It doesn’t happen that often, but on occasion we’ll head out for happy hour drinks and appetizers after work during the week. Normally I don’t partake in such events as I have softball, or just plain don’t feel like it, but with a friend for New York in town there was no reason not to. I took the train to work for the first time ever just so that I didn’t have to leave my car at my office and come all the way back to get it. My office is a little further west than Central Standard, so it didn’t make sense to drive… The train is also not that convenient, but surprisingly wasn’t that bad. But enough about my commute, let’s talk about the food I was willing to try at Central Standard.

I enjoy tacos… kind of. I enjoy very simple tacos that contain meat, cheese and lettuce; the Taco Bell recipe if you will. In high school we used to go to Taco Bell every Friday after school and I would get the same thing, 2 soft tacos and an order of nachos. Needless to say my taco threshold was pretty low. I recently started eating more “gourmet” tacos, if you will, which consisted of more than just steak, cheese and lettuce… although that’s still what I get at Chipotle. Taco Diablo in Evanston has quickly become one of our go-to spots in Evanston, but the words “Al Pastor” had always weirded me out… mainly because I didn’t know what the hell it was. It wasn’t until we did happy hour at Big Star in Wicker Park that I mustered up the [liquid] courage to give Al Pastor a try; it was delicious.

Fast forward to last night and happy hour at Central Standard in Chicago’s River North area. From 3pm – 7pm Al Pastor tacos are $2 each… that’s not a bad deal considering I wasn’t really that hungry and didn’t really want to order a full meal of anything. The tacos were pretty basic, just smoked pork, al pastor sauce and pineapple relish; I’m pretty sure there was coleslaw and some rojas peppers or something in there as well. They were pretty solid tacos though. I had to take off some of the coleslaw stuff on top of it, but the pineapple was pretty good. Big Star has very similar al pastor tacos, with the pineapple, so I don’t know if that’s a normal thing or what, but it was solid. Along with the tacos, I tried their Poutine… which is basically just potatoes with cheese and foie gras gravy. Apparently, according to the menu, there was also smoke duck leg, cheese curds and a fried egg, but I didn’t get a chance to try any of that since I was busy eating my tacos.

I wasn’t quite as adventurous on this outing as I have been on some of the others… which makes for a pretty boring post, but the tacos were solid and the drinks were strong. It’s always nice to see friends when they are in town for business… now I think we have to make it back to NYC again…

[Sorry for the dark picture of the tacos, I hate taking pictures in restaurants]

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