Writing about my mothering experience as a foreigner raising bilingual and bicultural children, dealing with the system on behalf of my special needs son and navigating Chicago and the world with my kids.
Have I written about Chilam Balam? No? I should have, a looong time ago. Maybe I didn’t because I kind of wanted to keep it quiet so I can get a table when I go. But it deserves my attention, and everyone else’s, for that matter. I have been to Chilam Balam at least eight times in the last couple of years. It’s location, on Broadway and Barry, makes it ideal for married dates on the days we have any event at Not so Little L’s school. But I have also gone with my friends, and I even celebrated my birthday there last year. The space is small, but very cozy and warm thanks to the decoration. I particularly love the metal star lamps, which give it quite an ambiance. The menu changes every month to accommodate seasonal and local ingredients. This last time we had a lobster chimichanga that was delicious. The Mexican influence were there, in the sauce and the chimichanga itself, but instead of overpowering the lobster, which happens often, they enhanced its flavor. We followed with the roasted beet tamal. It was a good tamal, moist and filling, and a great counterpoint to the lobster. I would have liked to find a little bit more of beet taste, but it was the first day of this particular menu, so they may improve that. And my husband was happy it didn’t, as he doesn’t like beets. As a main course, DH chose rabbit. I cannot talk about it, as I don’t eat rabbit (along with many other things, a defect that sadly prevents me from being either a chef or a food critic), but he ate it quickly while smiling, so I assume it was good. My swordfish was delicious. I like strong steak like fishes, and this one was exceptional. It was grilled to perfection, and the butternut squash mole, sweet potato mash and apple salad that accompanied it couldn’t have complemented it better. The pomegranate grains in the apple salad gave a crunch and an acidic contrast to the rest of the plate. For dessert, as usual (and no one will convince me to change) I ordered the chocolate-chile mousse with spiced goat cheese center and toasted marshmallow sauce. This is heaven on a plate. Every time I order it it is as amazing. If you like dark chocolate, this may be your dessert. I normally don’t like marshmallows, but in sauce for to balance the bitterness of the chocolate mousse I love it. The goat cheese is unexpected as a filling for a chocolate mousse, and therefore makes it even more interesting. For my birthday I am seriously considering going there for dinner and ordering one of these for each appetizer, entree and dessert. Note that it is BYOB, and cash only. The service is impeccable, and normally you always see the same people working there, which is nice. Their recommendations are valuable if you are overwhelmed by how good everything sounds in the menu. If you go and try it, please, let mo know whether you liked it or not. They will appreciate your visit, and I will appreciate your feedback. And don’t miss that chocolate mousse…
Roasted beet tamal
Swordfish with butternut squash mole
Chocolate-chile mousse with spiced goat cheese center and toasted marshmallow sauce