I love to cook, but there are some days I just do not have the time or energy.  You know those days when you have several different responsibilities pulling for your attention and there is not enough time to eat.  Sometimes life is hectic and you just have to figure it out.

When planning my day, I try to incorporate when I am going to fit in a meal. Spending your money on going out to eat, should not mean sacrificing taste.  Over the past few weeks, I have had a chance to pop in for some good eats at a number of locations while making my rounds throughout Chicagoland.

I found family owned El Meson, a Mexican restaurant in Berwyn, Illinois at a summer festival.  When they say all hands on deck, they mean it with the whole family helping to run this business.  These awesome folks offer tasty gorditas and other Mexican standards for you to nosh on.  The joys of living in Berwyn have also brought me Zacatacos.  This is a surefire location for my love of taco salads and steak tacos.  They have never failed me and I appreciate all the goodness they have brought into my life.

In the west loop, I visited the Packing House.  I was there for a networking event and decided to tryout the restaurant after leaving the rooftop deck.  My lamb had potential to be good but the portion size was a bit off for me and the buttermilk mashed potatoes were way too salty.  My friend had the halibut with a spring onion-potato cake, arugula, and a mustard cream sauce that was excellent.  The restaurant is very beautiful and if they tighten up some loose ends, this could become an exciting Chicago hot spot.

My favorite food find was at the Dana Hotel.  Treat yourself to yummy cocktails and their sesame chicken wings.  I paired it with a spinach salad so I could feel good about myself.  It was a highlight for my very needy taste buds.   I have since been inspired to create a sesame chicken salad recipe.  Look for it in future postings.

Petterino’s is a hot spot for all you theatre buffs.  I fell in love with their crab cakes and homemade breads.  I had come downtown to Nordstrom Rack to get a purse I had fallen in love with but failed to buy.  Of course, I went back and it was gone.  That goodness they were there to console me after my loss.  I definitely want to go back and try some more items from their menu.

Last, but certainly not least was my visit to Maya Del Sol in Oak Park, Illinois.  I consider it a fusion restaurant, although I have seen it listed as Mexican.  The drinks are always excellent.  Definitely try their ceviche and guacamole.  I am a big fan of their black beans and rice.  They do so many things well, but I was disappointed with their steak tacos.  I did however enjoy their salmon.  They know how to make fish taste good.

I am not interested in going out to eat everyday, but when I do, please let it be good!