Las Cumbres/La Rosita Crystal Lake
After reading some pretty great reviews on here (BillP) and other boards, I tried this today. I was really torn on where to go, La Rosita being my first thought. I decided to do a little taste test. I went to La Rosita and ordered a carne asada taco. Someone else had pointed out they are pretty hit or miss, which I find to be very true. Today's taco was okay. Then I drove over to Las Cumbres on Grant St. Downtown Crystal Lake, a few blocks away. While I alway find La Rosita's counter help to be absolutely surly, and often tables not cleaned up, Las Cumbres was very, very clean and the husband/wife were amazingly charming. I ordered this taco to-go also. I sat in the car, opened it up and took a bite of the most phenomenal taco ever!! The steak wasn't fried little pieces, but good sized pieces that were very tender, and very peppery flavored. And lots of it! They somehow managed to get the tortilla hot, and it stayed that hot till the last bite. After I finished I did something I've never done before. I drove back, and told the owners how wonderful the taco experiment was, and honestly, I don't think I'll ever eat at another place, locally. Normally, the gringo in me wants hard shell with all the trimmings. I wouldn't even think to ask if they have hard shells, it was that good. Thanks, Bill!!!
El Burrito over near Rte. 14 has gotten better too. For sushi, Kyoto has seemed a lot better. And Kiku on Randall at Huntley was great the one time we got there. For breakfast coffee, Benedicts on Williams St. in downtown CL is pretty darn good. Still like to go to Burnt Toast South down on Randall by the tollway. And the Italian place in downtown is okay once in a while.
That's where we've sort of landed lately.
Ironically, we just came back from Las Cumbres and were talking about you - how glad we were that we had your recommendation for this place!!! We never would have found it, ever! And it's so wonderful...Haven't tried Kiku, but plan to soon. Like Burnt Toast, but I think we enjoy Benedicts even more. I think the Italian place you're talking about is the second Bella Cucina (algonquin's the first), we ate at the Algonquin one years ago and it was okay also. But we never went back..........not a wow factor I guess? We still stick mostly with Kaminari in LITH , but I'm pretty thrilled to have the Sushi Station right near Burnt Toast. We used to go down to Rolling Meadows. If you haven't tried it, it's fun and good. The food comes by on a conveyor belt, and you get charged by the color of the plate. You can also order from the sushi chef or off the menu. I've also really enjoyed Asian Bistro next to the now defunct Wickes on Randall. I think the food is really great, some Chinese, some Malaysian, Korean, Japanese. They also have a lunch buffet 6 days a week for 6 or 7 bucks with a stir fry station. And the Korean spicy soup is to die for.