Pablo Soto delivered empanadas to me twice. Each time, these large chilean pockets of pleasure tasted like they were taken straight from the oven or fryer and delivered directly to my greedy mouth. I’m not sure what witchcraft Soto uses to maintain the extraordinary flaky freshness of his empanadas when cooked from the remote Glenview base of Don Pablo’s Kitchen & Bakeshop and delivered in sturdy cardboard boxes. Imagine how they’ll be cooked to order in the kitchen at Kedzie Inn for the eighth week of Monday Night Foodball, the Reader chef pop-up series in progress.
A slight delay in building Soto and his wife Julie Morrow-Soto’s next brick and mortar restaurant, Argyle Street, is our good fortune. They are now hoping for an opening in December, which means they’re free to open MNF’s second round of guest chefs (see updated schedule below).
Soto is the region’s only supplier of Chilean empanadas, known to be particularly swole, and which make empanadas around the world madly jealous. I mean, when I spot his oven-grilled Clasica, steak-egg and stuffed with olives, I have to go and change.
And that’s just the headlining empanada this Monday. Just because Soto doesn’t just snap his fingers to make the Clasica appear out of nowhere, each takes around 15-18 minutes to bring it to life. So sit down, order a drink – maybe Jon Pokorny’s MNF special (I heard something about a pisco sour) – and enjoy the supporting fried cast: Poeta, Pluma and Napolitano (shrimp; chicken; and sticky tomato and cheese, respectively). Treat yourself to an Alfajor before it’s time to kiss the goodnight.
Roaming empanaderos take pre-orders scheduled via their own site at this time, but will also take a limited number of drop-in orders each hour at the Kedzie Inn, 4100 N. Kedzie. Because you want to experience the highlight of each empanada’s brief lifespan, it’s dinner only. Meet on Monday at 5 p.m.
But wait. There are a few other chiefs who come to crush the Kedzie. Here is a partial program:
25/10: LimÃ³n y Sal
1/11: to be determined
11/15: Thai cuisine by Palita Sriratana from Pink Salt
22/11: Barbecue life coach Gary Wiviott
29/11: Thanksgiving / Hannukah break
12/6: to be determined