Margarita Capital of Texas”, us Texans bleed Margaritas. The questions that was simplistic for me but stooped others, “when was the frozen margarita machine invented”? Dallas restaurateur Mariano Martinez put Dallas on the map when he invented the World’s first frozen margarita machine on May 11th 1971.
Our next stop was my favorite; a local spot I would of never picked being an out of towner. Las Palmas is located in Wicker Park Bucktown neighborhood (I suggest you bookmark) where you can dine like a Chicago local. This place was very chill with cleverly placed vivid artwork and illuminating red lights accented throughout. This space was for relaxing and unwinding. The back was a much different vibe, I felt like I was dining in a family member’s sunroom; comforting and unforgettable.
We sampled the new Spring menu, Queso Fundido, Cochinita Pibil and Chicken Barbacoa tacos. The chicken had a hint of ginger and lime; it was innovating and fresh tasting. Our margarita choice was the lovely Pepinada made with fresh cucumber-lime and Sauza Hornitos Silver and Gran Gala. Good eats and sprits, and plenty of interesting conversations at the table with a lovely couple sitting across from us. I chatted with a former SMU student vocalist and guitarist Michael Turner of the band JIVA. Rocking his Cowboy boots he bought back in Dallas (as I stated before I felt at home Texas vibe surrounded me).
The night ended at Ay Chiwowa, a Mexican-themed dive bar. With over 80 tequilas, signature cocktails and late night grub, I was planning on closing down the house. The 56 ounce party glass, AKA punch bowl, was on my bucket list. This place was one of the funkiest bars with festive candles burned on every table. The room coalesced with dark Damask print wall paper and Day of the Dead skulls along with interesting art of vintage Mexican Wrestlers painted on the brick. Tequila fanatics fancy yourself here.
It made sense to take a tour out of town, I would never have known where to even begin in Chicago. It was a nice treat to hit the neighborhood scene and meet locals. It also made me realize that I am not doing this back home. Hassle free evening, VIP service and knowledgeable people guiding you to the City’s spotlighted scenes around town. My new quest is to start being a tourist in my own territory.