Cafés and Cantinas

As a third shift worker, Friday is my favorite day of the week. It doesn’t matter that yes, technically, I’ve worked the same five day work week that most others do. I just love feeling like I got a jumpstart on my weekend.

So when a celebration like Cinco de Mayo falls on a Friday, it’s twice as fun.

I began my day with a stop at the Café at the Pfister Hotel on E. Wisconsin Avenue.

Café at the Pfister

My cousin and I sit down there to just grab coffee and catch up every few Fridays or so, but this time, our server informed us there were new food items on the menu, including fried avocado tacos. I’m not quite sure whether she had me at fried, avocado or taco, but I was sold!

The tacos were delicious. I loved crunching into the avocado, which was perfectly ripe. The tacos were so easy to pick up, and disappeared within five minutes.

I think it’s safe to say I’ll be back for another round at some point in the very, very near future.

That wasn’t the only taco excursion I made this Cinco de Mayo. In fact, I was fully aware when we ordered the tacos at the Café that I would be ordering another round of tacos just a few hours later… no regrets about either order!

A group of friends from work made plans for lunch/dinner at Bel Air Cantina on N. Downer Avenue. With all of our shifts ending at different times throughout the week, it’s pretty rare that we can all coordinate free time together, but somehow, this one came together perfectly.

The place was absolutely packed by the time I walked in Friday afternoon, and the crowds got bigger as the day went on. While waiting for a table, I went over to the bar to order a drink.

Bel Air Cantina – Downer

I was promptly carded. I chalked it up to the fact that the restaurant happened to be near a college campus, shrugged it off and gave the guy my ID. The rest of my friends arrived. They ordered. They were not carded. Just me. Come to think of it, this may be a recurring theme in the blog.

Anyways, I can’t really complain too much, because my strawberry margarita was delicious! I’ll admit, of all the alcoholic drinks to order, tequila is not high on my list. But add a little hint of strawberry and I’m good to go! I ordered the first drink on the rocks, and later tried a blended strawberry-mango margarita. I’ve never had mango in a margarita before, but I’ll definitely be trying it again soon!

Now onto the meal:

After spending way too much (or not enough?) time eating chips and dips, we eventually got around to the $2.00 tacos special that we came there for in the first place. I once again ordered… a fried avocado and bacon taco. I’d like to say it was so I could compare and contrast two restaurants’ fried avocados, but honestly, I’m just hopelessly in love with avocado anything.

Bel Air Cantina – Downer

I also ordered queso asado and pollo verde tacos. The pollo verde has become one of my FAVORITE tacos at Bel Air Cantina. With a full page of taco options in Bel Air’s menu, I do try to mix it up whenever I go, but I always order the pollo verde for a guaranteed good dish.

After a couple hours of fun at Bel Air, I called it a night… at 5:30 pm. I mentioned that whole overnight thing, right? Well, I went to bed on a full and satisfied stomach, falling asleep almost instantly. After a few hours, I felt refreshed and ready to begin my next adventure: assembling a Kentucky Derby-themed meal for the 143rd Run for the Roses!

Stay tuned, I’ll be sharing a look at my dishes and the fantastic recipes that inspired them soon!

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