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Frida's tasting (Andersonville)

Frida's tasting (Andersonville)
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  • Frida's tasting (Andersonville)

    Post #1 - January 14th, 2008, 1:43 pm
    Post #1 - January 14th, 2008, 1:43 pm Post #1 - January 14th, 2008, 1:43 pm
    Hi- went to a opening/tasting event at Frida's on Saturday, a friend was walking by and the owner invited her. The owner was friendly and welcoming, and apparently owns the building and lives above it. She is planning on having latin indie film screenings in the back garden, and is fixing it up for summer, and is keeping the fruit trees and vines that were there from the previous restaurant (angel's?)

    The crowd seemed like lots of friends/family, spanish speakers, kids, etc. We were served small dishes that pretty much equaled a dinner, it was nice and filling. We had tortilla soup, flavorful and nice, but more salsa-y and thicker than I have had at other places. The next plate was chicken tinga on a tostada -(w beans, creama and lettuce) smoky, spicy hot and very nice. I appreciated the heat level. The next item were two small tamales, pork and "veggie" (cheese and maybe jalapeno). Nice, not bland, needed no salsa. She gets the masa from Pilsen and uses no lard.

    She will be featuring a different tamale daily, and maybe two other types consistantly. She said she will be doing catering, and will make bulk tamales for customers. She has "over 100" tamale variations.

    My friends who have been to Ole Ole down the street (and dislike it) say they will be loyal Frida's customers because it will fill a niche in the neighborhood, and will have margaritas, etc, and for the back porch in the summer.

    Anyhow, I don't know if they are officially open yet, but check them out when they do, the owner is really enthusiastic and nice.
  • Post #2 - January 14th, 2008, 1:59 pm
    Post #2 - January 14th, 2008, 1:59 pm Post #2 - January 14th, 2008, 1:59 pm
    I have high hopes for this place and have some trepidation at the same time. They seem to advertise the food as being authentic & homemade but i worry that it's going to focus more on Frida and food is going to be secondary. Ya know?

    I can appreciate the work of Frida Kahlo but I hope that the focus of the restaurant is to serve great food in tribute to Frida and not be a tribute to Frida that serves food.

    Thanks for the report!
  • Post #3 - January 14th, 2008, 2:08 pm
    Post #3 - January 14th, 2008, 2:08 pm Post #3 - January 14th, 2008, 2:08 pm
    Maybe slightly off-topic, but wasn't there another restaurant dedicated to Frida in the Bucktown area a few years ago?
  • Post #4 - January 14th, 2008, 2:10 pm
    Post #4 - January 14th, 2008, 2:10 pm Post #4 - January 14th, 2008, 2:10 pm
    It was near Armitage, called Frida's.
  • Post #5 - January 15th, 2008, 3:45 pm
    Post #5 - January 15th, 2008, 3:45 pm Post #5 - January 15th, 2008, 3:45 pm
    What is the address for Frida's?
  • Post #6 - January 15th, 2008, 4:08 pm
    Post #6 - January 15th, 2008, 4:08 pm Post #6 - January 15th, 2008, 4:08 pm
    Rudy wrote:What is the address for Frida's?

    La Cocina de Frida
    5403 N. Clark St.
    Chicago, IL 60640
    773-271-1907
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #7 - March 1st, 2008, 7:11 pm
    Post #7 - March 1st, 2008, 7:11 pm Post #7 - March 1st, 2008, 7:11 pm
    Just back from Frida's. We forgot our camera and, in the event, it didn't really matter.

    The first thing to note is that the menu on the restaurant's website is still not completely available. There are quite a number of items listed on the website menu that simply are not there to be ordered once one gets to the restaurant. It would be, we think, a nice gesture to at least place some sort of notice to that effect on the website.

    The room, as a number of people have noted elsewhere, is striking--though I must confess it was a little unsettling to feel the eyes of literally dozens of Fridas on me. Perhaps a bit more artwork and a few dozen less pictures of Frida would be nice. Still, the room is warm, nicely decorated, and welcoming.

    We were served nothing whatsoever before the meal. I need not have the chips and salsa that I might expect at a more informal place but something--anything--to nosh on would be nice. We arrived around 6 and, in the less-than half-filled room, were gone in under 45 minutes.

    I wish we could report positively on the food. I had the pollo en mole negro and the Lovely Dining Companion chose the special fish of the day, tilapia. Both dishes were accompanied by rice and beans. This would be the place to note that the restaurant proudly states on the menu that its refried beans are made with olive oil, not lard. This seems an odd choice on a number of levels. If you want to market yourself as heart-healthy, why not make the entrees heart-healthy (and market yourself publicly as that kind of restaurant)? Why just the beans? And why olive oil? If you're going to dispense with lard, why not another oil that would be more...complementary to pinto beans? The beans, a smooth puree, were virtually devoid of flavor. Sadly, the rice was the same.

    My mole was rich, hearty, and out of balance. My experience is that one doesn't taste the chocolate as a distinct flavor in a well-made mole. Sadly, the chocolate was almost immediately noticeable in this otherwise good sauce. The chicken breast was pounded flat, a nice portion, but not particularly flavorful or juicy. LDC's tilapia was grilled with olive oil and had what appeared to be a cayenne-based sauce. Too hot and mostly a single-note. And, more to the point, not one that either of us felt flattered the fish.

    The server was perfectly competent without being particularly warm. (Some reviews on other sites have noted a language issue; we had no problem whatsoever.) He brought us fresh, hot corn tortillas (actually I would have preferred flour tortillas, but what the heck). He refilled the water. He brought our dishes in a timely fashion and inquired how things were after a suitable interval. In fact, I think that his service reflected the experience: it wasn't bad; it was completely undistinguished. Living walking distance, this was a great disappointment to us. This was supremely ordinary Mexican food.

    We'd have loved to be able to report more favorably and, although we will consider returning this summer, it will depend on the restaurant finally serving everything that's promised online and, more important, on better reports on the quality of the food. We wish them well and hope that things get better. Because otherwise, there are simply too many other places that have better food to justify returning.
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #8 - March 1st, 2008, 10:38 pm
    Post #8 - March 1st, 2008, 10:38 pm Post #8 - March 1st, 2008, 10:38 pm
    Gypsy Boy wrote: I had the pollo en mole negro . . .
    My mole was rich, hearty, and out of balance. My experience is that one doesn't taste the chocolate as a distinct flavor in a well-made mole. Sadly, the chocolate was almost immediately noticeable in this otherwise good sauce.

    I have not yet been to this restaurant . . . and I guess you're not making me want to go . . . and I could not agree more with your statement that a in a good mole negro, the chocolate should not stand out. It sounds like they desire to appeal to the masses.
  • Post #9 - March 3rd, 2008, 1:49 pm
    Post #9 - March 3rd, 2008, 1:49 pm Post #9 - March 3rd, 2008, 1:49 pm
    My husband and I went to Frida's during their opening week so I hesitated to write my review at that time. Our experience with the food was negative overall. Service started out well but got worse as the evening went on. The menu was extremely limited but we were informed of that when seated. My husband ordered a margarita. It was so sweet it was practically undrinkable. We received chips and salsa but only after we'd been there for about 10 minutes and asked for them. The salsa was a salsa verde and was overly sweet with no heat. Chips were ok but too thick for my taste. We started with tamales--they were out of chicken so we got cheese. We were told by the owner that they mix their own masa and the tamales were made fresh every day and very tender. I am not a tamale expert but both my husband and I found them extremely dry and flavorless. They were $6 for two and were presented on a small serving plate with no garnish. For our entrees, we both ordered the La Bomba which was a mix of three types of pork (ham, chorizo and another pork) mixed with cheese and pineapple bits. It was highly recommended to us by the owner. Portions were huge but came with no rice and beans or other side dishes which was odd. So basically it was a gigantic plate of meat. My husband and I could have easily split one. I think each order was $16 so it wasn't inexpensive. We were brought corn tortillas which were dried out. I asked for flour--they were much better. The owner stopped by again and I asked if they had salsa other than the salsa verde and she said if we liked spicy to get the same salsa that was in the La Bomba. We did but what was provided to us was not salsa--it was ranchera sauce.

    Overall is was a strange food experience and I have nothing positive to say about the food so we won't be back. The owner was very gracious and service was fine although we waited forever for our check and the place was only 1/3 full. We were highly disappointed especially since they have a nice outdoor patio. We thought we would at least be able to enjoy margaritas and appetizers there during the summer but the margaritas don't work for us (I'm pregnant so I only had a sip of my husband's--I don't mind sweeter margaritas but this one was undrinkable).
  • Post #10 - March 20th, 2008, 10:12 pm
    Post #10 - March 20th, 2008, 10:12 pm Post #10 - March 20th, 2008, 10:12 pm
    The Wife and I stopped by Frida's tonight, and tend to agree with assessments of its middling pleasures.

    We started with tamales. I was somewhat amused that they'd fleck the inedible cornhusk with greenery...

    Image

    ...but the tamales were actually not as mediocre as feared (they may have contained lard; they were certainly moist).

    The Wife had pork chops in a thin machamanteles; I had the enchiladas in mole negro, and it was all okay, and reasonably priced, and if you're a Frida fan, you'll have a better than average experience here.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”

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