Mi Tocaya Antojeria
Milpa Taco – Squash, Beans, Chile, Corn Crema
Peanut Butter y Lengua – Jamaica Pickled Onions, Grilled Radish
Tuetano con Sabores de Caldo – Roasted Bone Marrow, Shortrib, Homemade Flour Tortilla
Habichuelas de la Olla con Carnitas – Duck Carnitas, White Beans, Green Tomato Pico de Gallo, Housemade Corn Tortillas
Kristoffer’s Tres Leches
Although nothing in Logan Square can really be considered “hidden” these days, especially a Restaurant starting to gather national acclaim in addition to positive local press that has been ongoing since opening in March 2017, Diana Davila’s Mi Tocaya Antojeria somehow still seems to be under-discussed as one of Chicago’s top dining destinations despite creating some of the most interesting and soulful Mexican Food one will find in the United States.
Defined as “little cravings” and joining a long list of shared-plates spots that remain the norm of Chicago’s world-class mid-range dining scene it is ideally early or with reservations that diners approach Mi Tocaya, entry beneath a neon cactus opening up to a small space of mixed colors and textures including some added since the young Chef took over and others remaining from prior occupants.
Located at the corner of Logan and California with less than forty seats, both families as well as “cool kids” arriving prior to 5:00pm and the entire Restaurant at capacity just thirty minutes later, it was with Davila situated behind a counter decorated by a heart in barbed wire that one of her waiters stopped by to present menus and pour Water, his suggestion of “two to three” dishes per diner fairly typical though sizes range substantially from single $4 Tacos to a 14oz Pork Chop.
Seasonally varied but not overselling ideas of souring or sustainability, Chef Davila’s pedigree including her mother rather than Rick Bayless or Rene Redzepi as an excuse to charge double, it was passing on housemade Chips and Salsa that dinner instead began with a single-Tortilla of seared Squash plus warming Chiles and Sweet Corn Crema, a “Nitro” Horchata quick to follow from the bar adding a layer of complexity to tradition Rice Milk that sees Cinnamon meet the nose well before sipping while also contributing to a silky smooth finish.
Moving onward to a dish that has quickly emerged as Mi Tocaya’s signature, the idea of Peanut Butter plus Beef Tongue unlikely to have ever been presented prior but working marvelously together thanks to bold spicing countered by cured Onions, it was with Chile de Arbol still warming the palate that roasted Bone Marrow topped in Beef Stew was presented, the contents intended to be scraped out onto an enormous Flour Tortilla as rich as one might expect but not nearly as messy.
Finishing up savories with Duck Carnitas that are neither as pricey or plethoric as those at New York City’s Cosme, though Davila’s dish is every bit as delicious as that of Olvera and Soto-Innes and better in terms of texture thanks to creamy yet fibrous White Beans, it was only the fact that there was more dining to follow that evening which prevented further exploration of the menu, though no one should leave without tasting Kristoffer’s Tres Leches with an airy Sponge seemingly supersaturated in sweet Cream beneath the thinnest imaginable layer of Chocolate Ganache.