Amelia’s

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I love Mexican food, but I haven’t really reviewed any basic Mexican items. I have posts on Tex-Mex and Nuevo Latino cuisine, but this is the first on standard Mexican fare. Very few things comfort me as much as a plate full of enchiladas, beans, rice, and some greens. My range of satisfaction on this type of meal is huge. And if you throw in a nice outdoor patio and relatively uniform application of sour cream, you can’t go wrong.

Amelia’s is located at 1235 W. Grand, right at the corner of Grand and Ogden. If the continuum of Mexican food in Chicago ranged from Taco Bell on the low end to Topolobampo on the high end, Amelia’s would be closer to Taco Bell. In fact, these enchiladas are closer to Taco Bell’s then they are to Uncle Julio’s, which is disappointing for a neighborhood place. So yes, I’m grouping Amelia’s in with the chains.

But the pictured enchilada plate was still darn good. And for some reason, despite the fact that the outdoor patio is at the confluence of two very busy streets, I still like it. I’m not going to go off on this place like the crew at Yelp. Check out some of these reviews. I think they’re a little harsh. I tune out people that say, “Oh, that’s not real Mexican, it sucks.” Well, what do you expect, Mexico is like 1,500 miles away. Much of that culinary knowledge gets lost along the way. It’s part of living in the USA, you have to accept the fact that we’re going to mess up ethnic foods about 74% of the time.

Sure, there are many authentic places in Chicago, like the aforementioned Topolobampo and, my favorite, Maiz. Go to them. Enjoy them. I will, do, am, is, are… But don’t tell me you haven’t enjoyed bad Mexican food for most of your life. I dare you. Look me in the eye and say “I’ve never had a burrito from Taco Bell that I liked.” You can’t do it. Because when you combine spicy beef, beans, cheese, onions, and red sauce with a flour tortilla, it’s all good my friends.