Wednesday, November 7, 2012

La Encantada

I have said before that there there is a lot more to Mexican food than burritos, tacos, and tamales.  However, there is a big gulf between the fine dining of Frontera Grill and your average taqueria  and the food of La Encantada occupies that space between the two extremes.  It is a small restaurant on North Avenue in Humboldt Park with a glass front wall and aged brick walls.  The large bar is on the right side and the dining tables are on the left and in the rear of the restaurant.  There is a lot of art from local artists hanging on the walls and much, if not all of it is for sale at a nice price.  La Encantada does have many Mexican standards but they also have steak, chicken, seafood, and several types of fajitas.  While the menu is very large and there were things on the appetizer menu that did look good, I decided to simply order an entree because with two included sides of the diner's choice, it was going to be more than enough even if there was no meat in the dishes that I ordered.  While there was no meat in my meal, I cannot say that it was vegetarian.  I do not know whether lard was used or not.  I don't mind if it was because I am not a vegetarian.  I ordered what I ordered because it sounded really good.  I ordered Crepas Poblanas con Huitlacoche with rice and Calabacitas con Queso as my sides.  The Crepas Poblanas con Huitlacoche were two rolled crepes filled with a fungus that grows on fresh corn (huitlacoche) and topped with poblano sauce and melted Chihuahua Cheese.  There was also some corn mixed in with the huitlacoche.  Admittedly, the fungus doesn't look that great.  It's black and it's cut up so you are unable to tell exactly what it looks like.  It does have the texture of a mushroom and has a slightly sweet, mushroomy, and woody flavor.  The poblano sauce added a nice bit of spice to the crepes.  The chihuahua cheese covered everything and how can you go wrong with chihuahua cheese.  The Spanish rice was fairly standard but standard Spanish rice is good.  The other side was the Calabacitas con Queso was actually much more than calabacitas con queso.  Calabacitos is actually a generic term for a small squash.  It could be anything from pumpkin to summer squash to zucchini which is what it was in this case.  It was chopped and cooked with tomatoes, onions, and more cheese.  It was tangy, the zucchini had a nice density to it and it went well with the huitlacoche crepes.

I really enjoyed my meal here and am glad that it is an easy walk from where I live because I will definitely return.     

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