Friday, August 11, 2017

Mi Tocaya Antojería

-Grubbing in Chicago
New to the 'Scene'

I'm not letting the cat out of the bag with this but Mi Tocaya is in the running for Chicago's best new restaurant 2017. After going through the rounds of praise from local food media Chef Diana Davila and her team are now making noise on the national level. Just in the last couple weeks publications like Eater and Bon Appetit have featured Mi Tocaya, the latter in an article naming Chicago the 2017 "Restaurant City of the Year" - In short it's been a triumphant return for Davila who first came onto the scene over at the now defunct Cantina 1910 in Andersonville. A dispute with ownership led to her early departure and the place never recovered. Luckily it seems to have all worked out for the better.

Newly Opened in Logan Square

Not only did it work out for Chef Davila and company but it also worked out for me and the rest of Logan Square. Mi Tocaya sits in a space on the corner of California and the Logan Square Boulevard. Directly across the street from a state assisted senior living facility. It's definitely a neighborhood type sport with it's patio which is about double in space of the inside dining room. The menu is made up of plates that Bon Appetit says is "transforming Mexican food in Chicago" - I think quotes like that are for the clicks but there's no denying the quality of the food being served at a more than fair price. Start with the tacos. They might be $4 each but there's places charging $8 these days. On top of that these are some of the best tacos in the neighborhood now. Options like al pastor (recently taken off) and beer can chicken meat have been stellar on my visits in. There's little doubt that their taco campechano (al pastor, steak, chorizo) will be on my best tacos of 2017 list. It's an absolute dandy.

Taco Campechano (mixed with al pastor, steak, chorizo) at Mi Tocaya

Since this is our new neighborhood place we've been a handful of times though more times than not I was getting one of each from the tacos. Sometimes they have a Baja fish option when breaking down the fish for other dishes. Get one if on special. Another good way to go for a starter is the queso fundido mixed with housemade longaniza. Rarely will you find a bad bowl of queso fundido (melted cheese) and rarely will you taste a dud coming from this kitchen which meant this was pretty much guaranteed to be good. Longaniza is different from Chorizo though the two are used interchangeably in many parts of Mexico. Mexican longaniza breaks apart easily like chorizo. The cheese and sausage was also joined by some roasted peppers in the bowl. Each serving comes with a few house tortillas used to scoop up the cheese. My only complaint is a little more cheese would be nice.

Queso Fundido at Mi Tocaya

Moving on they have quite a few options for shared appetizers even though the menu isn't all that big. It's a great place to enjoy multiple plates of food. Another one I can recommend is the Enchiladas Potisinas. These little treats are a common snack in San Luis Potosi Mexico and although called enchiladas they act more like empanadas. The masa for these is seasoned in a red chile sauce making them red. Cheese is then placed inside and the ends are folded over together to prevent the cheese from slipping out. They're then fried and usually served with sour cream and maybe beans.

Enchiladas Potisinas at Mi Tocaya

The most instagrammable dish on the menu right now has to be the Fish Con Mole Verde. It's one of the more visually stunning plates of food I've ate of late. As far as flavors go those were also a hit. This was a perfectly cooked piece of fish with a green mole sauce that like all great moles was both smooth and complex. The green color in the sauce comes from poplar Mexican ingredients like Serrano chiles and tomatillos. I wouldn't mind seeing more green mole dishes around town.

Fish con Mole Verde at Mi Tocaya

One of my favorite Mexican dishes that you dont often see on menus, unless you're at a homestyle cafeteria type place, is fideo. Rice gets most of the pub but noodles are a staple in Mexican homes as well. Fideo is basically broken spaghetti and in most Mexican homes it's just mixed with a red sauce and then served. Mi Tocaya recently switched the fideo recipe to include char grilled cauliflower with the duo being served atop a refreshing yogurt cream sauce. No pics of the drinks but enjoy the daily frozen offering while you can. As different fruits have come to harvest it's switched with them over the past few months. Market strawberry margaritas were my favorite thus far. There's no doubt Mi Tocaya will be in the running for Chicago's best new restaurant in the year of 2017. Glad it's near me.

Fideo with Grilled Cauliflower at Mi Tocaya

Mi Tocaya
2800 W Logan Blvd
Chicago, IL 60647
(872) 315-3947

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