Drink of the week:
A Cuervo margarita on the rocks (no salt!) at Tarascas International
, 2585 N. Clark Street, on Monday night.
The damage: $3.50, discounted from $6.50. Bonus: You can pick from any of its six flavors, including mango and guava.
Thousands of bars in Chicago, why this one? Moving every year in college always felt justified. After freshman year, I couldn't take any more of the co-ed debauchery of the dorms, and when senior year rolled around, the opportunity to live in a house with five girls, two (unwelcome) snakes and shoddy plumbing provided too much fodder to pass up.
Fast-forward four years out of school and I find I'm still changing addresses more than once a year. Either I can't get enough of bubble wrap, or I'm crazy. Whatever the reason, I stumbled upon Tarascas while scoping out my new 'hood, and it doesn't take much more than cheap margaritas to convince me I made the right relocating choice.
How it went down: Okay, so not all cheap margaritas warrant packing up hundreds of books you'll never read again. This one does. With two ounces of Cuervo, two counts of Cointreau (a tangy triple sec) and a homemade mix of lime juice and bitters, Tarascas' 'rita packs a buzz and flavor that mocks other spots' store-bought mixed version. Poured over ice, almost to the point of overflowing, the concoction quenched my thirst with each crisp, citrus-y sip. As I scooped up the smoky salsa with the complimentary chips, I tamed the dip's bite with a swig of my drink; I emptied round one well before my tacos arrived.
Would I want to become a regular? Tarascas' corner location makes for prime patio seating, so I'll definitely come back to sit outside. Except for the obligatory flat screens, the interior felt a bit like a grandmother's dining room, complete with frilly curtains. Though its name Tarascas International indicates some kind of fusion fare, the menu is heavy on standard Mexican dishes plus a few Caribbean plates with plantains. The food didn't wow me, but I could've sucked on my margarita's lime for supper and been happy. I hear the place offers deals on jumbo margaritas ($4 off any 45-ounce margarita you want) on Tuesdays. I may never move again.
Dana Kavan scours the city for drink deals so good you'll offer to buy a round and creative libations that outshine your average on-the-rocks concoctions. Want to give Dana tips on where to rack up a bar tab? Share your finds before her next night out.