After a long drive to Chicago, my sister and I decided to explore her Lakeview neighborhood. Once on Southport Avenue, I immediately noticed a white and hot pink glowing sign further down the street. As we grew closer, I saw EMPANADAS written across the front of the building screaming for us to come in.
During the day there is almost always a line for the "best empanadas in the city." but we lucked out Friday night only having a couple of hungry people in front of us. Bright colors bombard you as soon as you cross the threshold with vibrant Mexican art and bright soda cans lining the walls of the little empanada depot. Frida must be the shop muse because she is everywhere . We quickly ordered a couple of pork empanadas, one spicy for Madeline and one with garlic and onions for me. So good I forgot to take a photo, but you know what empanadas look like (little pockets of fried goodness).
Two girls manned the counter, grill and fryer as Beyonce's Drunk in love blared on the stereo. They were so friendly chatting with us about the different flavors and occasionally bursting into song. Most importantly they told us about Taco Fest that was happening over the weekend in the neighborhood. With fresh empanadas and iced coffee in hand we were ready for more shopping.
Truth be told, I went back on Sunday for their signature empanada (black bean, goat cheese, and plantains) for the road!
If you find yourself in the Lakeview area, maybe before or after a Cubs game, go check out Cafe Tola! Full espresso bar, donuts and empanadas made daily... what more could you want?
Cafe Tola - http://www.cafetola.net
@cafetola on instagram