Weekend Planner: National Taco Day and Oktoberfest Farewell

Celebrate National Taco Day at Ay Chiwowa


Here's a very important holiday for you to prioritize: National Taco Day is October 4. So get your act together and your appetite prepared for a taco binge. One of the perfect destinations to celebrate is Ay Chiwowa, River North's boisterous Mexican haunt which recently underwent a menu overhaul thanks to dexterous chef Kevin Hickey. The crafty chef has whipped up an impressive new taco selection that contains items like tortilla-crusted cod with spicy cactus "tartar" sauce and shredded cabbage relish; chicken tinga tacos with queso fresco, cilantro, cebollitas, and pickled jalapenos; Guanajato BBQ pulled pork tacos with tamarind and smoked jalapeno BBQ pickled onions and cilantro, and chicharrones; crispy slab bacon al pastor tacos (!!) with pickled pineapple-sage salsa and achiote; and a Chino Latino taco special comprised of bulgogi beef, radish and cabbage kimchi, Korean pepper paste, sesame leaf ahi tuna, kewpie, sambal soy, seaweed, kaiware sprouts, tempura crunch sweet and sour pork, shredded lettuce, cilantro, and Chinese mustard. Well that's a mouthful. 

Ay Chiwowa
(Chicken tinga tacos at Ay Chiwowa)

And at Takito Kitchen
Since that is clearly not enough taco action, you should head to Takito Kitchen to beef up your intake even further. The Wicker Park staple is bringing back one of its primary guest favorites for the holiday, a steak-flavored throwback available from 11:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. The taco features beer tortillas wrapped around Wagyu beef and topped with Maytag bleu cheese, avocado, bacon, and Urban Till lettuce.

Say Farewell to Oktoberfest at Jake Melnick's

From one culture (Mexico) to another one entirely (Germany), it's time to wish Oktoberfest farewell until next year. No better place to bid adieu than at Jake Melnick's Corner Tap, which is hosting one of its biggest beer events ever in honor of Oktoberfest's finale. Taking place October 3 at 6:00 p.m., the event entails an array of unique beer tappings, along with food specials, each one inspired by German traditions and flavors. Beers include Solemn Oath Oktoberface, Left Hand Oktoberfest, Surly Fest Bier, Two Brothers Atom Smasher, Victory Fest Beer, and Ayinger Oktoberfest, among others. Food-wise, expect jumbo brats on pretzel buns, mustard-splashed fries, and pretzel and beer cheese baskets. 
- Matt Kirouac