The birth of a baby in February has kept me from eating out much this year, but my wife and I took advantage of a visit to the in-laws in Waukegan yesterday to do a little investigating of the chow scene up that way.
Waukegan has a huge Mexican community and a commensurately large number of Mexican restaurants. Cathy2 and Zim and others have posted on a handful of them but I think there's still plenty of snooping to be done up there.
We were only able to try one place yesterday, but it was very promising. Antojitos Tonatico is a small place at the corner of Jackson and Glen Rock (just south of Washington), very near the grand old Waukegan high school. The interior is very dim with a dozen tables and a handwritten menu above a small kitchen filled with older Mexican women. Every table was taken when we arrived. Outside there is small patio overlooking the parking lot and an otherwise fairly residential block.
They claim to be gordita and sope specialists so my wife and I each ordered one of each. I had an ava (lima bean) gordita and a chorizo y papa (sausage and potato) sope. My wife had a cheese gordita and a tinga (chicken) sope. I am no connaisseur of gorditas or sopes, but these struck me as very good. The gorditas and sopes themselves seemed somehow lighter, nuttier, and less greasy than those I have had at Aguascalientes in Little Village. And the fillings/toppings were great. The lima beans had an interesting bite but the chorizo y papa was the real standout, a perfectly seasoned, toothsome potato stew.
The menu also features menudo and pozole (of various colors) on the weekends and chili rellenos anytime.
I certainly wouldn't say this is worth a trip up from Chicago, but for those up in north Lake County, it's certainly worth a detour and further investigation.
Elsewhere in Waukegan, on Washington near Jackson, I noticed a little taqueria advertising flor de calabza quesadillas and huitlacoche. Maybe next time.
1102 Glen Rock (at corner of Jackson)