By Veronica Pineda
Photos courtesy of DDLT Facebook Page
Dia De Los Tamales ┃939 W. 18th St, Pilsen ┃312.496.3057┃Hours: Tues-Sun 11am-7pm
“Mmmm! This is so chocolatey, so soft and so delicious. What a yummy Chocolate Peanut Butter Tamale! Wait, what? Did I just say that? Yes. Yes, I did.”
Catering company, Get Off The Couch, has done it; a soft opening for their Dia De Los Tamales (DDLT) storefront in Pilsen, and I did not let a thing keep me from it, not even a hangover!
The three brains behind DDLT — Jeni Wahl, Sam Wahl and Chef Keith Carlson — decided they wanted to be involved within the community of Pilsen, and having a storefront seemed like a perfect way to interact and share their artisanal tamales.
The DDLT brand has been circling around the city for about a year now. From special requests, to the Pilsen Community Market, their uniquely flavored tamales are creating a buzz.
So there I go, with absolutely no idea what to expect. Oh! Let me add: I took my favorite food critique, my father. That man is one curious, outspoken, TRADITIONAL Mexicano with a heart for food.
We walk into DDLT, and I smell all sorts of goodness. It’s hard to define. I look at the menu and understand why. I was blown away! Chicken Curry Tamale? CHICAGO ITALIAN BEEF TAMALE? I looked at my father, and I swear it looked as if his eyes were going to pop out of their sockets.
We finally ordered and began tasting. As I ate, I noticed how diverse their clientele is. I also noticed how generous the menu is towards the vegetarian and vegan community. Back to the tamales, let me say, my taste buds were confused but very content. I tried about five non-traditional flavors, all with a soft texture and full of flavor. My ultimate favorite ended up being the Chocolate Peanut Butter Tamal! This dessert tamal is beyond amazing to me, and they serve it with a cup of chocolate sauce! I’m certainly returning for more of that. As I eat this beautiful creation, I overhear my father speaking with Jeni.
“What are you trying to do to the Tamal?!”
Before I could throw my fork at him I thought, Wait. That is a very good question. Deriving from a very traditional man, my dad wanted to know what exactly inspired her to mix up the recipe most of us are accustomed to. So what exactly is DDLT’s mission? They wanted to do something creative, something out of the ordinary, all while honoring a traditional food.
“There are just so many endless possibilities and ideas. One season we brought out a pumpkin pie tamal at the market, and people loved it! We are very inspired by seasonal items and make everything from scratch,” says Jeni. “My favorite is the Juicy Lucy. It tastes just like a cheeseburger. It’s definitely a guilty pleasure.”
As Jeni spoke, she said a few words that caught my dad’s attention: Key Lime Pie Tamal. This hardcore traditionalist had fallen. Just like that my dad counted himself in for the grand opening May 10th.
Not everyone is brave enough to have tamales that are not made by their mom or abuelita, but Dia De Los Tamales certainly has a tamal for anyone. Don’t be afraid to try something different. You will be amazed. And if tamales aren’t your thing? Pffft! Don’t you worry. They have heavenly garbanzos. It was love at first spoonful!
Come by and support Dia De Los Tamales located at 939 W. 18th St in Pilsen! The storefront will be open for regular business hours after Tuesday April 23, 2013 and Alderman Solis will be cutting their ribbon at the grand opening May 10th. Let me know if you see my dad stuffing his face in Key Lime Pie tamales!