Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mole. Masa. And Montrose? WTF?

Sometimes I’m of the mind that senior citizens have it down pat.

Point-in-case: Sunday's dinner took place at 5 PM because The Sadie and I were standing outside of Mixteco Grill at 4:45 PM drooling over the menu taped to the window. Comments of “Did you see…?” and “Oooh, look…” flew as our eyes wandered. And having heard the rave reviews of Chef Raul Arreola, and how crowded the place gets in the evening, we decided to wait until the doors opened at 5 PM, and try to get seated without a reservation.

Which wasn’t a problem. And while we did have to wait for a few minutes while the hostess and 3 waitstaff sat a party of six (a bit of the WTF? since only two of the party had arrived), once the hostess gave us her attention, we were seated quickly and the chips and salsa arrived.

While the chips were completely servicable fried tortillas, the salsa verde bordered on the sublime. Cool, tart, and sour, the limes, cilantro, and tomatillos took centerstage. This is the kind of salsa you sit in your backyard during a cookout and enjoy with a couple of beers.

After that came the Sopes de Tinga de Pollo, small boats of masa filled with shredded chicken in a roja mole sauce, crema, and crumbled cheese. The chicken was moist and in the roja mole reminded me of Brunswick Stew, a delicious slow cooked Southern stew of pork, chicken, and tomatoes. The crema and cheese cool the flavors and bring a smoothness to the mouthfeel. The masa, for being as dense as it was, had a light cornbread flavor that completed the dish with a nice earthiness.

For the entrees we had the Carne Asada and the Cochinta Pibil. The Carne Asada was tender, flavorful, and cooked to perfection. Grilled with scallions, the sear had a wonderful spring flavor that complemented the char. And the Pibil was stunning. I’m a huge fan of the fruit of the swine, so slow roasted chunks of pork served in a zippy annatto (or achiote) sauce was heaven. Soft and succulent, the chunks fell apart with but a twist the fork. The pibil is served with a side of Habanero Salsa that’s fruity, sweet, and hotter than Georgia asphalt in August. To use all of it would be suicidal, but it was so tasty that I was willing to brave the heat in order to add 4 drops to my pork.

Since Mixteco Grill is is BYO, I’d heartily recommend skipping across both Montrose and Ashland to Rayan’s Discount Liquors and picking up a couple of bottles of beer. For the meal I had, I’d recommend something lighter like Pacifico or Sol. Negra Modelo might work too, but it’s about as heavy as I’d want to go. Leave the Corona for the backyard cook out.

All in all this was a wonderful meal to end the weekend on. I would definitely recommend making reservations, as when we were leaving two patrons that didn’t have reservations were getting angry because the hostess couldn’t seat them. 6pm on a Sunday night, the place was packed, and had patrons waiting outside, so Mixteco is doing something very right. I would like to see some drapes or wall coverings added to absorb some of the noise, but once the food arrives you’ll forget about everything else!

Mixteco Grill is located at:
1601 W. Montrose Ave.
Chicago IL 60613
(773) 868-1601

Friday, May 8, 2009

Bacon. Is there anything this wonder meat cannot do?

Okay, so it's not American style bacon it's prociutto (chosen for it's better engineering), it's still a cured meat so it counts!'s article by Theordore Grey shows how he uses a thermal lance made of bacon (Okay! Okay! Prociutto.) to cut through a metal sheet pan. Pretty impressive!

Bacon Thermal Lance

I like my bacon crispy, but this is taking it a bit too far

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Your Daily Bacon Forecast

This Week's Bacon Forecast:

Monday: Bacon Is Going To Sizzle!
Tuesday: Today Bacon Is Going To Put The "B" In BLT!
Wednesday: Today Bacon Is Going To Smoke!
Thursday: Today Bacon Is Going To Hang Out With Hash Browns!
Friday: Today Bacon Is Going To Liven Up A Salad!
Saturday: Today Bacon Is Going To Tempt A Vegan!
Sunday: Today Bacon Is Going To Beckon!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Today is May Day. And Meat Day...

Today the workers of the world unite to bring attention to the disparity in working conditions around the world. There are protests over immigration rights, living wage, and poverty all the world 'round.

And that's a good thing. I'm a firm believer that we're too complacent here in these United States of America and we should exercise our First Amendment rights more often and with more vigor.

That being said, today is also Meat Day.

Our friend Waffles has been accepted into a Mathematics PhD program so in order to celebrate, we are taking him to Fogo de Chao. Or as I like to call it "Meat World".

There are few things finer than being served well prepared slabs of animal flesh by men dressed in Gaucho costumes. It's almost like a weird culinary sexual perversion. You know? Kinda like something that you'd see in Another Another 9 1/2 Weeks?

My personal favorite is the Bottom Round and is known in Brazil as the Rump Cover. Which sounds like something you'd do when hopped up on Crunk or Pimp Juice.

I do think it would be pretty hilarious if a Gaucho approached the table with the spit of Bottom Round and asked, "Would you like some Rump Cover?" Oh, the looks from the Bourgeoisie. Priceless, I tell you!

Here in the U.S. Butchers generally tend to cut it up into cheaper cuts, but what those crazy Brazilians do to it with just a little bit of salt and peppar and the judicious application of fire is magical.

Pictures are forthcoming