So Saturday, I finally figured out that I wasnt headed way west to villa park but instead way north to Lake Villa Lake villa, it turns out is right by those harbingers of independently owned good food, Gurnee Mills and Great America. Without chowhound, we probably would have been yelling Ill have the Value meal # 2 through drivethru speaker, or worse sitting in a Rainforest Café, but fortunately I had Cathy2s write-up of Taq. El Norte in Waukegan in hand.
Just a few minutes to the east of Chilis, Outback and all the other places, Taq El Norte is in a little strip mall with a Del Ray grocery store. Its a fairly large busy, bustling place. Unfortunately we didnt see any signs of some of the weekend specials that Cathy had mentioned (I was hoping to try some of the chile relleno with shrimp and cheese, though I did see a nice whole snapper going by) but your basic taqueria menu, done fairly well. My wife was particularly happy with her enchiladas in mole , and also in salsa verde, and I was pretty happy with my lomo and lengua tacos. Im not sure the place is destination dining, but if youre going to either great America or Gurnee, youd be well advised to look it up.
One thing that struck me about taqueria el norte was the fact that though it was in no way gringoicized, the clientele was very mixed, say 40% Anglo, as if El Norte had coopted Waukegan rather than the reverse
Two doors down from el norte in the same strip mall is delight donuts, independently owned, very nice folks, and decent donuts.
By the way el norte was the start of a pretty good weekend of eating: also on the menu were lunch at tampopo, good as always (though on Sunday out of some of the items we would have liked to try) and dinner at tournesol (good French onion soup, pleasant roast chicken, veal kidneys were a little tough)
Tacos el Norte
2663 W. Grand Avenue
2693 Grand Ave
5665 N Lincoln Ave.
Tournesol French Bistro
4343 N Lincoln Ave