141. Barrington EATS: Cinco de Mayo a La Hacienda

Cinco de Mayo is just days away and, if you haven’t made plans to celebrate, we have some ideas for you. The Mexican holiday recognizes the Battle of Puebla in 1862, when the Mexican Army had an unlikely victory over French forces. I think most Americans love to share in the holiday simply to have a day to celebrate our love of Mexican food and drinks and you’ll find your fiesta at several Barrington area hotspots this week, starting with La Hacienda at Deer Park Town Center.

La Hacienda will be buzzing this Cinco de Mayo thanks to a festive holiday menu and live entertainment…

Their Cinco de Mayo menu includes special drinks, a Mariachi band from 5 – 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 5th, and some of my favorite dishes featured for the holiday, including cheese dip with Jalapenos for $4.99 ($3.99 without jalapenos), Chipotle Shrimp Tacos for $12.99. Also on their special holiday menu, you’ll find Echiladas Oaxaquenas and Pancho Villa, U.S. choice skirt steak served on a bed of grilled onions with a cheese enchilada, Spanish rice, refried beans and guacamole for $12.99.

La Hacienda is also well-known for their Chicken Soup with Lime and their margaritas, including traditional top shelf margaritas, Pomegranate Margaritas, and the new CHAMBORD MARGARITA made with Chambord, 
Blanco Tequila, Triple Sec and Sweet and sour.

You’ll find La Hacienda at Deer Park Town Center, 21520 W. Field Parkway.  For more information or to make a reservation, call 847-550-9413.

Another great place to celebrate Cinco de Mayo is at La Mesa Mexican Restaurant at 243 W. Northwest Highway in Barrington.

La Mesa in Barrington, IllinoisThe owner, Hector Vargas, is an Antonio Banderas lookalike ;).  He moved to the states almost 30 years ago and he’s very visible in his restaurant, cooking and serving  dishes inspired by his home town in Mexico.  Stop by for their fabulous chips and salsa, margaritas and daily specials. If you’re looking for something unique and authentic Mexican to try on their menu, opt for the Chicken Veracruz. The chicken is served in a rich, flavorful sauce that’s not easy to duplicate.

To learn more about La Mesa, read our previous 365 Barrington post,  Celebra el Cinco de Mayo a La Mesa.

And if you’d prefer to celebrate the holiday at home, here are two of my favorite Mexican recipes to get your party popping, Mamaschetta appetizer and Ground Beef Enchiladas…



  • 2 packages cornbread mix
  • ½ can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tomato, seeded and diced
  • ½ onion, seeded and diced
  • One half avocado
  • Cilantro (one small bunch)
  • 4 oz. cream cheese
  • 2 oz. sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt

Prepare double batch of cornbread according to package directions. Bake in 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 square pan. Cool and cut into strips approximately 1 ½ inch wide.

Then cut each strip into ½ inch width squares. Combine beans, onions, tomato, vinegar, oil and garlic salt. Combine sour cream and cream cheese. Spread cream cheese mixture onto each cornbread square.

Top each with a spoonful of bean/tomato salsa mixture. Garnish each with a small slice of avocado and a small sprig of cilantro.

Ground Beef Enchiladas


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 teaspoons taco seasoning
  • 8 tortillas
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 & 1/2 cups shredded cheddar/jack cheese
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons taco seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt

Brown ground beef. Add 1/3 cup water and with 3 teaspoons taco seasoning.

For sauce, combine tomato paste, oil, 2 teaspoons taco seasoning, hot sauce, flour, water, and garlic salt in pan on stove. Bring to boil; simmer 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

In large bowl, combine beef, tomatoes and onions. Place equal amounts of beef mixture and 1/8 cup cheese in center of each tortilla, roll up and place in pan, seam side down. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Ladle on enough sauce to cover, then add remaining 1/4 cup cheese.

Bake at 425° F for 20 minutes. Serve with remaining sauce on the side.


About the Author

Kelly Donlea is a Barrington mom, chef, cookbook author the owner of Organizing Dinner, a company that brings sensible cooking solutions to busy people. She has published several cookbooks and one of her specialties is helping parents plan family meals with fewer trips to the grocery store. Kelly also offers cooking classes and demonstrations in your home or public facility. To learn more about Kelly, her recipes and her services, you’ll find her Facebook page by clicking HERE and her website at OrganizingDinner.com. Kelly is going to be sharing recipes, cooking tips and special features about chefs and popular menu items at area restaurants right here at 365Barrington.com.

Please join us as we discover local culinary treasures and new kitchen classics in our new, local and regular food feature here at 365Barrington.com called “Barrington Eats” with Kelly Donlea!

If you’d like to us to feature you favorite chef or restaurant or if you have a food related question that you’d like Kelly to answer, make a quick stop at the 365 Barrington Suggestion Box and leave us a note in the form which you’ll find by clicking HERE.

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