Cantina Laredo, a Modern Mexican Marvel

Last week I had the pleasure of dining at Cantina Laredo, a Mexican restaurant just steps from the Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown in the River North neighborhood. To start, the restaurant is brand spankin’ new as of about a month ago. The space itself has a very contemporary, boutique ambiance which is surprisingly inviting and warm. Speaking of warm, there’s a large fireplace towards the back of the restaurant near the restrooms; I imagine this will be a comfort leading into the winter months!

As for the actual dining experience, everything was excellent. Upon being seated, I was greeted by an appetizing avocado in a beautiful silver bowl on the table. While I was salivating over the possibility of fresh guacamole, I was told by my Server that fresh guacamole is prepared tableside and would I like to place an order? But of course! I’ve been to many a restaurant that offered tableside salad service but the guacamole was a first for me. I invite you to order the same, you won’t be disappointed!

Fresh Quacamole being prepared at Cantina Laredo

Tableside Quacamole prepared fresh at Cantina Laredo

I also selected the Chicken Quesidillas AL Carbon as an appetizer. Simply delightful and probably one of the best Quesidillas I’ve ever had….makes my homemade ones made in the microwave with Kraft Cheese look like a joke.

Chicken Quesadillas Al Carbon at Cantina Laredo

Chicken Quesadillas Al Carbon at Cantina Laredo

For my main course, I selected Enchiladas De Barbacoa which is a slow-roasted brisket and monterey jack cheese enchiladas topped with ranchera sauce. Absolutely declicioso!

Enchiladas De Barbacoa at Cantina Laredo

Enchiladas De Barbacoa at Cantina Laredo

 

Not to name names, but it’s my belief that Cantina Laredo is THE BEST Mexican restaurant in the River North neighborhood of Downtown Chicago. When I dine, my main focus is: “is it yummy?” And “will it fill me up?” The answer to both of these questions is an emphatic “YES!” for Cantina Laredo! Do stop by for a meal soon!

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Dinner at Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab

 

My husband and I  recently went to Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab restaurant in Chicago. It’s just steps from the Hampton! As we entered the restaurant through the revolving doors, we were immediately drawn into the buzz and excitement of the crowded bar area. The dim lighting created a relaxing and elegant ambiance and the faint smell of charred meat radiating from the kitchen made us excited to sit down and start our experience. As we approached the host stand, we were immediately welcomed and were promptly shown to our table.

 

The Mortgage for Two is a MUST when going to Joe’s. This appetizer has a generous assortment of fresh seafood choices including two king crab pieces, two jumbo shrimp, two lobster cocktails, and a shrimp and scallop ceviche all presented on a bed of green lettuce and served with cocktail sauce, fresh mustard, and a lemon wedge. Very refreshing and enjoyable! A great mix of fresh seafood flavors and textures. The King crab was very tender and easy to extract from the shell. The jumbo shrimp had a great outer snap and paired well with both the mustard and fresh cocktail sauce. The lobster meat was very juicy and fresh, and the shrimp and scallop ceviche added a great color and citrus flavor to the dish. Overall, an excellent starter and portioned perfectly for two people.

 

For an entrée I ordered the Parmesan Crusted Halibut which includes a large tender parmesan crusted halibut fillet served alongside a small bowl of lemon cream cilantro sauce on a large white ovular plate. The halibut was prepared extremely well. It was very tender and flakey overall and the crisp parmesan crust added an excellent textural contrast to the tenderness of the fish. The lemon cream sauce paired very well with the halibut and added a refreshing citrus flavor. Delicious!

 

Don’t forget about dessert! The Banana Cream Pie with Foster Sauce was amazing. You receive a large fluffy piece of banana cream pie topped with a sprinkle of fresh pralines and served in a small pool of Foster sauce on a small round dish. Wow! A great dessert overall. Very generous portion size. The bananas were very fresh overall, and the whipped cream was light and not at all overpowering. The pralines added a great textural crunch and the Foster sauce really tied all ingredients together. Great take on a classic dessert!

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Happy Hour at the Terrace at the Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown

Thursday, August 4th marked the Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown’s very first Happy Hour Event at the Terrace, located on the 2nd floor.

Guests from Mesirow Financial enjoyed an urban, summer setting complete with a backdrop of exposed brick walls, tropical Bird of Paradise floral arrangements-compliments of Daniel’s Floral (http://www.danielsfloral.com/), the sounds of summer music, plus food and beverage to boot.

An Aerial View of the Terrace

Catering was provided by Big Delicious Planet (http://www.bigdeliciousplanet.com/) and consisted of a Mediterranean display of olives, meats, cheeses and vegetables, some favorites South of the Border and beef sliders. White Wine and Stella Artois were the crowd favorites for beverage selection.

The Terrace recently received new outdoor furniture from Classique Innovations , a vendor at nearby Merchandise Mart.

Classique Innovations Outdoor Furniture

 

If you are in the market to host a reception or  event at the Terrace, please contact the Sales Department at the Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown by calling 312-832-0330. Cheers!

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