Masa Flat Bread ($9)
Rick Ortiz claims that this is a dish he has wanted on the menu since the beginning, "But we didn't want to do too much at the start." This play on huaraches starts with the traditional corn masa base. (Like the corn tortillas, the masa comes fresh every morning from EL Popocatepetl.) Then the differences start. "I wanted a vegetarian dish," said Ortiz, "and I realized that this would be good for the cold side of the kitchen to make." Instead of a layer of smeared refried beans, goat cheese is used. It's topped with roasted pumpkin and beets, orange slices, arugula, and onion.
Chicken Tinga ($9)
At first glance, the chicken tinga taco looks like a relatively normal version of the stewed filling, but then I notice the celery and carrot. Before I can completely connect the dots, Ashley Ortiz admits that this is "Rick's play on a Buffalo wing." Instead of just mixing hot sauce with chicken, plum tomatoes and dried chipotles are used to make the hot sauce, while the celery is pickled. The result is a bite that is less aggressive and more balanced than a Buffalo chicken wing.
Maple Farm Duck Enchiladas ($11)
This is another item that looks kind of traditional, but has a few surprises. Instead of grilled duck, Rick Ortiz takes the legs and makes his own duck confit. Then he pairs it with a peanut butter mole. On top are fresh blackberries. When everything is mixed together, it has a faint resemblance to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, albeit without the cloying sweetness. "It's our PB&J," says Ashely, "and it's been extremely popular since it's been on the menu."
Pumpkin Soup ($6)
The current daily soup special utilizes fresh fall produce that Rick picked up from the Wicker Park Farmers' Market. He buys whole pumpkins and uses both the flesh and the seeds, which he roasts and tosses on the top. The pumpkin is cooked with a mirepoix, brown sugar, maple syrup, all spice, star anise, clove, and roasted habanero. That last ingredient ensures that the soup has a spicy kick.
Inside Antique Taco
The Wicker Park restaurant has been packed since it first opened back in May. During the summer the restaurant featured an outdoor patio along the side of the building. Now that the weather has cooled, more counter tops were installed in the back hallway, so they could feed more people indoors.