While I still have a lot of Chicago Mexican restaurants to check off my list, I think Mercadito will always hold the crown as my number one. They have my all-time favorite taco on their menu (the camarón featured below) and some of the most unique margaritas I’ve ever tried. I also devour their awesome mango guacamole each time I’m there! While Mercadito is a little on the expensive side, you are sure to never leave hungry as these tacos are certainly belly-fillers. Here is what I got the last time I was there for dinner, but their menu has so many options and you can never go wrong with what you order!

We started off with a duo of their house-made guacamole. Choosing the Traditional, that had tomatillo pico de gallo, jalapeño, garlic, key-lime, cilantro and the Mango with jícama, chipotle, pico de gallo were two very wise decisions!


I’ve been trying to work my way through their cocktail menu, so each time I go I try a couple different ones. The last time I went I got the most unique margarita I’ve ever tried called the “Smokey Pablo” which reminded me of a blueberry barbecue sauce– very different! This time I went with two that were more refreshing. The first was the V-9  which had pineapple, greens, ginger and lemon. It was quite tasty.


The second margarita I tried was their Pera Te which had black tea infused tequila, pear, lime juice and agave nectar. While I didn’t like this one as much as the V-9, it was still enjoyable!


For dinner we did what most people do when they come to Mercadito- share the tacos to try as many as possible before getting stuffed! The first to come out was the Estilo Baja with beer battered mahi-mahi, some spicy aioli and mexican-style coleslaw. YUM.


The next taco we ordered was my personal favorite, the Camarón. I mostly like this because of the always cooked-to-perfection tender pieces of shrimp and the really spicy sauce they drench this taco in. It is heaven on a homemade tortilla!


The last taco we got was on special that night and incorporated some Italian flavors, which I can never say no to! This was a meatball taco with mozzarella, basil and cherry tomatoes. I’ve never had anything like it, it was so so good! And it was a good thing we ended on this one because it was the most filling out of all of them.


If you are ever craving some never-fail-delicious Mexican in Chicago, Mercadito is the way to go!


Shrimp and Rice Cakes


Hope everyone had a great holiday filled with family, fun and FOOD! I know I did. The only post-holiday dilemma I seem to run across is left overs. This year, we had a giant shrimp cocktail platter for our appetizer that was fresh and delicious. The only problem was that there was a lot of fresh seafood leftover that we had to eat before we left for vacation the next day. I decided to whip up some shrimp and rice cakes for dinner and they turned out great! I served these for dinner but I think they’d be perfect for a quick, crowd pleasing appetizer too! I adapted the recipe from Old Bay, my favorite seafood seasoning from Maryland.

Shrimp & Rice Cakes 

3/4 cup flour

2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup cooked shrimp, chopped

2 teaspoons shallots, chopped and sauteed until translucent

1/2 cup cooked brown rice

1/2 cup milk

3 tablespoons butter, melted

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped

1 cup of panko breadcrumbs


1 cup of low fat sour cream

1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

Set oven to 350 degrees.

Begin by removing tails from the shrimp and chopping into small pieces.


Add cooked and cooled rice, flour, Old Bay seasoning and baking powder to the chopped shrimp and stir to combine.


Next, add the wet ingredients: milk, butter and eggs and stir to combine. Sprinkle in basil.


Form into flattened patties and dip both sides into panko bread crumbs until well coated. Arrange on a greased cookie sheet.


Bake for 6 minutes and then flip the cakes to other side, allow to bake for 4-6 minutes on opposite side.


Serve warm with sour cream and Old Bay sauce and ENJOY!