Pablo Soto has delivered empanadas to me on two different occasions. Each time these plus-sized, Chilean-style pockets of pleasure have tasted as if they were pulled directly out of the oven or fryer and delivered straight into my greedy gob. I don’t know what sorcery Soto uses to maintain the extraordinary flaky freshness of his empanadas when they’re fired from the remote Glenview home base of Don Pablo’s Kitchen & Bakeshop and delivered in sturdy cardboard boxes. Just imagine how great they’ll be made-to-order in the kitchen of the Kedzie Inn for week eight of Monday Night Foodball, the Reader’s ongoing chef pop-up series.
A slight delay in the buildout of Soto and spouse Julie Morrow-Soto’s upcoming Argyle Street brick-and-mortar restaurant is our good fortune. They’re now hoping for a December opening, which means they are free to open MNF’s second round of guest chefs (see the updated schedule below).
Soto is the area’s sole purveyor of Chilean empanadas, which are known for being especially swole, and which make empanadas all over the world insanely jealous. I mean, when I get a glimpse of his oven-burnished, steak-egg-and-olive-stuffed Clasica I have to go change my clothes.
And that’s only the headlining empanada this Monday. Just because Soto doesn’t simply snap his fingers to make the Clasica appear out of thin air, each one takes about 15-18 minutes for him bring it to life. So have a seat, order a drink—maybe Jon Pokorny’s MNF special (I heard something about a pisco sour)—and enjoy the deep-fried supporting cast: Poeta, Pluma, and Napolitano (shrimp; chicken; and gooey tomato and cheese, respectively). Treat yourself to an alfajor before it’s time to kiss goodnight.
The itinerant empanaderos are taking scheduled preorders via their own site right now, but will also be taking a limited number of walk-in orders each hour at the Kedzie Inn, 4100 N. Kedzie. Because you want to experience the peak moment in each empanada’s brief lifespan, it’s dine in-only. See you at 5 PM on Monday.
But wait. There are a few more chefs coming to crash the Kedzie. Here’s a partial schedule:
10/25: Limón y Sal
11/22: Barbecue life coach Gary Wiviott
11/29: Thanksgiving/Hannukah break