La Hacienda de los Fernandez (The Estate of Fernandez) is a four-location chain of Mexican restaurants in the far west suburbs of Chicago. The restaurants are part of the Fernandez Food chain of eateries which include 4 La Magdelena restaurants and Besa Mi Taco in far northwest suburban Itasca. Also part of the Fernandez Food family is La Mag Catering, the company's catering arm for parties, corporate events and large gatherings.
Jose Fernandez opened his first La Magelena restaurant in Addison in 1976. From the start, Fernandez wanted only the freshest ingredients for his made-on-site authentic Northern Mexican food. Jose (Joe) was 28 years old when he opened his first restaurant and he later followed with three more "La Mag" restaurants. He opened the first La Hacienda de los Fernandez in Addison in 2002. It shared a lot of the same home-cooked philosophies and goodness that people found at the La Magdelena restaurants.
La Hacienda is a pretty large place located on the Lake St. corridor in Addison (see map). I was staying at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Addison one night earlier this year and I was tired and hungry from a long day of making calls in the Chicago area. Instead of trying to find something new in the area, I decided to go to La Hacienda, a place I'd been to a couple times before.
While I couldn't call my previous trips to La Hacienda memorable, I can say the food was good, there was an extensive menu to choose from, but the service was "iffy", at best. I got into La Hacienda around 8:30 one evening and they gave me a booth in the dining room. The place, for as late in the evening as it was, was about 3/4's full. I was given a dinner menu and I ordered a cold Sol beer to go with my complementary chips and salsa.
I will have to say that I do like La Hacienda's salsa. It's chunky, tangy and the right amount of spiciness where it doesn't burn your face off, but offers a nice little zip to the taste. Their salsa doesn't last long when I get my hands on some.
La Hacienda's menu isn't like a lot of other Mexican restaurants I've been to in the Midwest. There are only 4 combination dinners to choose from (some restaurants will have up to and over 40 different combinations on their menu), and there is no "ala carte" ordering on the menu if you want to have a taco, enchilada or burrito on the side. I would have to say that La Hacienda is more upscale compared to a lot of other Mexican restaurants I've been to. And the decor supports that with comfortable booths and large wooden tables, subdued lighting and tasteful Mexican decorations and artwork on the walls.
In addition to the usual Mexican fare of burritos, tacos, enchiladas and fajitas, La Hacienda also offered main course of rotisserie chicken, steaks, fish and vegetarian dinners. Actually a lot of things sounded great and interesting as I perused the menu.
One thing on the menu that caught my eye was the Guisado de Res - a Mexican beef stew with skirt steak and vegetables cooked in a heavy broth. They also had Guisado de Peurco, the same stew only with pork.
While I kept looking at the enchiladas and tacos, I found something on the menu that I don't quite see any longer - chile rellenos stuffed with your choice of beef or chicken and topped with cheese and sauce. Finding a chile relleno stuffed with anything other than cheese these days is rare, to say the least. But I was really torn between that and an order of pork tacos. If done right, there's nothing better than a great pork taco.
When my waiter came back to the table to take the order, I got the chile rellenos stuffed with beef. And I asked him, "Is it possible to get a pork taco on the side?"
He quickly asked, "Corn or flour tortilla?"
I hesitated for a moment and said, "Corn."
He said, "Crispy or soft."
Sometimes it just doesn't hurt to ask...
And within 10 minutes my chile rellenos surrounded by chopped lettuce and tomatoes, rice and refried beans arrived at the table along with a small plate with my pork taco topped with a little lettuce and chopped tomatoes. I have to say the chile rellenos were very good - flavorful, full of seasoned ground beef and not a lot of cheese on top that sometimes detracts from the taste of the pepper and stuffing.
And the pork taco was good - not the best I've ever had - but good. I'm glad I got the one on the side because I probably won't go out of my way to order one again on my next visit to La Hacienda.
After taking my order, my waiter sort of forgot about me. Someone else brought out the food and I was really ready for another beer (like I said, it was a long day). My food was long gone off my plate before my waiter showed up with my check. He asked, "Will there be anything else?"
I said, "Well, I could have used a beer about 15 minutes ago."
He asked, "Would you like one now?"
I said, "Nope, not now."
La Hacienda is a little expensive compared to other Mexican restaurants - it cost me a little over $22 bucks with a couple beers and a tip. But like I said - La Hacienda is more of an upscale Mexican restaurant than many others I've visited over the years.
Every time I go past a La Hacienda location, whether it be at lunch time or dinner, the parking lot is always packed. While it can run to the expensive side of Mexican food, the service was not too stellar, but the food was good. If you can plan ahead to make sure you have everything you need when the waiter takes your order, you should be fine and dandy.